I want to make the case for sweating being a desirable and healthy, good thing. Once you begin to understand the importance of sweating to your overall health, and the dangerous health risks you take when you try to prevent or avoid sweating, I think that you will come to agree.
There is nothing more natural to the human condition than sweating. It has kept the human body cool since the very beginning, preventing dangerous overheating, while providing one of the major pathways for ridding the body of biological toxins and impurities. Yet modern humans seem to want to deny the fact that sweat just naturally streams out of the pores that cover our skin – and this aversion to sweating is a rather recent social development!
We humans have openly and freely perspired for all of our history as a species. Of course, the hygienic standards of many of our distant ancestors would seem appalling to our modern civilized sensibilities. No doubt, their everyday body odor would probably send most of us running to get as far away as possible from their presence. Their own ability to socially tolerate this odoriferous condition was probably due to the tendency of people to be unaware of the degree of their own odor, or the odor of others that is similar in strength to their own. Think of it like eating garlic in a room full of garlic eaters.
But, now, let us fast forward to modern times. Commercial advertising around the beginning of the twentieth century was greatly responsible for trying to convince the masses that B.O. (body odor) was something to prevent, or get rid of if you already had it. And, just like the difficulty most people have assessing the quality of their own breath, it wasn’t possible by one’s own sense of smell to tell how bad your own B.O. was. This made it easy for advertisers to begin preying on people’s self-doubt and self-consciousness and create the concern of not wanting to unknowingly offend others. Marketers then rushed to the rescue with a plethora of underarm deodorants, deodorant soaps and other deodorizing products laced with antibacterial chemicals and ingredients to help cure the problem. Human civilization had been saved from the sin of smelling bad by the miracle of modern science.
Now, the truth is that human perspiration is relatively odorless until it begins to ferment on the skin and body hair with the help of bacteria that thrive in humid places like our underarms. These bacteria are the culprits responsible for the unpleasant body odors we have come to associate with sweating. So it is not the control of perspiration that is needed to keep us smelling our best, but the control of the bacteria that thrive in the sweaty wetness on our skin. But marketers and advertisers wanted to up the ante and outdo each other to sell us more of their products – so they invented a new strategy. They set out to convince everyone that wetness from perspiration was synonymous with bad body odor. With new, stronger chemicals like Aluminum Zirconium and Aluminum Chlorohydrate, manufacturers were now able to make antiperspirants that actually turned off the waterworks and prevented the sweat glands from perspiring.
The Truth About Sweat
Although we have been constantly bombarded by a thousand advertisements telling us that sweating is bad and that we want to stay dry, Dry, DRY, we actually want to sweat in order to help us stay as healthy as possible. The skin is one of the largest elimination organs of the body and is responsible for eliminating 30% of the toxins our internal systems have to get rid of. The underarm area has more sweat glands than many other areas of our body. This area is also filled with clusters of lymph nodes. The Lymphatic system is a key component of our Immune System and is responsible for fighting disease of all sorts and ridding the body of the toxins and pathogens that rob us of our health. To do this effectively, it is essential that the toxins be eliminated out of the body – and sweat is one of the main means that has been divinely designed into our body for that purpose.
Now that you know, what should you do?
For the sake of your health, you should immediately Stop Using Antiperspirants! Instead, you should find a good Deodorant product, especially one based on natural ingredients that controls bacteria and odors, but doesn’t clog pores or stop sweat glands from sweating. Now, it will take you a while to come back to a natural balance under your arms. There will be a period in which your body has to purge the chemicals that have become lodged in the glands and tissues under your arms from using antiperspirants. Many people have mistakenly blamed yellowish underarm stains on light clothing as the fault of sweat itself. In actuality, it is the reaction of sweat on antiperspirant chemicals that causes the yellow stains. Just be patient and give things a bit of time to correct and return to a healthy state of balance. The jury is still out on whether the Aluminum in antiperspirants formulas is a major health danger, but every bit of free Aluminum that gets into the body becomes one more straw on the proverbial camel’s back, so why risk it? Aluminum Chlorohydrate and Aluminum Zirconium, very common active ingredients used in antiperspirants, are actually suspected of being a neurotoxin that alters the function of the blood-brain barrier. These Aluminum ingredients might also cause Estrogen-like effects on body tissues. If you are a woman, do you want that going on near your breasts? And we do know that the Aluminum-based chemicals in antiperspirants are responsible for physically clogging and stopping the sweat glands from functioning normally, so Just Say No to antiperspirants and pick an effective, safer deodorant instead.
So what is a safer choice?
You may need to experiment to find a safe and effective deodorant product that is right for you. At the very least, just picking an over-the-counter deodorant instead of an antiperspirants will be a big improvement in favor of better health by not plugging and backing up the sweat glands. If you are a guy, or just sweat like a guy, you might find Degree Deodorant with Silver Ion Technology effective. It’s not a natural ingredient-based formula, but there are no nasty antiperspirant chemicals to plug your pores. And there are lots of more-natural alternative deodorants out there to try like the popular Crystal Deodorants, or many brands of natural formula deodorants based on essential oils, and even home remedy alternatives like using simple, inexpensive Baking Soda. The Crystal Deodorants are effective at controlling odors while still allowing perspiring. They are usually made from Alum, also known as Potassium Aluminum Sulfate – that’s right, they do contain Aluminum. Their manufacturers claim that Alum is a mineral salt with molecules that are too large to be absorbed into the skin and is not a source of free Aluminum that can penetrate into your system. Moistened with water and rubbed under the arm, the crystal leaves a surface film of salts that works topically on the skin to inhibit odor-causing bacteria.
There are also many natural formula deodorants available that utilize essential oils to control odors. Avalon Organics® makes a line of natural deodorant sprays containing various blends of essential oils that smell fantastic and get very high praise for their effectiveness at fighting odor. With sensational scents like Rosemary & Peppermint, Grapefruit & Geranium, Clary Sage & Lemon, and Lavender, there seems to be something that will appeal to everybody. They are a little more expensive than other brands, but are very high quality natural formulas. You can get a great price for them online at Mother Nature – Get 50 – 75% off Retail Prices at MotherNature.com. They also have lots of other natural deodorants to choose from, including the Crystal Deodorant mentioned above.
Another alternative natural deodorant that almost everyone already has in their home is simple, pure Baking Soda, also known as Sodium Bicarbonate. Many people swear by its use and effectiveness in keeping them smelling fresh all day. You can simply apply some under your arms after showering or bathing, or use a makeup brush to lightly apply it. Some people mix it with Corn Starch or, even better, Arrowroot Starch (1 part soda to 4-6 parts starch) and, again, apply it easily with the aid of a makeup-style brush or a cotton ball. Arm & Hammer® claim at their website that Baking Soda absorbs the odors, much like it does when you leave an open box in your refrigerator. There might also be some interaction of the sodium salts in the soda against the bacteria. Anyway, give it a try to see if it works for you.
Now, Lighten Up About A Little Healthy Wetness!
We are not talking about going totally “Hippy” here, but you will be outside the mindless pack when you have a wet spot on your clothing under your arms on a hot day. Just get over it! Do you really care what those who know nothing of the health consequences think of you? The guy or gal you meet who is not offended by it is probably a lot less shallow and more worth knowing than those who judge people by such superficial standards as whether their pits are dry or not. Humans are not sweat-less mannequins! And those who try to be may unfortunately pay for their vanity some day in a way that you can avoid. So go forth and sweat freely the way God intended you to. Just pick an effective, natural deodorant strategy that keeps you smelling fresh while you do it. Stay happy – stay healthy!
P.S. – This article addresses acceptance of normal sweating as a healthy and desirable thing. There is a medical condition known as Hyperhidrosis in which a person has abnormally excessive sweating, with amounts far beyond what the body normally produces to cool itself. This condition can have underlying health causes and effects that should be addressed with the advice of a qualified health practitioner.