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Sweating it Out – The Low Down On Perspiration

November 26, 2009

It seems that all it takes in Australia to get our pollies hot under the collar is a bit of climate change debate. So, while they are sweating it out, shuffling seats and generally increasing Australia’s carbon footprint we take a look at how to stay dry in times of climate crisis.

Horses sweat, men perspire and ladies glow or so the old saying goes, but what is it,  why does it smell and how can we stop it?

Firstly sweating is perfectly normal and is one way our bodies keep cool and communicate to others. There are two types of sweat, firstly there is the sweat secreted by our eccrine glands which are located all over our body. This sweat mostly consists of water and is part of our cooling system.  The other type of sweat originates from  Apocrine glands which are only found in certain areas of the body (armpits and private parts) . While this sweat does function to cool us it also contains our own distinctive body odour – something very important when looking for a mate (oh yeh, we are all animals).  Anyone who has been watching the ABC’s series  John  Safrans Race Relations will know just how important scent is in this regard.

So its normal to sweat. In fact it is important that we do but why does it smell so very awful?

While everyone’s sweat has the potential to smell bad, some people will give off stronger odours than others. There are racial differences in our smell,  biological differences in the number and activity level of our sweat glands,  differing emotional response levels to environmental stimulus (or ETS legislation), the impact of our personal hygiene, our diet, our general health and medication status and our hormones on any given day.  Fresh sweat on most people has a very low odour but when left, it can start to break down and whiff. 

Body Odour happens when bacteria join in the party.  Bacteria starts to break down the fatty acids that we excrete making us smell either a bit cheesy or vinegary depending on the bacteria type. Mix this with some garlic, a touch of bad personal hygiene and some spandex pants and you have a pungent cocktail.

So, can we stop the whiff? Of course we can. 


When temperatures soar natural fibres are your friend as these will let your skin breathe – oh, well that is unless you choose tight leather (tight, restrictive clothing can lead to thrush and other fungal infections so make sure you get some air between wears – especially in the hotter months).  Make sure that you wear cotton or silk undies (great excuse), change the clothing next to your body daily and go for lighter colours that reflect heat away thus keeping you cool.

Drink plenty of water.

The better your hydration, the easier it is for your body to function. A well-functioning body excreats toxins in a slow and orderly fashion rather than storing up heaps just to dump it all out at an inopportune moment!

Watch what you eat and drink.

Everything we put into our bodies that can’t be used up has to get out and some of it is via the skin. If you are worried about smelling bad, avoiding  the obvious foods like garlic and onions  may seem like good sense but these things are good for you and actually help to boost your metabolism. It is far better to avoid junk foods such as fried meats, cakes and pastries and cut back on the alcohol  in the race to smell ace!

Put the Sweat factory on part-time!

Of course, you can choose the easy option and go for an antiperspirants. These stop the production of sweat by plugging up your sweat glands with aluminium chlorohydrate or equivalent. These are very effective at reducing wetness and often contain fragrance to help cover up any residual smell BUT they do make it harder for your skin to eliminate toxins naturally (by blocking the exit) which is one reason why you shouldn’t douse your whole body – armpits are just fine!

If the thought of an aluminium containing antiperspirants turns you off you can just cover up the smell with any of the wide range of deodorant products around. These may be based on natural ingredients such as essential oils to cover the smell and clays, talcs or mineral salts to help mop up and neutralise the odour (such as bicarb of soda) .  

 An even more ‘natural’way of deodorising is to use a special crystal that can be rubbed around the armpit area where it imparts its magic.  These crystals are rich in natural mineral salts – namely potassium or sodium alum – salts that have natural antibacterial properties which help to reduce our bacteria load before the smell begins.

Avoid Embarrassing Situations.

This one is tricky but when we are under pressure our epocrine sweat starts to flow. This is one of the things that lie detectors are programmed to pick up – our apocrine sweat can tell a fair bit about us and give our game away. The best way to keep this under control is to give yourself a fighting chance in potentially stressful situations by controlling your breathing, being well prepared, wearing breathable clothes and giving yourself time to think. Not always possible but worth keeping in mind.

Well, our pollies may well thrive on the drama of a good leadership challenge but that doesn’t mean we have to smell a rat.   I think I will put in an order for Deo crystals all around.

Stay dry this summer and feel great being you!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2009 12:28 am

    looking too much tired jus like after having a lot of run forward a loin.. hehehehee


  1. Sweating it Out – The Low Down On Perspiration « Realize Beauty | Hyperhidrosis - How To Stop Sweating
  2. Beauty Tips for Australian Politicians « Realize Beauty

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