Sweat – A necessary bodily function?

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Sweating can be uncomfortable, especially during a job interview, a presentation, or even a romantic encounter. Notwithstanding the considerable discomfort linked to this biological phenomenon, sweat pores open up and ooze their liquids any time emotions run high. But where exactly does sweat come from?

Sweat is secreted by two types of gland: the eccrine and apocrine glands. These are found all over the body and release sweat on to the surface of the skin via tiny openings: the pores.

Sweat contains mineral salts – mainly sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. It also contains other substances such as fats and lactic acid. The latter is produced during exertion and can attract mosquitoes.

Perspiring or sweating is essential to a person’s well being. Through absorption and evaporation, sweating acts as a thermostat, enabling our bodies to maintain a temperature of around 37°C, making the aqueous, salty, colourless liquid that tends to appear at the most inconvenient moments of extreme importance.

The not-so-nice odour associated with sweat is as a result of microbial breakdown of toxins it habours. These toxins are expelled by the body and need to be eliminated, and using anti-perspirants is not such a nice thing for the body.

However, it should be noted that there is no reason not to use a deodorant to combat this microbial proliferation.

Sweat is often perceived as something dirty, mainly because of the odour associated with it and the marks it leaves under the armpits.

In fact, sweating is an essential physiological function that helps us to regulate the temperature of our body. The only thing dirty about it is not showering after perspiring and not changing into clean clothes.

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