Home Curiosity The Science Behind Sweat and Why Antiperspirants Work 

The Science Behind Sweat and Why Antiperspirants Work 


Do you know those hot days of summer when the sun seems to hit you right in the middle of your head? Most of the world’s population is familiar with summer heat, which means that they’re also familiar with sweat.

In fact, sweat seems to show up every time we’re out of our comfort zone. And it’s absolutely natural. In most situations, sweat is our system’s way of cooling us down during strenuous physical activities but it can also show up when we’re feeling anxious, when running a fever, or when we’re scared or in pain. 

While most human beings are used to sweating, it’s not the most pleasant thing in the world. In addition, there’s a condition called hyperhidrosis, where the sweat glands are overactive, producing sweat in unnatural amounts and for no apparent reason. 

So how does sweat work and why do we need to endure through it?

Sweat as a Natural Phenomenon

While no one likes to be sweaty or worse, touch someone who is sweating, it’s still a vital process in the human body. Its main job is to regulate body temperature and eliminate toxins in order to keep all the systems functional at optimal parameters. 

The human body has two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine glands are all over our skin and secrete salt and water (odorless) while apocrine glands are on the armpit and groin area and secrete a thicker, fatty type of sweat.  

Now, neither type of sweat is smelly from the get go, but apocrine glands are placed in areas where bacteria live on the skin. And bacteria love consuming fatty sweat, which produces a type of acid, that creates the well-known smell we all associate with sweat. 

And this is where the industry of deodorants and antiperspirants comes into play. 

Why Do Antiperspirants Work?

While antiperspirants are designed to temporarily block the sweat glands from producing sweat, it’s important to specify that normal products won’t be helpful to someone who suffers from hyperhidrosis. 

For these situations, there is a different type of product that’s more potent (like the ones mentioned in this Drysol versus Certain Dri article). 

The difference between antiperspirants and deodorants stands in the effect at skin level. Deodorants are designed to stop bacteria fermentation (the process that eliminates the odor) while antiperspirants have an extra function – keeping the area dry. 

As you can imagine, deodorants and antiperspirants have a different chemical composition, which is why it’s important to know which one’s best for your needs. 

Is It Healthy to Use Antiperspirant & Deodorants?

While it’s true there have been some health concerns regarding some of these products, most deodorants and antiperspirants nowadays don’t pose any threats. Still, if your sweat is more about emotions (such as anxiety or nervousness), you may want to try alternative treatment methods.

Overall, sweat is natural and everyone has gone through one or two embarrassing moments because of it. Still, in today’s society, it is important to keep body odor under control with impeccable hygiene and products designed to eliminate the smell.