Why is sweating so important?

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We spend millions a year trying to stop sweating, but it is much more than a sticky nuisance. Here's why it's time we stopped knocking sweat.

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Hands up who'd forfeit a night with Brad Pitt to never have to suffer sweat patches again. Love it or hate it, sweating is one of the most misunderstood of essential bodily functions.

Believe it or not, to keep healthy and looking good it's vital you get hot and sticky. Part of a finely tuned system, sweating is your body's way of regulating its temperature. Humidity, exercise, stress - anything that makes your core body temperature rise above 37 degrees C - triggers the process.

Where does sweat come from?

On average we produce a litre of the stuff each a day, however the amount depends on how you're feeling and what you're doing.

Most of the energy your muscles use during physical exertion is transferred through the blood and dissipated as heat via evaporation (aka sweating). Covering your body are around 2.5 million sweat glands. Each one acts as a teeny pump drawing off water from nearby capillaries and routing it to the skin which cools it down.

Because sweat comes from the water in our blood it's vital to keep drinking, especially if you're running around.

"If you keep exercising without replacing the fluid lost you'll become more and more dehydrated," warns Dr Samantha Stear, science director of The Sugar Bureau. "Your body temperature will start to rise, you'll feel nauseous and light-headed, and ultimately you'll end up suffering fatigue or worse."

How is it best to prevent dehydration?

Beware of going to the gym the morning after a night out and make a habit of drinking water before, during and after exercise.

Aim to drink roughly 200ml or half a small bottle every 15 minutes of exertion, advises Dr Stear. Frequent. Sipping also minimises the risk of bloating and stomach pain.

The science behind sweating

There are two types of sweat gland. Most are the smaller ecrine glands which are scattered throughout the body and keep it from overheating. Pack them into a ball and apparently they'd weigh about a quarter of a pound.

Apocrine glands, on the other hand, are mainly found on your hairy parts, and secrete pheromones - those smart sex chemicals that help us attract the fellas. Since the longer you don't wash the more pheromones produced, a man could be forgiven for trying to make himself more attractive by avoiding the shower.

Sweating is great for your health

Recent research by scientists in Germany reveals that sweating is also an essential part of the body's defence against bacteria. Sweat, they say, contains a natural antibiotic - dermicidin - that helps destroy harmful bacteria (including the potentially lethal bug E.coli) on the skin.

Any tips on dealing with sweat? Tweet us @handbagcom

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