ANN/ THE STAR – Bodily fluids don’t tend to get much praise.
And yet none of us would last long without the ability to perspire.
Perspiration is normal, and even healthy, but we all sweat to different degrees at different times. Some of us are soaked in sweat after a quick sprint to catch the bus.
Others can run for miles and you won’t spot a droplet on their foreheads. From the impact of hair on body odour to how sweat changes your suntan, here are seven essential facts about perspiration:
SWEATING IS ESSENTIAL FOR SURVIVAL
Many people are embarrassed when sweating heavily, may it be due to exercising, stress or high temperatures. It may help you in the future to remind yourself that your body is just doing its job.
“Perspiration helps to regulate the body’s temperature so that the ideal temperature of about 37 degree Celcius is not exceeded,” said Dr Peter Elsner, who heads a dermatological clinic affiliated with the university hospital in Jena, Germany. “The sweat on the skin serves to cool down the body through so-called evaporative cooling,” he explained.
The brain activates the millions of sweat glands located underneath the surface of the skin via sensors.
These secrete sweat, which then evaporates and cools the skin.
This works better in dry heat than in high humidity, which is why a gust of wind or a fan has a doubly refreshing effect. Humans have to constantly maintain their body temperature for all functions to work properly.
If your body temperature is too high due to heat or exertion, there is a risk of overheating, which can cause headache, dizziness and nausea.
SOME PEOPLE TEND TO SWEAT EXCESSIVELY
Even without exercise or heat, the body still secretes about half a litre of sweat every day – usually without you noticing – according to the German Dermatological Society (DDG).
And some people tend to sweat more than others. his can be unpleasant, especially if it affects your palms or armpits. There are different potential reasons for excessive perspiration, such as:
– Conditions such as hyperhidrosis, ie excessive sweating
– Genetic factors
– Highly sensitive sweat glands When it comes to excess sweat, there are different treatment options, according to Dr Elsner.
– Dermatological treatments with locally-active preparations, eg antiperspirants, gels, lotions, ointments and tablets.
– Electrical procedures to regulate sweat production.
– Iontophoresis, for example, sends a weak electric current through the skin, leading to a temporary decrease in sweat gland activity.
– Surgical measures in which doctors remove your sweat glands or use thermal energy targetting and eliminating them.