It happens to all of us, whether you’re a serial sweater or every now and then – everyone sweats. But for something that happens daily to everyone, do you really know what happens when you sweat? Or even why you may sweat more than others? We have broken it down for you, so that you really know what the best deodorant for sweating is…
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 to 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.
Why do we start sweating during puberty?
Puberty stinks. It happens to all of us, you reach your early teens and your body starts to change in ways, that you just don’t understand. You may wake up one day and find that all of a sudden, you have a smelly child coming down for breakfast - this is totally normal and one of the first signs that your child has reached puberty.
Often, young teens won’t even realise how much they smell, which is where you come in, all you need to do is invest in a deodorant and not panic. Smelling is a perfectly normal part of growing up and there has been much research that indicates that teenagers do just stink
. We aren’t just talking about teenage boys here, girls too.
Due to hormonal changes, children begin to sweat profusely as their sweat glands start pumping out more moisture. However, as mentioned before, sweat along does not make a child smell, as sweat itself is odourless salty water. It is only when the secretion mixes with and is broken down by the surface bacteria that create the smell.
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.
First up, let’s talk about the food that you are eating. Do you generally eat a lot of spicy, salty or fatty foods? This may be one of the contributing factors that is causing excessive sweating. You see, 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.
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.
Next up, is the stereotype that men sweat or smell more than women… although this isn’t the case, there have been studies that suggest 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.
This step is 100% the hardest in our opinion, cutting down caffeine. It’s the fuel that keeps you going throughout the day, it’s your early morning wake up on the dreariest of days. However, that is exactly the problem, it not only wakes your body up, but your sweat glands too. 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 your 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.
Last but by no means least, you need to be staying on top of your hygiene and grooming, this means showering every day and cleaning your sweat pores to avoid a buildup – leading to odour.
Is antiperspirant or deodorant better for controlling sweat?
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’.
Costly ways to reduce sweat
Sometimes the sweat can just get too much, you have tried every wife’s tale out there, every product and every herbal remedy – and nothing works. So, what do you do? There are a few options you have, but before we dive into the pits (pun completely intended) of it – please note that this should always be your last resort and you should check with your GP or healthcare professional before considering any of the following.
Clinical strength antiperspirant
So sweat solution number one is if you are continuing to sweat profusely and nothing is really keeping your sweat at bay, you may need to visit your GP, where clinical-strength antiperspirant may be the answer. However, a lot of the time unless you want to start paying a hell of a lot, for not a lot of product (sometimes only 10 uses!) then prescription antiperspirant may be the way to go.
In simple terms, these products use a significant amount more aluminium to block your sweat ducts than your shop-brought version. The only problem with this is the health risk associated to aluminium in antiperspirants
, not to mention the fact that consumers are more likely to have a reaction to the product due to such concentrated ingredients.
Next up, we have Botox injections, one of the priciest but most effective treatments for excessive sweating. So, how does it work? The toxin works on muscles, by blocking the release of acetylcholine, the chemical messenger that our nerve cells release to activate sweat glands. Each underarm is treated with 15-20 injections, with the entire procedure only taking half an hour and the Botox typically taking effect within five to seven days. And the results? Usually people experience an 82-87% decrease in sweating
Although this all sounds great, it does have its drawbacks – one of which is the price tag. You can be spending a hefty amount of money per-session of the Botox treatment, and this all depends on where you go and which doctor you see. In addition to the fact that the effects only last between four to six months, it may be really effective but just doesn’t seem economically viable for us!
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 that 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.
Founders, Kirstie and Luke, combined their passion of a skincare expert and an ex-professional athlete, both obsessed with creating products that deliver better health & performance. This is no eco bandwagon, it’s their life’s work.
After 11 years playing in the Rugby Premiership, introduced us to endocrine disruptors in beauty products. The catalyst for Proverb, rigorously testing on sweaty athletes and drive to only use ingredients you put in your nutribullet.
Available in three scents, Wild Mint & Eucalyptus
– an invigorating & refreshing scent, for those who don't suffer with serious body odour, young armpits & allergies to sodium bicarbonate. Coconut & Tonka
– a gentle & calming scent, for those who don't suffer with 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.