Sweating (Perspiration) FAQs
Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Take the Sweating (Perspiration) Quiz First! Before reading this FAQ, challenge yourself and Test your Knowledge!
Q:Sweat is odorless. True or False?
A:True. Sweat itself has no odor. Odor is the result of a combination of sweat and bacteria contained in a dark and moist environment, like an armpit or feet enclosed in footwear.
Q:Sweat serves no purpose. True or False?
A:False. Perspiration serves at least two purposes:
Q:Deodorant and antiperspirant are one and the same. True or False?
A:False. Antiperspirant and deodorant are not one and the same. Antiperspirants feature a chemical barrier that helps to prevent excessive sweating under the armpits. Deodorant helps to combat body odor caused by sweating by masking it with fragrance. Antiperspirants and deodorants are commonly sold in combination as a single product to reduce sweating and dilute odor.
Q:Antiperspirants and deodorants are just as effective when applied to an unwashed area. True or False?
A:False. Applying antiperspirants and deodorants to an unwashed skin does very little to control odor. It is always best to start with a blank hygienic slate (such as washing well with soap and drying the area completely) and then apply an antiperspirant/deodorant combination product to minimize the sweating and odor.
Q:What is the medical term for body odor?
A:Bromhidrosis is the medical term for body odor.
Q:What is hyperhidrosis?
A:Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating.
Q:What is a common complication of hyperhidrosis?
A:Athlete's foot is a common complication of hyperhidrosis.
Q:How many sweat glands do humans have?
A:Most humans have 2 to 4 million sweat glands!
Q:Where are eccrine sweat glands found?
A:eccrine sweat glands are found in the chest, head, neck, groin, back, thighs, palms, face, feet, and armpits.
Q:What stimulates apocrine glands?
A:Embarrassment, anger, and fear stimulate apocrine glands.
Q:Chemicals in sweat can fight many types of bacteria. True or False?
A:True. Sweat contains fatty acids and mineral matter as well as a potent anti-infective agent dubbed dermicidin. The first antimicrobial agent discovered that is produced by cells in the skin, dermicidin is active against many different types of bacteria, including Escherichia coli (E. coli), Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, and the common fungus Candida albicans.
Q:Sweating that is caused by ingesting food is called what?
A:Sweating that is caused by ingesting food is called gustatory sweating. Gustatory sweating refers to sweating on the forehead, face, scalp, and neck occurring soon after ingesting food. Some gustatory sweating is normal after eating hot, spicy foods. Otherwise, gustatory sweating is most commonly a result of damage to a nerve that supplies the parotid gland, the large salivary gland in the cheek. In this setting, referred to as Frey's syndrome, the sweating is usually on one side of the head. Gustatory sweating is also a rare complication of diabetes mellitus.
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