What is it? "Perspiring" (little droplets of salty water coming out of the "sweat glands" in your skin) is a totally normal body function. It is one way the body cools off and maintains a constant temperature. This is especially important during hot weather or when we're doing heavy exercise. If we couldn't sweat we would die!
I'm So Sweaty! During adolescence your body changes in lots of ways including your sweat glands. At times those guys seem like they are working overtime! With body changes come circulation changes too. In times of emotional stress, certain hormones cause the blood vessels in the hands to get narrow. With less blood and more active sweat glands, your hands may be cold and sweaty at the same time. (Just what you need!)
Little kids (whose sweat glands under the arms aren't fully developed yet) don't usually sweat under their arms. Teens sure do! But sweaty arm pits is normal and like the cold, clammy hands, it can get to be a bigger problem if you're stressed. So don't sweat it! (sorry :-)
What About Body Odor? Body odor is not cause by sweat alone! It's caused by the interaction of sweat with the bacteria that normally hangs out on your skin.
Regular washing with soap and water helps eliminate bacteria
on the skin.
What Are Deodorants? Products that contain "anti-microbial" (against bacteria) ingredients that reduce bacteria and mask natural body odor with perfumes.
What Are Antiperspirants? Antiperspirants reduce sweating while also masking natural body odors with perfume.
The Good News: Every Body Sweats (It's not just you.)
The Bad News: There really isn't any. (Just keep cool.)
Sometimes teens who sweat excessively find that by the time they reach their twenties they don't sweat as much. Maybe their bodies have gotten more in gear. Maybe as we get older, we get better at dealing with stress. (No one knows, for sure, but sweatiness will become less of a problem.)
Is Your Sweating Beyond "Normal?" There is a condition called "hyperhidrosis" (too much sweating). If you think you've got it, discuss it with your doctor.
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last updated November 19, 2005
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