Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Sweat, or perspiration, is your body’s chief cooling mechanism and it occurs almost constantly. You can sweat and not even know it because it evaporates before you notice. So, those people who protest that they “never sweat” are wrong. Without sweating, a human body cannot survive for very long. Basic metabolic functions can raise the body temperature to an unhealthy (even fatal) degree without the built-in cooling mechanism of sweat.
Sweating can be caused by over stimulated nerves (like when you get sweaty before a job interview), hot air temperature (an overheated room), hard-working muscles (when exercising), hormonal imbalances, certain diseases, or by having a fever. Even eating spicy food can cause sweating.
There are about three million sweat glands in the human body (that’s over 600 per square inch) which work quickly to prevent the body from overheating and causing damage to internal organs. Extreme overheating can even cause death.
There are two types of sweat glands. Eccrine glands cover most of your body, are active beginning at birth, and secrete sweat consisting of mostly water with some salts and acids (which is why sweat tastes salty).
Apocrine glands are in areas usually covered by hair (scalp, underarms, groin) and become active after puberty. These glands secrete sweat that contains fatty acids and proteins, and are more likely to cause odor. The odor is not caused by the sweat itself in either case, but by bacteria which are attracted to the sweat. Some people have more of this bacteria than others, and of course, you have more if it's been awhile since you have bathed.
While the primary purpose of sweating is to cool the body, many believe that sweating is also detoxifying, or cleansing. That is a primary reason for saunas and sweat lodges, to sweat out harmful toxins and cleanse the body. Some people believe your skin will look better if you sweat regularly, too.
One thing that is important to do is to be sure to cleanse after sweating. The substances in sweat, combined with the typical dirt on your skin can lead to clogged pores which can result in acne. So, you want to be sure to take a quick shower or wash off after you stop sweating.
If you are prone to body odor, an antibacterial soap will help remove the bacteria that combines with perspiration to create odor. These soaps are also good for removing acne-causing bacteria, too.
Dancer Debbie Allen once said that a key to her beauty is that she works up a sweat every day. Besides the skin-cleansing and temperature-regulating services sweat provides, working up a good sweat is also a good sign that you are working hard enough to reap real benefits: calorie-burning, blood and oxygen circulating, muscle-toning, and lung expanding benefits! So, get your daily sweat today and every day for your health. Thirty minutes of heart-pumping aerobic activity (like brisk walking) will work just fine.
Cetaphil is a very gentle antibacterial soap--great for frequent showering after workouts:
Wicking clothes, like this t-shirt can really help keep you cooler and drier when working out: