The hot weather is here and sweating may be troublesome to some people, especially those working outdoors or in enclosed spaces without air-conditioning. Sweat you must, because it is the body’s way of regulating temperature, but you need not be smelly.
We all sweat a little more in hot weather and most of us worry about the smell that comes with dry sweat on our bodies and clothes. While you may need a few products to keep you sweat free, there are many ways you can control body sweat naturally. Following are a few tips on natural ways to stay sweat free but first let us understand why you sweat.
Our bodies contain three to four million-sweat glands. Sweating is the natural way of controlling body temperature when it’s hot, as the sweat cools the skin’s surface. Fresh sweat does not smell. The smell occurs when bacteria living on the skin break the sweat down. The sweat glands in the armpit and groin area produce proteins that are easier for bacteria to break down, which is why these areas smell faster than other areas of the body after you sweat.
Certain medical conditions can also make you sweat. For example, an overactive thyroid, certain infections and diabetes, can all cause excessive sweating. Particular foods can cause smelly sweat too; garlic and spicy foods are major culprits. A sluggish liver may also be to blame. If the liver is struggling to clear body toxins, some will be dealt with elsewhere in the body, producing stronger body odour. Drinking plenty of water and taking the herb milk thistle, can help improve liver function.
The main problem areas with sweat are underarms, the groin region and feet. We look at ways of controlling sweat in these areas.
Underarms.Washing your armpits will get rid of bacteria, while shaving them helps sweat evaporate quickly, giving bacteria less time to break it down. It is recommended you keep your underarms clean of hair through regular shaving, waxing or using depilatory creams. Using a deodorant may be a better choice than an antiperspirant, as it is not designed to block pores or prevent the production of sweat. There are also concerns about a link between aluminum salts used in these products and breast cancer, and while there is no conclusive evidence of this link, you should still go for deodorants instead of antiperspirants. You can also make a natural deodorant from your kitchen. Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda into the armpit, or rub diluted cider vinegar onto the skin.
The groin area. Many women worry about vaginal odour but, unless you have an infection, there shouldn’t be any noticeable smell. But thrush or bacterial vaginosis can produce a fishy odour, and there may be an unusual discharge. You should avoid using scented feminine wipes, soaps or douching, as chemicals in these products can trigger infection. Wear underwear made from natural fibres such as cotton, and avoid stockings and tight trousers. Also, take regular breaks from your work or get out of the car if driving for long to help the air circulate. Taking a bath or shower in the morning and night keeps the vaginal area free of body odours. You should take more care during your period by ensuring that you change sanitary towels or tampons and shower as often as necessary. Observing proper hygiene around the vaginal area is crucial if you want to smell sweet at all times.
Feet. Feet are prone to sweating as they are often wrapped up in socks and closed shoes. The warm, moist environment in shoes allows bacteria to grow. You should dry your feet vigorously after a bath or shower and go bare foot when you can. Preferably wear sandals during the hot weather. Shoes take up to 48 hours to dry out, so change them regularly. If you are prone to heavy sweating on feet, try a foot spray before slipping into shoes. Some foot sprays have anti-bacterial properties that leave feet feeling fresh and clean. If you must wear socks, choose cotton ones or those with a silver lining as these help eliminate bacteria.
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Published in Feb 2012 Issue