The interwebs are full of juicy rumors, tall tales and “fake news”. The topics of sweating and perspiration are no stranger to these myths. In this short post we explore some of the most popular sweat myths and attempt some debunkery along the way.
1) Sweating is a Bad Thing
It’s true, sweaty armpits and sweaty hands won’t do your social life any favors. You might even think ending all your sweat could end ALL your problems. The truth is, normal perspiration is essential to keeping you healthy… and alive.
(Fact: The inability to sweat is called Anhidrosis. Anhidrosis can lead to heatstroke and even death.)
Sweat isn’t all bad. In fact, it’s pretty darn good.
Your sweat glands are your built-in air conditioning unit. When your body gets too hot, it releases sweat to expel heat and cool things down.
Can too much of a good thing… become a bad thing?
2) Sweating is a Good Thing
Wait, didn’t I say sweat was a good thing? It is. BUT, excessive sweat isn’t always a sign of great work ethic. It’s one thing to sweat your guts out during an intense workout. It’s another to sweat your guts out for no reason while doing absolutely nothing at all. (exception: it’s 900º outside or you’re sitting in a sauna).
If excessive sweating is unpredictable and uncontrollable, it’s not a good thing. In fact, this kind of perspiration is classified as hyperhidrosis. Many people suffer from hyperhidrosis and don’t even know it. Hyperhidrosis isn’t always explainable. But it can often be a side affect of underlying health problems or a result of poor diet.
3) Sweating is natural, so you shouldn’t try to stop it.
Says the person who’s never struggled with hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating. Yes, sweating is natural. But it’s also natural to be yourself, wear what you want, go out with friends, give hugs, and dance your heart out — WITHOUT having to worry about embarrassing sweat!
Isn’t it medically dangerous to block sweat on specific parts of your body? According to medical expert, Dr. Kery Peterson, “The answer is No. We have millions of sweat glands and our underarms represent a very small percentage of them. You’ll be able to cool off just fine by using all of the other sweat glands in your body.”
4) Sweat is the cause of “Sweat Stains”
Sweat often gets blamed for those flattering yellow stains that ruin your shirts. But is sweat really the cause?
What about antiperspirants and deodorants? Did you know these anti-sweat products actually do most of the staining in your shirts?
Antiperspirants react with the protein in your sweat creating yellowish armpit stains.
Deodorants contain oils, fragrances and other ingredients that absorb easily into your clothing. This can cause a similar yellowing and staining.
Tips to avoid “sweat” stains:
When applying deodorant, wait a few minutes for it to completely dry. This way the deodorant will not absorb into your shirt.
Apply antiperspirant at night. Your antiperspirant will work better and it won’t mess up your shirt the next day.
Not all deodorants and antiperspirants stain. Here’s a great antiperspirant that keeps you dry WITHOUT leaving unsightly stains.
Here are some quick tips to remove sweat stains.
5) Sweat Stinks
Why does sweat stink? Regardless of educational background, we all know that water is wet, fire is hot, and sweat… stinks! Not so much…
Sweat actually doesn’t have an odor. It’s made up of 99% water and the other 1% is salt, protein and fat-based metabolites.
Body odor is a by-product of protein-laced sweat mixing with bacteria on your skin. Your armpits, chest and groin area are full of sweat glands that produce this type of sweat.
Wanna avoid this stinky bacteria-protein cocktail? Keep your skin clean, use an antiperspirant to block sweat and a deodorant to kill the bacteria.
6) Sweating Out Toxins
Fitness gurus, sauna salesman and mommy bloggers love to tout this monster myth. But it just aint so. You can no more sweat out toxins than you can sweat out gold nuggets.
Your body releases extra heat via your sweat glands in the form of sweat. Your sweat is mostly water and salt – NOT toxins.
Your liver is the official detoxifying organ in your body, not your sweat glands.
Want to detoxify? Drink plenty of water, eat clean food and exercise regularly. Cut out sugar (artificial stuff too), caffeine, alcohol and smoking. Get plenty of sleep and antioxidants. This will do more for your detox journey than any amount of sweating.
7) Sweating Makes You Lose Weight
Does sweating help you lose weight? Sure. Do you actually lose body fat when you perspire? Nope. The only thing you’re losing when you sweat is water. Loss of water weight will not result in loose fitting jeans, flat stomaches, or beach bodies.
Real weight loss comes when excessive sweat meets intense exercise (calorie burn). If you want to lose weight by sweating, do it the old fashion way – in the gym or on the track.
8) More Sweating = A Better Workout
Sweating isn’t the best measure of how effective your workouts are. If you perspire more during exercise, it most likely means you have more sweat glands. Your heart rate is the best indicator for calorie burn and effective workouts.
9) Antiperspirants Are Bad
Is antiperspirant bad for you? Another wide-spread myth is that Antiperspirants cause cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
However, the American Cancer Society has a different opinion. In fact, their official take on this matter is that “all of these claims are largely untrue.”
But what about the aluminum in antiperspirant? Shouldn’t you be concerned about that? Again, the American Cancer Society says “no.” They go a step further to point out that “the actual amount of aluminum absorbed (from antiperspirant) would be much less than what would be expected to be absorbed from the foods a person eats during the same time.”
10) Deodorants Stop Sweat
Do you know the difference between antiperspirant and deodorant? Most people don’t. Deodorants deodorize and mask the smell of bacteria-laden sweat. But they do not stop or block sweat. If stopping sweat is your goal, you need a strong antiperspirant. Antiperspirants cause your sweat pores to swell and block unwanted perspiration.
Want to stop embarrassing sweat? Put down the baby powder and check out these tips and tricks to stop sweaty armpits.