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Stress Sweat vs. Gym Sweat: Which Stinks More?

by Style Team
31 Jul 2017 | 2:10 PM

While sweating is a normal biological function, many people aren't aware that stress sweat is different from the perspiration secreted by the glands during a hot sunny day or a 30-minute workout at the gym. Stress is the lesser-known cause of sweat.

Everyone has encountered a stressful situation at least once in their lives. Remember your first date? How about the last time your boss gave you an unreasonable deadline to submit a report? Your body probably reacted to the situation by releasing stress sweat. Sweating due to prolonged exposure to heat or due to exercise, however, is a different thing.

Learn the difference between the two types of sweat and what you can do to deal with the stinky one.

Gym Sweat

Your body heats up during exercise or other physical activities that involve constant movement. When your body is hot, the eccrine glands secrete sweat, affecting most of your body. Perspiration is the body's way of cooling down. Regular or gym sweat contains water, salt and potassium.

Stress Sweat

Stressful situations sometimes cause you to sweat unexpectedly. While this is normal, the situation worsens when sweating goes out of control. Stress can act as an effective motivator, fueling the spark of achievement. You become more creative and productive due to pressure. Excessive sweating, however, makes you uncomfortable, less confident, or worse - stinky.

The body reacts to certain emotions, such as anxiety, excitement, and stress by releasing more hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Other reactions include increased muscle tension and heart rate. That rush of adrenaline may also cause your body, particularly the apocrine glands, to release, believe it or not, a milkier sweat. These glands can be found around the groin, on the scalp, and under the arms. Research shows that stress sweat smells worse than sweat from workout or any other causes.

Why Are They Different?

Gym sweat, though plentiful, doesn't smell as bad, as it primarily contains a combination of water, salt, and potassium. While gym sweat is secreted by glands all over your body to help everything cool down, stress sweat is produced only by the glands in your armpits and groin, areas swimming with bacteria.

What Causes the Stink?

Stress sweat is initially odorless, but it doesn't evaporate quickly because it is milkier, thicker and contains fatty acids and proteins - food for bacteria. A foul odor develops when bacteria feed on the nutrients and multiply.

Your body produces more sweat in stressful situations. See those wet marks under your jacket? Your underarms alone can sweat 30 times more than when you're in a normal or relaxed situation. More stress sweat means more food for bacteria, and certainly more "dyahe" or embarrassing moments.

Wet, stinky underarms can affect different aspects of your life and personality. If you're not getting the attention you want from others, particularly women, you know why. A recent study revealed that when you sweat due to stress, others can smell it on you and might think you're less confident, competent, and trustworthy. This shows that the way you smell affects people's perception of you.

Dealing With Stress - Use Deodorants

There are multiple ways to deal with or reduce stress. The best way would be to use an antiperspirant deodorant. A deodorant helps to reduce odor from stress sweat in two ways. First, remember the bacteria that feed on your sweat? Your deodorant kills them. Second, deodorants reduce the amount you sweat. They contain an active ingredient (usually an aluminum compound) that reacts with the electrolytes in your sweat, creating a gel that blocks your sweat glands from secreting sweat onto the skin. You sweat less, you smell less. For a fresher feeling and a boost in confidence, choose a product that contains natural and subtle fragrances.

Exercise, meditation, and therapy are alternative effective ways to relieve stress. Breathing exercises and conscious relaxation techniques can also help. That way you reduce your stress levels when put in difficult situations, and thus sweat less. Say goodbye to stress sweat!

Not all sweat is equal. Sweating is normal, and actually good for your body to regulate your internal temperature. But if you're a 'stress sweater', you must take action to avoid the stink and the wet spots on your shirt, and build a more confident you altogether.