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Health & Wellbeing / Claire Blackmore

Everything You NTK About Sweat: From Feet To Foreheads

Slippery armpits…a slow trickle of back sweat…that clammy, hot patch under the boobs; sweating is something we all do. And it’s not just in the summer, or when you’re exercising that the bodily fluid flows. Melting under three layers of woolies and a coat in the depths of winter, or wafting your sweat-patch armpits just before a job interview, can feel equally icky, right?

But as much as we want to ward off those dreaded droplets, let’s take a moment to celebrate sweat instead. It plays an important part in keeping our body healthy after-all. Not convinced? Then it’s time to get sussed in all things sweaty.

What’s it all about?

Sweat is a life-saver. Literally. Think of the function as like having a mini thermostat in your body – it stops us from overheating and blowing a fuse. When your core temperature rises above its ‘normal’ 37 °C – either from exercising, the hot weather or having too many blankets on your bed – messages are sent from your brain to the body’s sweat glands with instructions to GO, GO, GO. Perspiration then comes up through your pores, evaporates, and cools your body down. Clever huh?

As well as these temperature-reducing talents, sweat also flushes out toxins from the body, revving up your circulation at the same time. It’s no surprise then that after a boozy night, sweating can go hand-in-hand with a raging hangover.

Emotional sweating is a thing too. When we’re nervous, stressed or embarrassed we’re likely to sweat more. Hello, clammy hands on a first date? Eww indeed.

Go glands

There are *a lot* of sweat glands in the body – between two and four million – and there are two different types of sweat glands, both with a different job to do.

The eccrine glands are all over the skin but mainly found on the palms of your hands, soles of the feet, armpits and forehead. The sweat produced by these glands is made up of mostly water, salt and electrolytes and usually doesn’t smell. For post sweaty-gym skin, try SportFX’s 2-in-1 primer and gel in this month’s Pink Parcel. The cooling formula of vitamins, aloe vera and water soothes any redness and provides a great shine-free base for your make-up.

Apocrine glands develop during puberty in areas where there are hair follicles such as armpits and the groin. These glands secrete a milky fluid that’s odorless until it mixes with bacteria on the skin, and then it turns whiffy (that’s the B.O smell we know and hate!). It’s these glands that are super-sensitive to adrenaline and stress so will kick-in when your emotions do.

Manage the sweat

You lose fluids when you sweat so drink plenty of liquids to prevent yourself from getting dehydrated – especially when exercising. To help minimize the sweat-factor in hot weather, clothes in natural, lightweight fabrics work best. Meditation and relaxation techniques will help to control the stress triggering hormones that cause sweating and an antiperspirant deodorant can manage moist armpits –prescription antiperspirants containing high levels of  aluminum chloride can be used for problem sweating. Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol and caffeine will all increase the amount that we sweat.

The average person can sweat up to a liter of fluid a day (yes, really), but excessive sweating – called hyperhidrosis, is when the body’s cooling system goes into overdrive. Chat to your doctor if your sweat is really making you suffer.

If you haven’t signed up to Pink Parcel yet, it’s time to start enjoying your period! Subscribe here and you’ll have everything you need (and want) sent directly to your door.

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