We sweat when it is hot. We sweat when we are stressed. We sweat when we are feeling anxious, when we digest certain foods and even when we breathe. Whether we like it or not, sweat is a big part of our lives, so here are some Rexona sweat facts.
What is sweat?
We know it can make us wet, odorous and often self-conscious, but what is sweat? Sweat, or perspiration, is mostly made up of water that evaporates from underneath the skin’s surface. Sweat also contains minerals such as sodium (salt), potassium, calcium and magnesium. Depending on a person’s diet, sweat can contain traces of other minerals such as, zinc, copper, iron, chromium, nickel and lead.
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Where does sweat come from?
Sweat is secreted from sweat glands. Sweat glands are tiny tubular edifices that produce sweat. On average, every person has 2.6 million sweat glands. There are two types of sweat glands in the human body, eccrine glands and apocrine glands. Eccrine glands are situated over our entire body, but are denser in the skin of our palms and underside of our feet. These glands are primarily used for cooling and the sweat from these glands is clear and odourless. Apocrine glands are larger than eccrine glands and are located in areas of skin which have the most hair follicles such as the underarms, groin and scalp. Apocrine glands are usually stimulated when you are emotional or stressed and release sweat containing fatty acids. When bacteria on the skin eat away at this fatty sweat, odour is produced as a bi-product. It is these fatty traces that discolour the water moisture we excrete and leave those unsightly yellow-tinted stains on our clothes.
Why do we sweat?
There are many things that can induce sweating. The three most common stimuli for sweat are: thermal, emotional and gustatory. Thermal sweating is caused by a change in internal body temperature or a change in average skin temperature. A person’s sweat glands reacts to this change by producing sweat to cool down the body’s surface. Gustatory sweating occurs when we eat. Ingesting food increases the body’s temperature, which in turn leads to thermal sweating. The hotter or spicier the food the more likely we are to sweat. Emotional stimuli include emotional responses such as, stress, anxiety, fear, and pain. Emotional sweating and can appear anywhere on the body, but is more likely to be found under the armpits, on the soles of feet and on the palms of hands.
Now you know the what, the where and the why of sweat, you can understand how important it is for your body. While sweating may not be the most convenient of bodily functions, it is an essential cooling mechanism for the human body. Everybody sweats, so don’t sweat it.