Not too many people really like sweating. It can be uncomfortable, smelly, and a bit unpleasant, especially if you touch someone sweaty.
And humans seem to be the only ones who do sweat (horses and hippos do, too).
It does serve an essential function in our body.
Why Do We Sweat?
The primary reason is to cool our bodies off. When our inner core temperature goes up, we need a way to get it back down. The evaporating moisture on our skin takes heat from inside our body and dissipates it.
That's normal and natural.
But, it also serves other functions. Most people don't realize sweating is a form of detoxification. We get rid of certain compounds and toxins by pushing them out of our skin. Many people talk about detoxing the liver, but our skin is the largest detoxification organ in our body.
It's the principle behind sauna and sweat lodges. Over time, people discovered that sweating removes bad stuff from our bodies. It was called bad humors, bad blood, spirits, and even possession at specific points in time.
Today, we know we're removing unwanted toxins and wastes via sweating.
Why Does Sweat Smell?
The scent is more of a complicated issue. First, water does not smell, so it must be something in the fluid we secrete.
What comes out with the fluid is a mixture of oils, salt, pheromones, waste products, toxins, and sugars. Usually, the oils, salts, and sugars don't have a scent. The waste products and toxins can.
Think about garlic, you can actually smell it on a person's skin, which is them sweating out the garlic compounds (allicin is very healthy).
But, that's usually not where the worst of the scent comes from.
There's yeast and bacteria on your skin that serve as a protective layer against harmful viruses and bacteria.
When people are healthy, there's a good balance of probiotics. But, if your diet is not the healthiest, you consume too much protein, or too much sugar, unhealthy yeasts and bacteria can start to flourish. These produce foul odors.
If a person is consuming too much sugar, they will often smell yeast or baking bread attached to their body.
If someone's consuming too much protein, they may have a rotten meat or metallic smell.
A fascinating line of research uses dogs and bees to sniff out illnesses. The body produces certain chemicals in response to different diseases and these can be detected in sweat by the dogs and the bees.
What Happens When We Can't Sweat?
If your body cannot release the moisture, toxins, and other products usually found in sweat, it can be a severe health issue.
First, your body cannot regulate its internal temperature. Generally, a temperature over 104° causes brain damage. Your body can easily reach 120° if it's unregulated.
In the longer term, the toxins and waste products can build up in your system. They have to be detoxified another way, usually through the kidneys.
Yet, your lymphatic system takes the biggest hit, as most of our sweat glands are near lymph nodes. These lymph nodes push out the toxins and efficiently get rid of them via sweat. But if it can't, they shunt everything through your body to your kidneys.
Over time, additional stress on your kidneys can cause serious damage.
Alternatives To Anti-Perspirants
Some people roll on excessive amounts of antiperspirants to stop the smell and look of sweat. But, it's not the healthiest. You're actually plugging up the pores that release sweat and other unwanted chemicals.
So, let's try something else.
If you worry about odors, using deodorant is a great step. It allows your body to sweat, but changes the scent, so you're not offensive to other people.
Baby powder is a type of deodorant, generally a little bit gentler than a roll-on deodorant. But, there's some controversy over the use of talc and its effect on health.
Before modern deodorants, people used herbs. Finely ground-up powders of slippery elm, lavender, peppermint, and other moisture-absorbing herbs give gentle odor control. Just be sure you're not using essential oils, which could burn the sensitive skin of your underarms.
Nothing At All
Finally, a growing movement of people recognizes their own bodies are the best defense against foul odors. By cultivating a diet low in sugar, high in probiotics, and high in vegetables, they allowed the natural probiotics on the skin to adjust to a healthy level and eliminate the need for any deodorants.
Yes, they still sweat, and there is some body odor associated with heavy sweating. But, it takes on a cleaner scent, not one associated with sickness or rotting.
We hope you take another look at the different types of odor control and let your body sweat a little bit more. It can be uncomfortable at first, but the results are worth it.