8 Ways Everybody's Sweat Is Different

Whether we are fighting through the balmy summer heat or a particularly challenging gym sesh, our body will deploy its secret weapon: Sweat. Whenever your internal temperature rises, the two to five million (averaging at 2.6 million) tiny glands that cover your skin activate and release perspiration. Some of the liquid will evaporate from your skin, cooling you down, our body's A/C system. Not only is it natural, but way more economical than any alternatives (like carrying around a tiny fan everywhere).

Another great thing about sweat: we all do it. If you have ever ruined a nice white dress by staining the underarms yellow on a first date — you're definitely not alone. Sweat is necessary to the human body's regulation, and we should be praising it! Though, if you have ever been trapped in a room of teenagers with the windows closed, I understand that may be hard to do.

But just 'cause we all perspire, doesn't mean that we do it exactly the same way. Our gender, how much we exercise, how much we drink, among other things can change the amount of sweat we produce. The sweat itself is not necessarily unique, but the state of our body can change it.

So next time you reach for the deodorant, remember these interesting facts about what makes your sweat special:

1. Men And Women Sweat Differently

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Walk down any deodorant aisle and you'll notice a pretty clear gap between what's branded "for men" and "for women" — but is it really necessary for a woman to use Secret and a man to use Old Spice? Men will always sweat more profusely than women, says The New York Times. Some scientists hypothesize that this is an evolutionary response. They believe that during our phase as hunter-gatherers, women sought out shade during hot whether, sweating less than their male counterparts and thus preserving precious body fluids.

2. How Much You Exercise Regularly Changes How Much You Sweat

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Who's the sweatiest of them all? According to researchers at Osaka International University and Kobe University in Japan, men who are physically fit produce the most sweat. These men sweat far more than physically trained women — though both genders have the same number of sweat glands activate during exercise.

Women who are generally sedentary sweat the least while exercising strenuously. However, though this may seem great if you don’t like to shower after the gym, it’s actually not physically beneficial. If you hold off on sweating, the body’s temperature rises and you become hotter before perspiring fully — making it super hard to get through a hour-long spin class. The more fit a person is, the sooner you sweat during your workout, keeping your core temperature lower longer.

3. You Can Sweat Just From Getting Mad

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Elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol can increase your blood pressure and heart rate. Your body temperature rises as a result of this fiery emotion. Steam may not actually shoot out of your ears like in the cartoons, but you may perspire quite a bit!

4. Emotional Sweat Is Released Differently

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Emotional sweat activates the eccrine glands on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. The sweat glands are grouped densely on those areas, and the sweat produced can be a visual cue to others of these uncomfortable feelings. However, some studies also suggest that merely the scent of the stress sweat could subconsciously communicate the emotions on some level — be it anxiety, fear, disgust, or shame.

5. Pee And Sweat Have Things In Common

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While sweat is mostly composed of water, it does also contain minerals like sodium and potassium, lactic acid, and a very small amount of metals like zinc and nickel. Sweat also contains the chemical compound urea, after which urine is named. According to some homeopaths, the compound is even good for the skin and works as a natural moisturizer. Of course, we excrete most of this by-product when we use the bathroom, but a very small percentage also comes out in our sweat. This does not however, make our sweat dirty or smelly. Sweat, in fact, has no smell. Only after mingling with whatever bacteria is on the skin is that body odor noticeable.

6. Coffee Can Make You Sweat

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The caffeine in coffee stimulates the central nervous system, giving you that needed boost of energy, and kicking your sweat glands into action as well. Even the very heat radiating from the java can raise your body temperature, and make you sweat more. This is not a common side effect, and unless you are sensitive to caffeine, if you keep your intake to 300 milligrams a day (like three cups of coffee) and you'll be fine. If you are a four-cup-a-day person, you may be glistening much more than an Earl Grey devotee.

7. Some People May Naturally Sweat Too Much

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The condition Hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating, is said to effect approximately two to three percent of Americans. The overactive glands either in the underarms or palms of the hand and soles of the feet are in some triggered by emotions or hot weather, or sometimes a person with this disorder will sweat regardless of stimuli. There are many treatment options to minimize sweating from prescription strength deodorants, to botox injections, and oral medications.

8. Smoking And Alcohol Can Make You Sweat More

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Once you are a few martinis in, you may notice that the rosy glow turns to all out dripping sweat pretty quickly. Alcohol acts as a vasodilator, widening the blood vessels near the surface, helping along the sweating process. A similar dilation happens when you work out and decreases your core temperature. Alcohol can also lead to night sweats, which will leave you tossing and turning in wet sheets.

If you need another reason to kick your smoking habit, think of your sweat. Cigarettes can cause an increase in perspiration when the nicotine leads your body to release the chemical acetylcholine, raising the heart rate and blood pressure and body temperature. Staying cool is just one of the many health benefits of quitting.

Images: Jez_Timms/Unsplash, giphy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)