Only ‘Nervous’ Sweat Stinks

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Sweat that is produced by the body during physical activity does not emit any unpleasant smell – it appears in a completely different form of perspiration.

Stressed Woman Chewing Her Laptop

Sweating during Physical Activity

Sweat that we are covered with in summer or during exercise is part of the natural thermoregulation of the human body. It is produced by eccrine sweat glands, which are more or less evenly distributed on the human body. This sweat is a completely transparent aqueous solution of various salts and organic substances, and it is completely devoid of any smell. However, this is not the reason to enjoy your “freshness”: when the moisture gets mixed with particles of skin lipids, it produces a breeding ground for bacteria, which begin to actively proliferate. Thus, in some period of time the smell will surely appear.

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Sweating When Nervous

In addition, there is another kind of sweating that instantly produces an unpleasant smell. It appears in the situations when a person begins to worry. It is usually described by the expression “cold sweat.” Such nervous or emotional sweating is produced by the apocrine sweat glands, and not the eccrine ones. They are located in the hairy parts of the body and produce a milky secretion that is especially favorable for the rapid, almost explosive growth of bacteria. As a result, there is a very distinct smell of nervous sweating. Unfortunately, this type of sweat is impossible to control.

Such an unpleasant phenomenon has a specific physiological sense.

Why Does Sweat Stink?

Smells are known to play a huge role in the life of living beings, including human beings. This can also be applied to human body odors. Very often smells are the source of very important information that is perceived by intuition, in case of stressful sweating as well. It has been discovered recently that the smell of sweating activates a specific area of ​​the brain responsible for emotions. The experiments, conducted by American scientists, demonstrated that the volunteers, who were exposed to the smell of nervous sweat, coped with the tasks better than those who solved the problem under the influence of thermal sweat. The American scientists found out that this sweat can perform a signaling function. Over the centuries, it must have been the way to inform our remote ancestors about the danger that their kinsman faced. This signal increased their readiness to respond to stress.

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The Sweating & Body Odor Problem

However, our life has changed dramatically since then, and we prefer to warn each other about danger, using other signaling systems. But the body has not been reconstructed, and stress sweating has not been canceled: atavistic mechanisms disappear very, very slowly. Though sweating is natural, the smell of sweat in society is not accepted today: if a person suspects that he/she smells, it causes the feeling of extreme discomfort. The problem is that you cannot predict when you may get into some stressful situation, and so you cannot prevent perspiration – it is an uncontrolled reaction. One can only prevent the occurrence of unpleasant smells with the help of a deodorant, which is designed for any situation, including stressful ones.