All The Amazing & Unexpected Things Sweat Is Doing For Your Skin

by Lauren Sharkey
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Sweating can feel horrible, it's true. And after experiencing weeks and weeks of it from the comforts of my own home, I've pretty much had enough. However, sweating isn't all bad. Yes, it can make you long for a cold shower and that feeling of dry, crisp, clean clothes. And yes, too much of it can cause breakouts. But is sweating good for your skin? Turns out it can be, in more ways than one.

First of all, here's a quick science lesson on what sweat actually is. Sweating is when a salty liquid is released from the sweat glands. The whole reason it exists is to cool down the body, hence why you only sweat in hot temperatures. According to the National Library of Medicine, the average person has between two and four million sweat glands on their body. So quite a lot then.

While sweat unclogs your pores, leaving it to pool on your face will only clog those things straight back up again, potentially causing unwanted spots. This may automatically put sweat in your bad books but as I'm going to show, the process is actually more beneficial for your skin than you might have realised.

Here's just some of the things that sweat can do for your skin.


It Protects Your Skin From Nasty Bacteria

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When you sweat, your body naturally produces an antibiotic called dermcidin. A 2013 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that this antibiotic works to protect the skin from bacteria like E. coli and bugs like tuberculosis by killing it immediately upon contact.

It's much more efficient than medical antibiotics as bacteria cannot develop a resistance to it and it can also kill off fungi too. Neat, huh.


It Hydrates Your Skin


Dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz told Refinery29 that sweat "works as a moisturiser." How? As another dermatologist Dr. Doris Day explains, sweat excretes and produces two important things: urea and sebum. Urea acts as a natural moisturiser for the skin while sebum is a "fatty substance that is your skin's built-in moisturiser."

Does that mean I can throw away all of my skincare in the summer? Because I'm ready and willing.


It Can Prevent Spots

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This is the one that will make everyone pay attention. Although I've already said that sweat can be the cause of spots, it can also work as a great prevention method for the annoying things too.

Sweat can improve your overall complexion by acting "as a barrier" to outside bacteria using the aforementioned dermcidin, dermatologist Dr. Neil Sadick told Women's Health. The way to stop it causing spots is simply to give your face a good cleanse after sweating profusely which in this weather will be approximately 325 times a day.


It's A Great Detox Method


Whenever I hear the word detox, I automatically think of a horrible diet that involves swapping nice-tasting food for lots of flavourless stuff.

But did you know that sweat can actually provide the same effect as a cleanse? Every time you sweat, your body flushes out toxins and substances like alcohol, salt, and cholesterol, dermatologist Dr. Adebola Dele-Michael explained to Medical Daily. This effectively acts as a purge that will leave you with that glow everyone's clamouring after.


It Helps Wounds Heal

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Cut yourself shaving? Or just generally clumsy like me? Your legs are probably covered in cuts and bruises. Other than being a bit of a pain, they're obviously not anything to worry about.

But a bit of sweat can help speed the healing process up. Certain sweat glands (known as eccrine glands) have been found to contain four different types of stem cells, according to a 2012 study published in the journal Cell. These cells promote the skin's regenerative capabilities, getting rid of those red marks before you can say bye bye.


OK, so maybe I won't mind sweating quite so much now. Just maybe.