Sweating is the body’s way to regulate temperature. But for those who sweat heavily or spontaneously, it can also be an embarrassing and emotional experience.
Did You Know That….
- The average person sweats around 278 gallons per year.
- The human body contains about 2 to 4 million sweat glands.
- 3% of the population suffers from hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).
- People with the condition hypohidrosis (or anhidrosis) are unable to sweat.
- Men on average sweat about 40% more than women.
- 35% of people experience at least one weekly sweat event.
- Sweat itself is actually odorless.
- Aluminum in antiperspirants is the culprit behind yellow stains.
The Evolution Of Sweating
People are the most sophisticated and sweatiest animals on the planet - but why?
Sweat actually played a pivotal role in the brain development of early humans. As they ran long distances in the equatorial sun, their bodies developed more sweat glands to help cool their overheated brains, allowing these organs to expand and evolve into the human brain today.
Strangely, we owe much of our impressive brains to our ability to sweat.
Sweat also cools the body during times of stress. When exposed to stressful stimuli, your fight-or-flight response center fires, and sweating is a necessary and purposeful reaction. As hormone secretion, blood flow and heart rate increase, your body sweats to help it cool down.
The smell of stress sweat also acts as a peer-to-peer danger alert system (unlike regular exercise sweat). In the face of predators thousands of years ago, humans needed a nonverbal way to communicate the presence of danger.
Common Types Of Sweating Issues
Of course, standing in the boiling heat, enduring a grueling workout or just going about your day will get your body temperature rising and the sweat pumping.
But when heavy sweating becomes a medical condition, it's known as primary or generalized hyperhidrosis.
Primary hyperhidrosis is a form of excessive sweating that has no known cause. The body produces more sweat than is necessary in one particular area, such as the feet, hands, head/face or armpits. People with generalized secondary hyperhidrosis, on the other hand, sweat heavily across the body, and it’s usually caused by a medical condition or medication.
Here are some more common sweating problems:
- Situational Sweating: For many men and women, situational sweating is also a daily concern. The most common types include stress sweating and nervous sweating, which are triggered by real-life stressors or feelings of worry or fear.
- Night Sweats: Some people experience night sweats during menopause, illness or fever to help cool the body down.
- Hot Flashes: These shorter bouts of hotness are also the result of hormonal changes that occur during menopause.
Why Everyone Sweats Differently
Why do some people sweat more in certain areas than others? Much has to do with your DNA (or predisposition to sweating) and how your sweat glands are distributed.
For example, one area of your body might perspire first because those glands respond to your brain's signals quickest, according to dermatologist Dee Anna Glaser.
The placement of specific sweat glands also shapes how you sweat. If you sweat excessively in one particular area, you could have a higher concentration of sweat glands there.
Your body contains two types of sweat glands that serve different purposes:
- Eccrine glands are located across the skin (mainly your palms, feet, armpits and forehead). When your body’s internal temperature begins to rise, the hypothalamus activates these sweat glands. As the sweat evaporates, it helps cool the skin and keep your core temperature from overheating. The sweat produced by these glands is composed of salt and water so it does not smell.
- Apocrine glands typically end in hair follicles - rather than pores - and don’t develop until puberty. Unlike eccrine glands, apocrine glands secrete a milky fluid that’s odorless until it mixes with bacteria on the skin. These sweat glands are often activated in times of stress, which explains why stress sweat tends to smell more than regular sweat.
Sweat 101 Resource Center
Looking for more information on general or excessive sweating? Check out these resources!
- Heavy Underarm Sweating
- Nervous or Stress Sweating
Sweat Proof Thompson Tees – A Solution To Hyperhidrosis
People with axillary hyperhidrosis sweat bullets through their T-shirts and outwear, exposing their embarrassing sweating problem.
To address this issue, Thompson Tee co-founders Billy and Randy spent more than 10 years developing the only patented sweat proof technology called Hydro-Shield, which is embedded in the underarms of every premium Thompson Tee to fight sweat all day long.
This lightweight layering system traps heat and moisture and allows it to evaporate rather than seep through to your outer layer – providing relief from wet marks and yellowing that quickly destroy your clothing and your confidence.