With the sun shining again and the weather finally heating up, people are bounding out from their wintry hiding places and are throwing their arms up to the sky with joy…but not too high. For as good as the heat may feel, it brings with it unsightly underarm stains, salty skin, damp hair, running make-up, embarrassing odors, and all of the other unavoidable outcomes of sweating.
But should we really be trying to avoid these soggy stigmas? Or do most of us have the wrong attitude when it comes to body sweat? Sweating is the body’s natural response to heat, exertion, stress and illness. While many people try to avoid sweating at all costs with the use of antiperspirants, air-conditioners, or staying out of the sun at all costs, the research shows that when it comes to the embarrassing signs of sweat – don’t sweat it! Sweating is a vital function that we should all embrace, as it is critical to the maintenance of good health.
Sweating involves two different glands; the eccrine glands release perspiration to keep our body temperature under control, while the aprocine glands release sweat triggered by stimulation or stress, such as exercise. As our body temperature elevates, we sweat in order to bring our body temperature back down to normal, healthy levels. It is extremely important that we allow our bodies to do this, in order to avoid over-heating, heat exhaustion, dizziness, weakness, or heat stroke.
The benefits of sweating don’t stop there; studies show that sweating is also good for your skin. As the glands release sweat, our pores open up and this allows us to properly cleanse our skin. This is why many spas will use steam during facials to prepare the skin for deep cleaning.
Our bodies also contain toxins from a variety of sources, including air pollution and pesticides in farmed foods. Sweating can release some of these toxins to the surface of our skin, which is why older age groups have also become interested in activities such as hot yoga and sauna treatments.
More surprisingly, sweat may also be a natural remedy for contamination. According to researchers at Eberhard-Karls-University at Tubingen in Germany, sweat may contain an antibiotic known as “Dermcidin” which can help kill off bacteria such as E. coli. The University of Michigan Health System has also found that stem cells, found in human sweat glands, can arise from beneath a wound and quickly assist in the healing them.
Hydration is important if you want to reap the benefits sweat can bring. Without proper hydration, we don’t sweat properly. Fitness experts say our body loses about 10 percent of its daily water through sweat, and even more with exercise. Water is essential to replenishing our body after sweating, but also to stay hydrated and maintain good health. The amount of water you need depends on weight and size, but getting at least eight glasses a day is always recommended for good health and hydration.
Sweating may not always be the most appealing or comfortable, but it can help you to improve your health. You shouldn’t, however, leave sweat sitting on your skin; this could cause glands and pores to become clogged. The best defense is to make sure you wash your face and body as soon you can after sweating. So whether you’re exercising or just enjoying the heat, keep proper hydration and don’t be afraid to get sweaty!