Over the years, we've been asked a lot of questions about sweat, and what to do about it. We get it. Sweat is actually a little more complicated than it seems. Here are some questions we've received in the past with our expert answers.
Why do we sweat? Are there different kinds of sweat?
There are three primary reasons we sweat. The first is that our body recognizes that the external temperature is high, and it begins to sweat to cool us down. The second is that the body responds to physical exertion from physical exercise and begins sweating to cool us down. The third is different from the other two, and is triggered when the body gets stress signals.
Typically when you get hot or when you’re exercising, your body’s eccrine glands kick in. Eccrine glands are located virtually all over your skin, and they typically release a mixture of water and salts (like sodium and potassium…the same electrolytes you want to replenish after a workout)
However, when you’re stressed, your apocrine glands kick in. Apocrine glands are more highly concentrated on the parts of your body that naturally have hair, such as your armpits and around your genitals. The sweat released from your aprocrine glands is also initially odorless. Unlike sweat from your eccrine glands, apocrine sweat also contains lipids and proteins, which are great food for the bacteria that is present on your body. So, most of the “b.o. smell” that people associate with sweat is not coming directly from one’s sweat, but rather from the bacteria feeding on their sweat. (Our line of Inspired Deodorant was formulated specifically to fight that kind of odor-causing bacteria.)
Why do some people sweat more than others, and why do some people smell worse than others?
There are a few factors at play. One is the bacteria that live on each persons skin can be pretty different. As unsettling as it may be for some, we always have untold numbers of bacteria living on and within us. Your individual biome undoubtedly affects your smell from perspiration. Diet can have an affect on your scent. Foods including garlic, onion, and cumin—to name a few—contain compounds that can be released through sweat as well, which can cause body odor. So an individual’s diet can also affect their scent.
Additionally, the amount of body hair can make a difference, as moisture can settle in body and gives more of an environment for odor-causing bacteria. Doing some trimming or hair removal can also cause a decrease in odor in many cases.
Obviously, regular showering can help remove bacteria, and wearing moisture-wicking materials can help keep you from building up excess sweat.
And, perhaps the most obvious answer, is to wear a high performance deodorant, like this.
Sweating is so gross to me. What's the best way to stop it as much as possible?
Slow down a second there! Sweat still doesn't get the respect it deserves. If it's hot outside, or you're really hustling during a workout, why on Earth would you be embarrassed that your body is sweating? I'd be concerned if you weren't.
With that in mind, maybe it's time to try an aluminum-free deodorant that lets you sweat naturally, but keeps you feeling fresh and smelling great.