lady smiling with her arms in the air

Why do we sweat?

Sweating is our body's natural way of cooling us down but we can also release perspiration for other reasons. Read on to learn more about why we sweat.

Why do we sweat?

Sweating, also called perspiration, is our body's natural way of helping to regulate our temperature, cooling us down when we are overheating. By sweating our body is helping us to lose heat through evaporation. We also sweat under different circmunstances, such as sweating at night and cold sweats, as well as in response to feeling certain emotions. Sweating can feel uncomfortable and possibly lead to unpleasant odours, but it is perfectly natural. Find out more about why do we sweat below:
woman touching her armpits

Why do we sweat?

Eccrine Glands & Apocrine Glands

The two main glands on the human body that release sweat are the eccrine and apocrine glands. They are triggered to release perspiration differently and the make up of the perspiration released differs between the glands.

Apocrine Glands: These glands are larger than eccrine and are mainly localised to the armpits, breast and groin area. Perspiration released from these glands is thicker and fat-laden, when it is broken down on the skin it often smells stronger than sweat released by eccrine glands. Perspiration through apocrine glands is usually triggered by emotions, such as stress.

Eccrine Glands: These glands are slightly smaller than apocrine glands and are located all over your body. These glands produce most of our perspiration, and the perspiration that is released is more watery. Eccrine glands are usually triggered to release sweat when our body is overheating to try and cool down.

Why do we sweat?

6 things that can cause us to sweat more

1) Exercise
Naturally, exercise causes our body temperature to rise as our heart rate quickens and blood circulation increases. To help keep us cool and prevent overheating, our body will release sweat.

2) Eating Spicy Foods
Spicy foods can quite often trick our brain into thinking that we are overheating, thus causing it to trigger a sweat response. If you are prone to excessive sweating, you may want to take it easy on the spice.

3) Meat Sweats are Real
Eating too much meat in one sitting can cause our metabolism to expend so much energy breaking it down that our body temperature rises, causing us to perspire.

4) Drinking Alcohol
Consuming alcohol can cause our heart rate to increase and our blood vessels to dilate, something that also happens when we exercise. This can trick our body into thinking it is working out and therefore release sweat to cool down. Drinking alcohol can also cause sweating at night.

5) Strong Emotional Reactions
Have you ever noticed that when you feel slightly nervous or anxious you break out in a sweat? Particularly on your hands? This is because emotions such as: anxiety, stress, embarrassment, anger and fear can all cause us to release perspiration.

6) Menopause
During menopause, hormone fluctuations can trigger perspiration. Women going through menopause often experience sweating at night and hot flashes.

Why do we sweat?

Sweat does not actually smell!

We're telling the truth, unpleasant body odour is not actually the smell of perspiration on your skin. The unpleasant armpit smell associated with sweat occurs when it is broken down by the bacteria on your body, releasing the smell of body odour.

Although this smell and process is completely natural, it is not the most pleasant and can make people feel self conscious. Using a reliable deodorant will ensure you remain smelling fresh, even during bouts of sweating.

woman smiling showing her armpit

Why Do We Sweat?

Stay Protected with NIVEA

Whether you want to stay smelling fresh all day, or prevent sweating, we have a solution for you. The difference between antiperspirants and deodorants is that the former helps to reduce sweating, whereas the latter helps to mask odours and keep you smelling fresh.
nivea dry confidence antiperspirant deodorant spray

Why do we sweat?

To prevent sweating

 You will want an antiperspirant such as NIVEA Dry Confidence Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Spray that has been real-life tested to provide 48h protection against perspiration. For men, NIVEA MEN Dry Impact Anti-Perspirant also reliably reduces perspiration for up to 48h with a more masculine scent.

nivea fresh flower 0% aluminium 48h deodorant spray

Why do we sweat?

To smell fresh

Look for a deodorant with a smell to your tastes, we love NIVEA Fresh Flower 0% Aluminium 48h Deodorant Spray that has a feminine rose, violet and mandarin fragrance. We also have a wide range of men's deodorant to choose from, for a masculine alternative.

Why do we sweat?

Sweating at night

It is perfectly normal to experience sweating at night in response to the room temperature or heavy bedding making you too hot. 

Excessive sweating at night though is when you wake up in soaking wet bedding, also known as night sweats. This is probably triggered by something other than temperature. The most common reasons of excessive sweating at night include:

  • Menopause
  • Certain medications or medicines
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Anxiety
  • Hyperhidrosis or other medical conditions

If you experience severe sweating at night, you should consider seeking medical advice.

Why do we sweat?

Cold Sweats

Cold sweats commonly occur on the palms, armpits and soles of the feet and are when you feel a sudden chill in your body, accompanied by perspiration. Cold sweats occur regardless of a hot or cold temperature.

Causes of Cold Sweats

There are a few different things that cause cold sweats but they are most often associated with our "flight or fight" response. Common causes of cold sweats include:

  • Shock
  • Sepsis or infections
  • Feeling nauseous or suffering from vertigo
  • Fainting, or a lack of oxygen to the brain
  • Cold sweats relating to intense pain or injury
  • Stress, anxiety or migraines

Similar to sweating at night, if you are worried about cold sweats, you should seek medical advice.