Sweat it out: Facts and myths about perspiration

Sweating can be a minor inconvenience for some and a major source of insecurity for others, so why do we do it and what makes it so variable?

Whether it’s because you’re exposed to the hot sun, have been exercising, or you’re feeling nervous, sweating is the body’s response to overheating.

“When humans are too hot we use water to cool down in the form of sweat,” GP Dr Nick Carr told House of Wellness TV.

Here are some common sweat questions explained.

Why do some people sweat more than others?

“Like so many things in medicine, there’s no simple answer,” Dr Carr says.

“It’s a combination of genetics, hydration, diet, fitness and lifestyle, but whoever you are and whatever your exercise routine, it’s cool to sweat.”

Why do we sweat when we’re nervous?

When we’re tense and anxious, adrenaline is pulsing through our bodies and that can activate the sweat glands.

“It’s part of our fight or flight response – designed to get us ready to either fight off the tiger or run like hell,” Dr Carr says.

Can we sweat out toxins?

“Sweat is over 99 per cent water with just a few salts and proteins, not a toxin in sight,” Dr Carr says.

Sweat contains just a small amount of salt, so contrary to common belief, unless you’re doing an intense amount of exercise, Dr Carr says you don’t need to replace these post-workout.

“Plain old water will do just fine.”

Can sweat help you lose weight?

According to Dr Carr, it’s really dependant on the reason you’re sweating versus the act of sweating itself.

“The exercise that makes you sweat can certainly help, but just sitting in the sauna sweating won’t help you lose weight,” he says.

Does sweat make you smell?

Although body odour is linked to sweating, it only happens when sweat has reacted with bacteria on the skin.

“Sweat doesn’t smell, but if you leave it on the skin the bacteria can get to work and it can get a bit ripe,” Dr Carr says.

For more expert health and wellbeing advice, tune in to The House of Wellness TV, Fridays at 2pm and Sundays at 12pm on Channel 7.

Written by Charlotte Brundrett