It’s not the most glamorous of topics, but we all experience it; whether it happens when you’re hitting the gym, standing up to give a speech or getting nervous about a hot date, we all know what it’s like to get our sweat on.
Our bodies sweat to help regulate our temperature and keep us cool, but did you know there are actually two different kinds of sweat?
Thermal sweating is produced by the eccrine sweat glands and is your body’s reaction to temperature and physical exercise or exertion. This is the kind of sweat you will experience when you hit the gym, go running or perform another physical task such as mowing the lawn or moving furniture.
This kind of sweating is produced by the additional activation of the apocrine sweat glands and is your body’s automatic reaction when facing a heightened emotionally stressful situation such as a tight work or school deadline, or presenting/speaking in front of others. Your heart beats faster, the bloody supply to the muscles increases and the hormone adrenaline is released into the blood stream.
Consequently, the apocrine sweat glands are activated which secrete substances that skin bacteria feed on. This results in a stronger body odour compared to that released by thermal sweating.
Tips to get your sweating sorted
Use an antiperspirant
There are a lot of body sprays and deodorants on the market which hide smells but don’t control moisture. To help control sweat, make sure the product you use has the word ‘antiperspirant’ on it. Dermatologists recommend to apply your antiperspirant in the evening just before bedtime when the body is at rest and sweat glands are the least active, then reapply in the morning.
The majority of over-the-counter antiperspirant brands contain aluminium compounds which actively block sweat glands. If you need something stronger than your average antiperspirant, consider one that is labelled as being clinical strength. For some people, the aluminium compounds may cause skin irritations or be a health concern as they actually block sweat glands. If this is you; there are ‘natural’ brands available that use alternative ingredients but will likely not be as effective.
Take a cold shower or find another way to cool down
Reducing your core temperature will help reduce thermal sweating, so take a cool shower, have a cold drink, find some air conditioning or carry around a mini fan.
Opt for loose fitting clothing
Choosing breathable clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton, linen or wool will help reduce sweat. They often have a looser weave than synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon. There is also clothing available in materials that actually wick away sweat.
This goes for bedsheets as well; if you find yourself sweating at night, pick breathable, lightweight, natural fabrics.
Learn some relaxation techniques
If your sweating is brought on by stressful situations, learn some relaxation techniques to help you alleviate anxiety or stress. Slowing your breathing, focusing on something calming or taking some time out may help reduce stress sweating.
Ditch the spicy food and caffeine
Drinking caffeine and eating foods with capsaicin – a chemical compound found in chilli peppers – can trigger neurotransmitters which may affect your sweat glands. Reduce your intake of these and it may help reduce your sweating.
ROAD TESTED: NIVEA Stress Protect Clinical Strength anti-perspirant deodorant
RRP $14.99 (40ml)
The claim: Protects from heavy wetness and odour, providing protection against both thermal sweating as well as stress sweating from heightened emotional stressful situations. Dermatologically tested, providing 48-hour protection.
The test: Smells fresh and clean without being sticky, and dries quickly. Trialled in gym classes, outdoor walking in the sun and during a regular workday. Applied in the evening, underarms still smelled good the next day throughout these activities, even without reapplication in the morning.
Availability: Available in a women’s and men’s stick applicator from supermarkets, mass merchants and selected pharmacies nationwide.
ROAD TESTED: Weleda Wild Rose Deodorant
RRP $29.90 (100ml)
The claim: Weleda’s all-natural range of deodorants work by neutralising odour-causing bacteria that can accompany the body’s natural detoxification without preventing perspiration or disrupting the body’s natural functions.
The test: As this is a deodorant and not an anti-perspirant, we found this a good product to use if you want to let sweating occur naturally but want to neutralise any smells that go with it. If you’re used to an aerosol, using the spray from a glass bottle does take a little getting used to but the wild rose scent is strong, beautiful and well worth it. Trialled during general everyday activities, cardio classes and outdoor walking, this natural deodorant (which contains no aluminium compounds or phthalates) continued to smell fresh and floral throughout the day.
Availability: Available from all good health food stores and pharmacies nationwide.
ROAD TESTED: Rexona Women Crystal 48 hr Anti-Perspirant
The claim: Provides long lasting protection against wetness and odour, alcohol free and dermatologically tested as well as providing protection against white marks on clothing.
The test: No residual white marks on dark exercise clothing or work clothes just as the claims say. Trialled during gym weights and cardio classes, ice skating, outdoor running and at work. Continued to smell fresh and clean throughout the day and helped to control sweating well.
Availability: Available from most supermarkets.
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Ambro