What is sweat?
Sweat is your body’s in-built air conditioning unit and is essential for good health. Your 4 million sweat glands enable you to maintain a safe body temperature and release sodium (salt). You most commonly feel this in your underarms, feet and palms. Sweat is a clear, odourless liquid. It only smells and releases BO ( Body Odour) as we know it when it reacts with bacteria at the surface.
In most deodorants (natural and otherwise) a key ingredient is alcohol. Alcohol is certainly an effective antibacterial (which is why alcohol gel is on every hospital ward) but applying it to your delicate underarm skin on a daily basis is not advisable. Alcohol kills both good and bad bacteria and leaves skin prone to dryness and irritation.
What is the science behind sweat?
There are two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine. The body has thousands of eccrine glands, which effectively regulate the body’s temperature. They open directly onto the skins surface. As the body’s temperature rises, the nervous system goes to work to stimulate the eccrine glands to release sweat. Sweat is made up of water, sodium and other substances that help cool the body down.
Whereas, apocrine glands are found mainly in the underarm and groin areas. They open into a hair follicle that then leads to the skin’s surface. Although the body’s temperature can stimulate these glands, they are also triggered by stress, anxiety or fluctuating hormones – especially during menstrual changes such as the menopause or puberty. These first become active at the onset of puberty. The apocrine glands produce a sweat that is thicker than eccrine glands, they also contain pheromones, the hormones thought to impact others to attract a mate! This secretion is still odourless until the bacteria at the surface break it down causing the offensive smell.
On average, people have around two to four million sweat glands. However, how much sweat is released by each gland is determined by a number of factors from your gender, genetics, environmental conditions to age and fitness level. The two main things to consider is your fitness level and weight. The more a person weighs, the more they will sweat – as the body must exert more energy to function. Another factor is that there is more body mass to cool down.
Equally, someone is very fit will start sweating earlier and easier. Sounds strange, right?! But as someone becomes fitter, their body becomes more efficient at regulating their body temperature. In short, the earlier you start sweating, the body will then cool down faster, releasing extra body heat and allowing you to train for longer.
There have been theories that suggest during exercise, your body needs to pump more blood to the muscles that are working – also stimulating the eccrine and apocrine glands.
Easy steps to control sweat
Whether you naturally sweat more or just want to control how much you sweat on a day-to-day basis, we’ve got you covered. There are many ways to help control sweat, and all solved with just a few lifestyle changes.
Avoid spicy, salty or fatty foods
Spicy foods contain capsaicin, which is a chemical that stimulates the nerve receptors in your mouth and convinces your nervous system into thinking you’re hot. Your brain will then send a signal to your sweat glands to get cracking and cool you down.
Drinking more water
One of the easiest ways to control your sweat is staying hydrated and drinking lots of water. The more sweat you produce, the more evaporation there is, and the more you’re cooled off. Sweating also hydrates your skin and maintains the balance of electrolytes in your body.
The NHS suggests that if you suffer from controlling the amount you sweat, you should be wearing loose and breathable clothing – in order for your body temperature to regulate itself easier.
Shaving your underarms
There is the stereotype that men sweat or smell more than women… Although this isn’t the case, there have been studies that suggest that by shaving your underarms (where your main apocrine sweat glands are) you won’t sweat as much, in comparison to someone who has hairy underarms. Are there other and potentially better alternatives to controlling sweat? Yes. Should you be rushing to grab a razor and shave every inch of your body to control sweating? We wouldn’t suggest it.
Cutting down caffeine
Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system, increasing your heart rate and raising your blood pressure. All of this extra energy can lead to more sweating, so cut down on the coffee if you’re wanting to avoid excessive sweating… while you’re at it, cut down on the alcohol too!
A simple and easy trick is to just try and relax more, sure, it’s easier said than done but doing something that will calm your body and allow it to regulate your internal temperature more will only help the sweating process. It might be time to try meditation, yoga or even just relaxing with your favourite box set.
Antiperspirant Vs Deodorant for Excessive Sweating
We have debated this topic a lot here at Proverb, ultimately antiperspirant contains aluminium, which plugs the pores of your sweat glands to limit the amount of sweat your body releases and can lead to some very negative side effects to your body and health. Whereas a deodorant doesn’t contain aluminium, therefore doesn’t control the amount you sweat.
However, it will neutralise the odour of your sweat. If you would like to know more about the difference between the two and which is the best deodorant or antiperspirant, check out our blog on ‘Everything You Need To Know About Deodorant’.
Other ways to reduce sweat
Clinical strength antiperspirant
Botox for Sweating
Then we have miraDry which is a laser treatment for your sweat glands – a short procedure using thermal energy (the same energy that’s found in a microwave) to target and immediately eliminate sweat and odour glands.
After the procedure, you can experience swelling and bruising in your underarms, but this varies from person to person. Six weeks later, you should return for a check-in appointment with your doctor to ensure that everything is going smoothly. Many people have found excellent results through using lasers to eliminate sweat glands. Patients typically experience around an 82% sweat reduction and 89% odour reduction immediately after just one treatment of miraDry – it is important to note that some people who are natural profusive sweaters may need two or three treatments.
Although both miraDry and Botox injections have a very similar outcome percentage, miraDry is an indefinite solution (yes, it may be on the pricier side) but it will work out cheaper than the Botox injections that you will have to do every other month! Some food for thought for you.
Proverb Natural Refillable Deodorant
The Proverb Natural Refillable Deodorant is here, tested on lots of sweaty humans that have really put our deodorant to the test, the results? A natural subtly scented deodorant that lasts all day long.
Available in three scents, Wild Mint & Eucalyptus – an invigorating & refreshing scent, for those who don't suffer from serious body odour, young armpits & allergies to sodium bicarbonate. Coconut & Tonka – a gentle & calming scent, for those who don't suffer from serious body odour, young armpits & allergies to sodium bicarbonate.
Then we have our Sensitive & Unfragranced, which is all of the effective plant power without the scent for super sensitive armpits. But what if you’re doing heavy lifting or living a busy lifestyle? Our ‘ACTIVE’ range is all of your favourite scents but for those that need a little bit of a stronger deodorant.