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3 Things You Must Know About Your Sweat

There are plenty of reasons to get comfortable with your sweat. Here's why it's good for you and why you should start embracing it.

Getting sweaty is good for you—here’s how you can embrace it


By Sarah DiGiulio, Men’s Health

Pit stains. A workout mat that could double as a Slip ‘N Slide. A gym t-shirt you can wring out with ease. These are all things you should be grateful for—yes, grateful! Sure, sweat may be annoying on super hot days, especially when you’d like to make it to work without looking like you just stepped out of the shower, but perspiration is a sign that your body is working just the way it should be.
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When you get too hot, your body’s temperature center in your brain—specifically in your hypothalamus—sends a signal to your glands to produce sweat, explains Barbara J. Holtzclaw, Ph.D., R.N., the associate dean for research at Oklahoma University. And it’s the evaporation of that salty liquid on your skin that cools you down. Essentially, perspiration acts as your body’s A.C. unit and keeps you from overheating. If that isn’t reason enough to start embracing sweat, read on.



1

Most sweat doesn’t stink.

Most people hate sweat because they think it smells. But guess what? Most perspiration is completely odorless. (If you do get a bit pungent, these are the best deodorants for men.)

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Scorching, 90-degree days and intense yoga sessions activate eccrine sweat glands. The sweat those glands produce is mostly made up of water and electrolytes, neither of which smells, Holtzclaw explains. (Some synthetic fabrics can trap body heat and interfere with the evaporation of sweat and produce an odor of their own, she notes.)



Smelly sweat comes from apocrine sweat glands, which are only activated when you’re feeling stressed, anxious, fearful, or aroused. Because this type of sweat is thick and oily, it traps bacteria on the skin, resulting in an unpleasant odor, Holtzclaw explains. (Here’s everything you need to know about stress sweat.)



2

You produce exactly as much sweat as you should.

Remember, your body has your back. It’s automatically producing sweat to keep you from overheating, and it knows just how much perspiration you need—but each person is different. The amount of eccrine sweat you produce on a particular day depends on a lot of factors, including the weather and the amount of sweat glands you have.



If you’re used to hot climates, your body adjusts to sweat more efficiently. However, if your body is used to a cool climate, you may produce more sweat in the heat, Holtzclaw says. So whether you’re dripping in sweat or merely glistening, know that your body is only doing what’s best for you, which is actually pretty awesome.

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3

Being totally sweat-free is risky.

You may have heard about people getting Botox injections or light wave treatments like MiraDry or MiraSmooth to help them sweat less. While the idea may sound appealing, proceed with caution, says James Mold, M.D., a retired family medicine physician and professor of medicine at Oklahoma University.



[post_ads]Even though these treatments are FDA-approved, they may cause burning, itching, swelling and bruising that can last for weeks. Not to mention, long-term side effects are not yet clear, Dr. Mold says. “It’s generally not a good idea to mess with Mother Nature or to have treatments for purely cosmetic reasons unless the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.”



Still not quite ready to embrace perspiration? Don’t sweat it! (See what we did there?) Try these natural and healthy ways to stay dry:



Layer with cotton. Unlike synthetic materials that trap heat without wicking away sweat, cotton absorbs sweat and dries quickly, making it an ideal base layer. (Check out the best undershirts for men.)



Relax. If you’re more worried about body odor than actual sweat, do something that will help you relax. Stress tells the apocrine glands to secrete water and lipids, which is a feast for odor-causing bacteria. Try one of these 6 easy ways to calm your nerves.

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Avoid excess caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant, so when you have too much of it, it puts your body into flight-or-fight mode and causes your apocrine glands to go into overdrive. If you tend to get balmy after a few too many cups of iced coffee, take that as a sign it’s time to dial back.



Note: If you sweat excessively even when you’re not overheated, or you feel you’re not sweating enough, check in with your doctor. This could be a sign you have an underlying medical condition—and possibly a serious one.

See more at: Men’s Health

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Men's Magazine: 3 Things You Must Know About Your Sweat
3 Things You Must Know About Your Sweat
There are plenty of reasons to get comfortable with your sweat. Here's why it's good for you and why you should start embracing it.
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