It's Time We Had a Chat: The Stigma Around Sweat
When did we forget that sweating is an essential function of all of our bodies to control our body temperature?
Let's start by recognising a simple, yet important reality: the stigma around sweat doesn’t really make much sense.
Yes, I know what you’re going to say: we’re self-conscious about smelling bad. And that’s totally fair enough, I can attest to that. But even at times when I KNOW I’m not smelly, I have still been super self-conscious about the look of sweat. Yep – sweat patches.
One of the craziest things to me is that we get so anxious about having visible sweat patches anywhere on our bodies, especially when we’re at the gym. But that’s what the gym is for, isn’t it?! Everyone’s there to work hard and each person knows that hard work goes hand-in-hand with perspiration – yet we’re still scared to visibly break a sweat in a place built for such a thing!
So, I had a thought: maybe if we all took the time to learn a little more about sweat and sweating, then perhaps we could reduce our nerves and the stigma around sweat patches.
IS SWEATING JUST AN ARMPIT-CONCENTRATED THING?
The most common areas of sweating on your body include:
- Your armpits (duh)
- Your face
- The palms of your hands
- And the soles of your feet
And your body sweats from two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine sweat glands, in order to help regulate your body’s temperature.
Eccrine sweat glands are located all over your body and are responsible for producing more of a lightweight sweat. Whereas your apocrine sweat glands are located in the hair follicles of your scalp, armpits and groin, and produce a heavier sweat.
So essentially, we have sweat glands ALL OVER OUR BODY – and this is for a very important purpose.
So yes, this means that we might be able to see some sweat patches from time-to-time on our back, in-between our thighs and most commonly in and around our armpits, but it’s hardly something we should be ashamed about. This is simply just your body kicking ass at an essential bodily process.
OKAY, WE GET IT – WE’RE GOING TO SWEAT. BUT HOW DO WE STOP THE SMELL?
I’m glad you asked.
Sweat itself doesn’t have a smell. It’s when it comes into contact with the bacteria on your skin that you recognise the smell we identify as “body odour”.
So, that’s why Natural Approach deodorant contains ingredients such as certified organic coconut oil, certified organic shea butter and organic sodium bicarbonate or magnesium hydroxide. These ingredients work with your body, and target the bacteria on your skin, rather than trying to work against your body’s natural processes – which is the goal of antiperspirants (they essentially just plug your sweat glands, ew).
In addition to an effective deodorant, choosing the right materials to wear can make a huge difference to how you smell. Try natural fabrics like cotton that don’t hold onto smell like synthetic fabrics do (you can read more about this in another one of our blogs).
So what should you take away from this article:
⇢ Sweating is a normal, everyday function that we all do to help regulate our body temperature
⇢ We can sweat from anywhere on our bodies (yep – that’s how important it is)
⇢ Don’t work against yourself – there’s no treatment or remedy for an essential function, but there are simple ways to keep you feeling comfortable and confident all day, every day
Most importantly, never be too harsh on yourself or someone else. Don’t let the fear of some sweat marks hold you back in your next killer workout. Simply work with your body and appreciate what it can do for you.
And if you’re concerned about the smell, opt for a natural deodorant like Natural Approach which is designed to eliminate odour at the source - working cooperatively with your body.