Body sweat: life saver and communicator.

Body sweat: life saver and communicator.

Temperature regulation and body chemistry.

Our body has an amazing system for regulating its temperature, and its most important agent is sweat. Don't be annoyed by this quite natural body reaction, because it is not only vital but also a perfect means of communication!

Our skin has around two million sweat glands. They are distributed over our entire body surface and are concentrated on the palms of our hands, the soles of our feet and in the armpits. They are controlled by our vegetative nervous system, which works almost autonomously and gives the impulse to produce sweat. Therefore we do not only sweat in warm temperatures or during physical activity but also during stress, excitement and hormonal changes. In addition, our physical condition, weight and diet have a direct influence on how quickly and heavily we sweat.

As the sweat on our skin evaporates, it cools our body and protects it from overheating. One of the reasons why drinking a lot is so important, especially on Fuerteventura! In addition to the cooling effect, sweat also has a cleansing and protective effect on our skin: it flushes out end products of our metabolism such as urea or ammonia and keeps the acid mantle in balance by inhibiting the growth of germs on the skin surface. With this natural barrier it ensures a healthy, balanced skin flora.

Last but not least, our sweat serves for interpersonal communication. Its typical smell is caused by bacteria which decompose body substances and which feel particularly good in the warm, moist armpit and genital area. This complex interaction creates our individual body odor, which can trigger certain behaviors in our fellow human beings. It even affects our choice of partner, which is why it only takes effect from puberty onwards. So we do not do ourselves any favours by clogging our pores with antiperspirants or fighting our own odour with perfumed deodorants.

In order to keep the smell of sweat at bay, you should wear clothing and shoes made of breathable natural fibres and wash your armpits, genitals and feet with a damp washcloth or take a short, lukewarm shower.

(Edited from article by Heike Bludau)

Michel Robeers