What is sweat?
Sweat, also known as perspiration, is a healthy, biological body function. By definition, it is a fluid secreted from our sudoriferous glands, or more simply, our sweat glands. Every human sweats and it’s a process that can begin as early as a few months after birth. Body odor as a result of sweating, on the other hand, does not usually occur until puberty. Antiperspirant and deodorants have been around for years to help us manage our sweating and control any resulting body odor. Extensive innovations continue to make them more effective. You can see our complete range of Rexona™ products for men and women to find an antiperspirant to match your lifestyle.
Why do we sweat
There are several reasons why we sweat. The most common reason is a rise in temperature, due to either exercise or a warm external environment. A rise in body temperature due to changes in our emotional state, sometimes caused by hormonal changes or stress, can make us perspire (the production of adrenaline can make us sweat irrespective of a rise in body temperature). And when our bodies produce antibodies to fight infections, again causing us to warm up, sweating is also a knock-on effect.
In any case, when we get hot, our bodies use sweating as a way to cool down. This is known as thermoregulation. When our body temperature rises, we produce sweat. As this sweat evaporates from our skin, it lowers our body temperature.
Causes of sweating
There are certain triggers that cause our bodies to start sweating: an increase in physical activity, for example, or exposure to high temperatures in the environment. In these circumstances, our brains send signals to the glands in our bodies to start perspiring in order to cool us down. Other triggers include a change in emotions, eating hot or spicy food, hormonal swings, and infection.
Stress and anxiety are common emotions that can lead to perspiration. These feelings cause the body to produce adrenaline in preparation for an expected event and sweating is a normal side effect.
Gustatory sweating occurs when our metabolism rises as our bodies work to digest and process food. Eating spicy food can especially cause us to perspire, usually on the face, neck, and scalp. This is because it contains a substance called capsaicin which, due to its chemical makeup, triggers heat-activated molecular sensors in our mouths, tricking our bodies into thinking we are heating up. This, in turn, causes us to sweat as our bodies try to lower our temperature.
Hormonal imbalances brought on by changes in our life cycle, such as puberty or menopause, can also lead to irregular sweating patterns.
Where do we sweat?
Most people associate sweating with armpits, although under-arm sweating only accounts for about 1% of our bodies’ perspiration. However, the armpit is an area where heat can get trapped and where evaporation can be slow, so it can feel wetter here for longer and can even cause stains on our clothes.
Sweat is, in fact, produced all over our bodies from two types of sweat glands: the apocrine and eccrine glands. Apocrine glands are found in the armpit area close to the hair follicles. They are active when we’re exercising or experiencing strong emotions such as stress and anxiety, and produce sweat rich in both protein and lipids.
Eccrine glands are found all over our skin and produce sweat that is 99% water. They are responsible for thermoregulation and work harder in situations where we need to cool down. These eccrine glands are most commonly active on the face, head, hands, and feet.