Humans sweat for various reasons, whether it's due to exercise, balmy weather, labor-intensive activity, a pre-existing condition like hyperhidrosis, going through menopause or even nerves and anxiety. All that said, sweating is primarily the body's natural way of thermoregulation to prevent overheating; prolonged exposure to heat can elevate a person's core body temperature, inducing heat exhaustion or even a heatstroke.
But there are many misconceptions about sweat, from its purported benefits to hindrances. Here are five things you should know about sweat.
1. If you intend to "release toxins" while steaming in a sauna or taking a hot yoga class, hate to break it to you, but...
Sweating and sweat glands have almost nothing to do with it, according to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; your kidney and liver are mainly responsible for filtering toxins from your body.
2. Though exercise and sweating go hand-in-hand, sweating more doesn't necessarily mean you're losing more weight.
Or at least not the type of weight loss you're probably thinking when you're trying to become fitter. When you sweat, you're primarily losing water weight instead of fat, according to Demand Media.
3. Sweat doesn't stink — you do!
Sweat is technically odorless; it's only when sweat comes into contact with the bacteria on your skin that it starts stinking, according to Mayo Clinic.
4. In the same vein: Sweat doesn't stain shirts — you do!
Sweat is also technically clear; it's when your body's skin bacteria breaks down sweat's oils and fats that it begins imparting that dingy yellow hue on your white undershirts, according to Livestrong.
5. Blame hormones, oil and dirt for your acne, not sweat.
Pimples occur when your pores get clogged with oil, not sweat, and their surroundings become inflamed, according to WebMD. However, sweating can inadvertently attract dirt because it's more likely to stick on moist skin, possibly leading to clogged pores and acne, according to HowStuffWorks.