Sweating is not exactly the favorite thing that our body does every day. However, sweating is an essential bodily function that helps regulate body temperature and keep it in the correct range.
Cooling the body is the primary function of sweating, yet along with other factors that sweating has, according to research, many health benefits, but why is sweating good for your skin?
You’re not alone in dealing with sweat-related problems. I have been managing and dealing with hyperhidrosis for over 2 decades now so I do know how hard it is. Read my story here.
In this article, I will share with you why you actually want to sweat, even if it is annoying and embarrassing at times. In fact, there is a surprising relationship between healthy skin and sweating.
Understanding Sweating: 2 Types Of Sweat Glands
Before I go more into detail about whether sweating is good for your skin or not, we need to understand that there are 2 types of sweat glands, both with a different function.
1) Apocrine Sweat Glands
These sweat glands are the ones located in armpits, chest, perineum, among other body parts. They produce a thick clear liquid directly into hair follicles instead through the skin ducts. Apocrine sweat glands only develop after puberty and they are the ones responsible for the strong odor of sweating.
Of the two glands, the apocrine sweat gland is the largest, located in the deep layers underneath our skin.
In all mammals, apocrine glands are stimulated by the nervous system. They are activated when stressed, anxious, in pain, in sexual stimulation, and when frightened. They produce pheromone compounds, an odor that only the brain perceives, which attracts the opposite sex.
Although there are benefits of this sweat for our skin, it is not that much, due in part to the places where these glands are and in what situations they produce sweat.
2) Eccrine Sweat Glands
Eccrine sweat glands are located all over the body. They are not in the deep layers underneath the skin but found just underneath the skin because they push sweat right through the pores onto our skin.
Not like apocrine glands, the eccrine glands are small and do not develop in puberty, but work right from the beginning of existence. Have you noticed that babies and children sweat but they do not have the strong odor that you have when you reach puberty? The eccrine glands are at work.
Eccrine glands produce a clear watery solution onto the skin to regulate body temperature. These glands are not triggered by the nervous system but by the hypothalamus that tells you when it is time to cool the body.
The solution that eccrine sweat glands excrete has more traces of minerals and no fats.
Surprising Benefits of Sweating For Your Skin
Now that I covered the different sweat glands and what they are there for, we can look a little more into the fact that the sweat glands actually help our skin to stay healthy.
Here are 5 benefits from sweating for our skin.
1) Unclog Pores
Our pores clog during the day due to many reasons. Sweating unclogs the pores, taking all the bad stuff out that built up during the day. Sweat cleans your skin up and washes away wastes that you had on your skin.
We all use deodorants, soaps, gels, makeups, creams, lotions, and many other things for various reasons. But these do all clog our pores and makes breathing for our skin more difficult.
But our skin needs to “breathe”, and it does so through perspiration. Sweat is the cleaning agent that pushes the leftovers of all these products out of our pores so our skin can breathe again.
Just be cautious, if you induce sweating through an exercise routine, for example, it is always a good idea to shower before you exercise and shower again right afterward. When we sweat, toxins and chemicals come out of our pores, yet if we do not wash them off, they will “dry” and fall back into the pores, which clogs them again.
Acne is a great example of how sweating unclogs and cleans our skin. Some people think that acne is caused by sweating. Sweat actually fights off acne since it brings fats, sodium, potassium, and other minerals out and detoxes the body. I will discuss the link between sweating and acne further down.
Deodorants and antiperspirants are very well known to clog the pores in our armpits, and since it is an area that is not highly ventilated, chemicals can build up over time. However, sweating can help with it, along with other ways to detox your armpits.
2) Fights Off Bacteria
New studies suggest that sweat contains dermcidin, a natural antibiotic that helps fight off harmful bacteria. In fact, E. Coli and Staphylococcus are among the bacteria that sweat is able to kill before they enter the body.
E. Coli, a bacteria that is normally found in our intestines, helps with digestion. In our digestive tracts, E. Coli is inoffensive, however, a few variations to this bacteria are highly dangerous and can cause many diseases and even death within a short time if left unattended.
The bacteria is mainly found in foods, through which we can get in contact and be infected.
As said, sweat has antibodies that wash away toxins and wastes from your body, all the time protecting your inner organs from dangerous diseases.
3) Exfoliates Skin
Sweat from our eccrine glands contains salts, which help in the process of exfoliating our skin. You can look at it like this: When you shower, you scrub your body to get it clean. During that process, you take impurities out of your skin and make it shine.
Sweat is a free exfoliation tool because of the salts that “scrub” our skin and make it shiny without our help.
Although you cannot compare this to a beauty treatment in the salon, where your skin can be completely exfoliated, sweat certainly helps in the process to help your skin look better.
4) Hydrates Skin
As I mentioned before, sweat regulates our body temperature. So when we sweat, the watery fluid that comes out of the pores hydrates our skin. The salts are like lotion to our skin.
By keeping our skin hydrated, dry skin (known as dermatitis) is prevented.
This is a fact. I have seldom had dry skin and rarely ever used lotion on any part of the body. Since I sweat a lot, especially in my armpits all day long, and over the whole body when being physically active, my skin is always hydrated. And my skin is not oily or fatty, but smooth and clean.
Although I often wish I would not sweat that much, I have observed over the years how people suffer from dry skin and need so many different lotions to prevent painful cracks.
5) Healthy pH factor
The pH of sweat is the same as the pH that our skin should have. Impurities, oils, and specks of dirt are all purged away because of the pH factor that is appropriate for our skin.
Sweat neutralizes our skin, which is prone to all kind of bacteria, chemicals, radiation, and much more. It would be very easy for all these external factors to have a significant influence on our overall health if we would not sweat.
These are 5 great benefits of sweating for your skin. However, there are also some negative traits of sweating for our skin. Let’s have a look at them.
2 Negative Traits Of Sweat For Your Skin
1) Breakouts Could Be Due to Sweating
I stated before that many people relate acne to sweating. This is not the case, however, because a breakout on the skin is often a sign of clogged pores. If you have not sweated for some time, and haven’t rubbed or exfoliated your skin thoroughly, your pores will clog and sweat cannot come through as needed, which can cause an outbreak of acne. This is not the only reason why we get acne, but it plays a role.
Consider exfoliating your skin, and do physical activity to boost your sweat glands and see what happens after some time. As said before, sweat will unclog the pores and clean your skin.
A breakout in our skin is not comfortable at all, it is even embarrassing, so consider taking this small step to change the look of your skin.
2) Sweat That Stays, Harms
If you do not wash your sweat off soon after sweating, everything that was washed away, all the minerals that were secreted, can build upon our skin again and clog the pores that were just unclogged.
If you know that you will be sweating because of physical activity or hot steam in the sauna, consider washing the sweat off as soon as possible.
When sweat is left on for some time, this buildup of minerals in your skin cause irritated skin. A heat rash is not uncommon when sweat is not cleaned up shortly afterward. The components of the secretion from the apocrine glands is a thicker liquid that can certainly cause a rash, especially in sensitive areas like armpits and genitals (perineum).
Also, irritated skin on your forehead and other parts can be very distressing. In my experience, when I sweat heavily around noon due to physical activity, it does not even take till the evening that I get a heat rash if I have not taken the precaution to take a shower.
Heavy sweaters, like I am, sweat a lot naturally, and even more when walking the streets on hot summer days, or taking tours. There are sometimes moments when you cannot do anything about sweating, but you cannot take a shower and before you want it, a heat rash is underway.
In the case of a heat rash, my all-time favorite has been Aveeno’s Body Lotion. With that, in a matter of hours, the heat rash goes away. I take a shower, washing thoroughly with soap and apply Aveeno and the problem is fixed.
What Can You Do To Get The Most Out Of Sweating?
There are some things that you can and should do, so you get the benefits of sweating for your skin.
1) Drink Water
By drinking water during a workout or physical activity of whatever kind, you reduce the chance of irritated skin. Water adds all the above-mentioned minerals to your skin, which helps the pH factor to balance things out.
Also, giving the sweat glands water instead of sweet drinks during the workout, helps the sweat glands to be able to do their job.
Water also balances the sweat odor up to some degree. I have experienced that my sweat has a stronger odor when drinking very little water and vice-versa.
2) Wash Your Skin Before And After Workout
Yes, you should clean your skin, or at least your face before working out. It reduces the buildup of impurities that you may have on your skin and the risk of irritation especially back acne for some people.
You simply take wet wipes or towelettes to clean your face and neck (which are among the sensitive areas of your skin) and freshen it up to prevent further problems.
Cleaning up also includes wiping off makeup. Beauty products clog the pores badly and you do not want that when you sweat. And if you’ve cleaned up, and will be working out in direct sunlight, put on a good sunblock or sunscreen that will protect you from a sunburn.
And don’t forget to shower immediately after heavy sweating. Wash thoroughly with soap and your skin should be OK.
As said before, not cleaning your skin before or after sweating can lead to clogged pores. You want to prevent a buildup of impurities.
3) Give Back To Your Skin
Once you are done showering, put on a pH balanced deodorant or antiperspirant and lotion to replenish your skin.
Deodorants should be ones that do not irritate your skin. Personally, I have an issue with most deodorants since I get a bad rash.
The one that I have used for years which has not caused me irritated skin is Fresh from Arm and Hammer. I have tried so many others but I only use them for a day or two, until I find out that it irritates my skin. I like this one because it has baking soda in it, which is a natural component for reducing sweating.
Also, as said before, lotion is a very important part of keeping your skin from getting irritated by sweating. Use the best lotion available or the ones that you use regularly. That should give your skin the benefits of sweating and not bad things.
As you can see, sweating is beneficial to your skin, but also has a few negative sides. However, you must do your part that you don’t get the negative ones, but only the beneficial ones.
Do you know of any other benefits to sweating? I would love to hear from you. Just leave me a comment to thought below.
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Ready to Make a Change Now?
My name is Oscar and I am the founder and director of Stop-Sweating-Now.com and have been researching and writing about hyperhidrosis for many years.
I have been sweating excessively for the better part of my life. I looked for solutions for well over a decade, but I never found anything that lasted.
It all started when I was around 14 years of age, when I suddenly found out that I was sweating more in my armpits than I should. At first I thought it was something that would go away soon, but I was wrong.
I had given up hope and accepted to live the rest of my life being embarrassed with ugly sweat stains in my armpits.
However, after a few years of not searching for any solutions anymore, I gave it another shot. And I found what finally gave me the freedom I had longed for so many years.
After finding a solution to my problem, I decided it was important to shout out my message to those that are suffering from what I had lived with so many years.
My goal is to help people find their freedom from sweating by sharing my expertise because hyperhidrosis is an underdiagnosed condition.
People don’t know that it is a medical term and can be treated effectively.
That is why I am here: Sharing with you what I know, what works and what does not work.
Want to learn more about what I did? Click below!