Is sweating good for you? Or… is it bad for you?
Does it help you lose weight? Release toxins? Or even attract the opposite sex?
In this article, we’ll explore the good, the bad, and a bit of the ugly side of sweat.
Let’s start with the Good Sweating
We’ve been helping people control unwanted, excessive sweat for over 10 years and we often get asked the question… “But aren’t you supposed to sweat?”
The answer: Yes. (but not always)
Normal sweating is certainly good. It’s the natural process by which your body cools itself during an intense workout or on a sweltering summer day.
When temperatures climb, your body signals your sweat glands and they work their magic; You perspire, your body cools, and you live to sweat another day.
Normal sweating can occur on hot days, during exercise, emotional stress, even when consuming your favorite spicy dish.
Are there additional benefits of sweating? It depends on who you ask. Many experts conclude that the cooling affect of sweating is its only redeeming quality.
However, natural wellness experts strongly disagree and argue that sweating has many health benefits. Here’s some popular theories on the benefits of sweating:
- Healthy sweating clears pores helping the skin stay zit and pimple free
- Normal sweating can help protect against germs and bacteria.
- Some studies suggest that sweating produced from intense exercise can reduce the risk of kidney stones.
- According to researchers at UC Berkeley, pheromones found in male sweat can raise Cortisol hormone levels in women. Cortisol is connected with arousal, stress and brain activation. In other words… more sweat = more ladies 😉 or is it… more sweat = more stress?
Now that we’ve established that sweat isn’t just for the stink, let’s explore the potential downside to sweating…
Can Sweating Be Bad For You?
Not all sweating is good. Excessive or abnormal sweating can be a sign of other health problems and the source of some extremely embarrassing social interactions.
We’re all familiar with the ugly side of sweat: sweat tacos, armpit stains, funky body odor, sweaty handshakes, awkward hugs, flattering back sweat, etc…
Here are some not-so-obvious signs that good sweating has gone bad…
- Acidic sweat
- Fatty, stinky sweat
- Salty sweat
- Fishy, smelly sweat
- Unusually stinky sweat
- Excessive sweat or hyperhidrosis
- Sweat that’s gone “AWAL”
Can you do anything about bad sweat?
Yes, there are some things you can do to improve your sweat health, but it’s always best to consult with your doctor if you feel your sweat is abnormal or excessive.
Here’s a few tips to help deal with bad sweat:
Acidic Sweat : Acidic sweat can indicate an acid imbalance in your body. When your body has too much acid it can pass the excess acid through your sweat glands causing acidic sweat. Eating high alkaline foods like fruits and vegetables can help. Avoiding sugars, sodas, and caffeine can also reduce the acid in your body.
Fatty, stinky Sweat : This kind of sweating can indicate high stress in your life. Stress sweat is often produced by your apocrine glands which are only found in your armpits. This sweat tends to carry fat and protein that can mix with bacteria and add a not-so-sweet aroma to your underarms. Find ways to calm down, destress, and relax to reduce this kind of sweating.
Salty Sweat : Stingy, salty sweat can indicate a low sodium diet. Strange as it seems, adding a bit of salt to your diet and some electrolytes may help tame your salty sweat.
Fishy, Smelly Sweat : Fish flavored sweat can indicate a rare and extremely inconvenient problem called Fish Odor Syndrome or Trimethylaminuria. Unfortunately we don’t have any tips to offer here. It’s best to consult with your doctor about possible antibiotics, soaps or special diet recommendations that may help.
Unusually Stinky Sweat : If strong smelling sweat makes frequent visits to your underarms it’s worth looking at your diet. Foods like garlic, stinky cheese, onions, cabbage and fried foods can rise again in the form of dangerously potent body odor. Eliminating certain foods from your diet may help reduce unfavorable odors. Here’s a great article on foods that make you sweat and another helpful article that explores the foods that can reduce sweating.
Excessive Sweating or Hyperhidrosis : If you feel like you’re sweating too much or sweating more than usual, you might have hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is characterized by excessive sweating even when temperatures, stress/emotional levels, and physical activity are low. In other words, you sweat a lot and for no apparent reason. While hyperhidrosis isn’t life-threatening, it can be extremely embarrassing. Treatments for hyperhidrosis include botox, medications, microwaving your sweat glands, and in more severe cases surgery. But the most economical and effective treatment is a strong clinical strength antiperspirant.
No Sweat : Lack of sweat is not a good thing. This can indicate that sweat glands are no longer functioning properly due to nerve damage, skin damage or other disorders. This condition is known as Hypohidrosis (not hyper) or anhidrosis. If sweat glands are no longer producing sweat, you could be in danger of overheating or heat stroke.
If you have any concerns about your sweating, it’s always best to consult with a doctor about possible treatments and underlying medical conditions that may be influencing your bodies natural sweating.
Article sources and other helpful links to learn more about healthy sweating: