Why stress and anxiety makes our sweat smell worse.
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Humans also pump out extra apocrine sweat (the foul-smelling variety) when we are sexually aroused. Apocrine sweat glands are concentrated not only in the armpits but also in the groin and perianal region.
The glands that produce milk are also apocrine glands, similar to the sweat glands that produce foul-smelling sweat. In fact, many biologists believe that mammary glands are evolved from apocrine sweat glands. The sweat released by apocrine glands actually looks somewhat like milk, it is translucent, white, and thick. In contrast, eccrine sweat just looks like water, it is clear.
Note for anxious people: The anxiety sweat on your palms and forehead does NOT smell bad. I repeat, palm sweat does NOT smell bad. This is because apocrine sweat glands, which are the glands that produce foul-smelling sweat, are mostly located in certain places, especially the armpits and the groin. Palm sweat is undoubtedly the most common type of anxiety sweat, and it is eccrine sweat, it smells like nothing. It still makes shaking hands embarrassing, so I recommend holding a cold drink in your right hand. Then you have an excuse to wipe off your hand before shaking, and you also have an excuse for why your hand is a bit wet.
The smelly apocrine sweat in your armpits can be prevented or reduced with antiperspirants, which sadly would not work on your palms.
The drug propranolol can inhibit anxiety-induced sweating, shaking (tremors), and fast heartbeat. Propranolol is not a sedative, so you can safely take it (with a doctor's prescription and guidance) before giving a big speech, driving a car, taking an exam, or playing the violin in an orchestra. In fact, a huge number of classical musicians use propranolol to keep their hands free from sweat and tremors while performing. Propranolol belongs to a drug class called the beta blockers because it blocks beta-adrenergic receptors. Propranolol is most often prescribed to lower blood pressure and prevent a second heart attack in people who have already had one heart attack, but it works quite well for performance anxiety as well.
my first week of my new job, I smelled horrible and I had no idea why. I thought maybe 'cause my deo don't work anymore, but switching deo didn't help :O But it go away, yeah and now I think it was anxiety sweat :D
Huh, it's funny I'm watching this tonight; on my way home on the bus, two gentlemen were running to catch it through fairly heavy traffic, waving and shouting so the bus wouldn't leave.
They managed to catch it (yay!) but their B.O. was definitely very noticeable. I'm usually pretty tolerant of sweat smells, having been a pretty smelly kid growing up, but this was even making me gag. Since they were wearing suits, I doubted they were coming from the gym, so all I could think was that it was from the short-but-stressful run they just had.
Now that I know the strong smell was likely linked to the amount of anxiety they just faced, it makes a lot of sense!
I know this is a bit of a strange subject, but would you think about doing a video on how people feel about sweat/sweaty people. I've had excessive (underarm) sweating for my entire life, to the point where my shirt will become soaked below my bra, and if I'm not wearing sleeves, sweat literally drips down my arms. I've always felt incredibly self conscious about this, even after confirming with multiple people it doesn't make me smell. I've done everything I can to try and stop it (prescription strength antiperspirant, holistic remedies, etc) and nothing has helped.
Regardless of this fact, I have been met with countless people calling me disgusting, and telling me to "shower more". What I'm basically asking, is can you investigate why people are so revolted by just the sight of wet underarms?
I have PTSD. Think about how that is. I'm constantly hyperventilate, I wake up with sweat pouring over me from nightmares, and I constantly have insecurities about how I smell. Thank you for this, though.
I am blessed/cursed with the lack of sweating. I go to exercise/training, and I don't sweat enough -- the trainer tells me that I'm not working hard enough (as evidenced by the lack of sweat). On the other hand, the day after a couple of gin martinis, I sweat a smell akin to pine trees.
Well thats not exactly good news to someone like myself, with anxiety induced hyperhydrosis :/... but as in many other ways that our bodies can express anxiety, I completely agree that the best way to cope with it is to work on the source of the anxiety and try to change our way of thinking that creates it. Thats just much easier said than done unfortunately, but still very possible with the right resources to help us work on our mental health.
Anyway, this was a really informative, and I love the way you present; thank you so much for sharing! :D
Unfortunately the only time Ive ever smelled a stank from someone stressed out, was at work... where its constantly hot, humid, and too many people crammed in too small a building -- having to deal with literally hundreds of other ungrateful, high horse customers... but I could understand that.
Hey Cristen, I've got a question for you though if anyone has real advice I would be more than open to it. When I'm extremely nervous or very angry I start to shake uncontrollably. Nothing huge, more like tremors you would get when cold but it's definitely noticeable. When I was getting interviewed for the job I have now, my boss noticed it and actively tried to look less intimidating. He thought he was making me scared (it probably didn't help that he looks like a pro-wrestler and I'm tiny), it was embarrassing trying to explain that it was just interview nerves. Anyway, what I wanted to know is if there is a way to stop the shaking and why I shake in the first place. I've tried breathing exercises, I've tried controlling my heart rate, I've tried focusing on something else, I've tried herbs like valerian root to induce calmness when I know a situation is going to affect me. Nothing has worked. It's unfortunate because I'm a high strung individual who is nervous a lot and quick to anger, kind of like a chihuahua, though I don't express what I'm feeling on my face or in my speech or in my behavior. My family and friends tell me it's a good way for them to judge if they did or said something they shouldn't have, but I find it to be embarrassing and a little frightening because I can't control it. I haven't asked my doctor because I'm afraid it won't be taken seriously and I can't deal with that from a professional who I entrust my health to.
edit: Usually with the shakes comes the inability to think well. It's like my thoughts are swimming through molasses and everything is a little fuzzy and not quite solid.
Hi Cristen. Can you do a video about anxiety and how to deal with anxiety. My anxiety is strongest during driving and driving lessons. Do you have any advice for me and other people who struggle with anxiety?
my job is stressful, i have GAD and i take a medication whose adverse effect is excesive sweating so it sometimes gets bad. But I started coming up with ways to combat it, which is to drink lots of water before work, and have a cold bottle during work that i can quickly take swigs out of. It keeps you cool, and forces you to take a couple seconds to recharge
i stress sweat all the time. WHY does it trigger a "fight flight" response when i am going shopping?! or going to order some food?! or interact with humans in general?! COME ON BODY!! this is all essential!!
I\'m not sure but ,if anyone else is searching for how to prevent sweating try Knewreck Reduce Sweating Guide(Have a quick look on google cant remember the place now ) ? Ive heard some super things about it and my friend got cool results with it.
Watching you stuff that salami into your mouth like that made me laugh snot out of my nose at supersonic speed. Apologies to anyone reading this but I felt that it needed to be said. Thanks for the informative video. Great stuff as usual 👍☺
I've tried doing the "flipping your thoughts" kind of thing, but it never worked for me. Instead, what I do is that I focus completely on the task that I have to do. Like, I try to ignore my "oh god I'm scared" train of thought and focus on the outcome of what I have to do, what I could do to make it better, etc, for example when I'm doing an oral expression in school. And it usually works! Just putting this out there bc it might help someone 😊
Breathe in for four seconds
Hold your breath for seven seconds
Breathe out for eight seconds
Repeat once or twice more.
This causes an autonomic nervous system shift from a sympathetic (fight or fight reaction) state to a parasympathetic response. Use this for panic/anxiety attacks, exams, presentations, etc...
+Janna Wood Even though you can't completely erase your natural scents, your diet will play a role in how "foul" the odor is. Google a list of the foods that produce a more noticeable odor - garlic (ugh, my fave), alcohol, and sugar get digested and the gases escape through the pores and produce a noticeable smell and anxiety-induce sweating will only increase the smell.
Anybody else sweat when they're excited? After a long and great conversation with friends, I often find myself covered with sweat. Once, I sweated through a blazer because I was job shadowing and so excited about the job I was learning about! This can't just be me, right?
The first time I heard about stress sweat was from a deodorant commercial from a year or more ago. I thought it was a made up problem used to sell the product because I don't sweat when I'm stressed and I never noticed that other people did. I've since learned that everyone around me does sweat when stressed and I'm some kind of freak of nature that doesn't.