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Sweat 101

01 The Basics

Why Do We Sweat?

Stress, hormones, emotions, and physical activity or exercise activate sweat glands. When this happens, the brain sends a message to the body telling it to cool you off with your body’s natural coolant—sweat. It’s your body’s way of maintaining your core temperature.
Find out more about why we sweat from WebMD.

02

I SWEAT A LOT. IS THAT NORMAL?

In some people, the sweat glands overreact to stimuli and produce more sweat than your body needs.
Find out more about excessive sweating at WebMD.

03

HOW DOES ANTIPERSPIRANT WORK?

Antiperspirants act by plugging the sweat duct, thus reducing wetness. Because perspiration stimulates odor-causing bacteria, antiperspirant also helps reduce body odor. See this explanation from WebMD on Active Ingredients in Antiperspirants.

04

WHAT CAUSES UNDERARM ODOR?

Perspiration itself is essentially odorless and evaporates readily. However, in areas like underarms, where perspiration can't readily evaporate, it causes the feeling of wetness. Bacteria, which thrive in warm and moist surroundings, break down the perspiration and create underarm odor.

05

HOW DO DEODORANTS WORK?

Unlike antiperspirants, deodorants don’t reduce wetness; they help reduce the bacteria that thrive in perspiration and cause the odor. By doing this, deodorants cover up underarm odor. Additionally, most deodorants are scented to also fight odor.

06

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
ANTIPERSPIRANTS AND DEODORANT?

Deodorants help control odor primarily by masking the underarm odor caused by the bacteria interacting with perspiration and also by reducing odor-causing bacteria. It’s actually these bacteria, not the wetness, which causes the odor. Antiperspirants help control wetness, and thereby odor, by slowing the flow of perspiration to the surface of the skin.

More Info

EXCESSIVE SWEATING

When the sweat doesn't stop.

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TIPS FOR MOMS

Time for your daughter to wear antiperspirant?

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JUST FOR TEENS

Don't let sweat cause you stress.

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WebMD ON SWEAT

See what experts are saying.

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