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Stress Sweat Stinks!


This morning, I just barely got my daughter to school on time. As I chivvied her to eat her breakfast, brush her teeth, and get dressed, I kept thinking about the letter I’d received from the principal regarding our repeated tardiness. Pretty soon, despite the chill in the spring morning air, I was sweating. When I finally arrived at my own school, where I am a nursing student, I walked into lab to perform an intricate procedure on a mannequin in front of my instructor and classmates and, you guessed it, I was sweating again. Concerned that my classmates would see or worse – smell – my sweat, I got increasingly worked up and sweated some more. Up and down throughout the day the vicious cycle continued. As if life weren’t nerve-wracking enough, my stress-sweat and stress-odor was making me more stressed!

There are different types of sweat and sweat glands. The eccrine glands produce the watery sweat we need to keep cool in hot weather and during exercise. This type of sweat begins after a slight warm-up period and tends to be odorless because it is composed mostly of water. Eccrine sweat glands are located all over your body.

Apocrine sweat glands are found mostly in your underarm area, genital area, and on your feet. These glands respond immediately to stress or to an “event” – no warm-up period required – and produce sweat that is full of proteins and lipids. Bacteria love to feed and grow where there are proteins and lipids, and where there is bacterial growth, there’s odor. Stressful event, stress sweat, stress stink, more stress, more sweat, more odor and on and on…

Interestingly, says Dr. David Pariser, founding member of the International Hyperhidrosis Society, former president of the American Academy of Dermatology, and professor of dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, "Hyperhidrosis primarily affects the eccrine sweat glands rather than the apocrine, which is why body odor is less of an issue for hyperhidrosis sufferers than you might expect. While people with hyperhidrosis experience exponentially increased levels of wetness, odor is similar to that seen among non-hyperhidrosis sufferers (assuming similar levels of hygiene, clothing changes, etc.) What works on odor for the typical person, should therefore work on odor in a hyperhidrosis situation, as well." 

Which gets us to new research: recently, the scientists with Proctor & Gamble (the makers of Secret Clinical Strength antiperspirant) conducted a study to see whether their product could fight not only wetness but also odor – in particular the stress odor that so many of us (whether we have hyperhidrosis or not) contend with every day. Women aged 18 – 30 participated in the study. First, they went 14 days without using antiperspirant in order to “wash out” past antiperspirants’ effects for a “clean” study. Next, they received four days of “treatment” with Secret Clinical Strength (unscented) under one arm. The other sweaty underarm remained untreated with zero antiperspirant used. On the fourth day, the participants underwent an accepted stress test (the Trier Social Stress Test or TSST).  The TSST involved each participant giving a speech and doing mental math four hours after having last applied Secret Clinical Strength. Wetness and odor evaluations were collected from pads placed in the underarms. Wetness was measured and odor was “graded” by odor experts. Results showed that wetness was reduced 85% and odor was reduced 50% in the Secret Clinical Strength-treated underarms as compared to the untreated underarms. This data was presented in early March at the American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting and has been published in a supplement to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (page AB63) and of course we have it in our ever-popular hyperhidrosis Published Scientific Research section too.

Whether you are running late for an important meeting, giving a presentation at school or work, trying to make a good impression on a first date, or doing a complicated procedure on your first real-live patient in the hospital (no more mannequins!), the above-mentioned study shows there is something you can do about stress wetness and odor.

To make the most out of your regimen, it’s recommended that you apply antiperspirants like Secret Clinical Strength at least once per day, preferably at night before you go to bed. Make sure your underarms are dry first (this keeps irritation at bay). And, according to Dr. Susan Biehle-Hulette lead scientist on the Proctor & Gamble stress sweat study, it’s a good idea to shave your underarm hair, too, not for cosmetic reasons, but because it helps reduce bacteria growth on the hair shaft and therefore helps to also reduce odor.

If you fall in love with the results of Secret Clinical Strength, use Secret’s Loyalty Reward Program to save money. Here’s how it works:

1)    Buy four (4) Secret Clinical Strength Deodorants/Antiperspirants (0.5 oz. trial-size excluded)

2)    Send the receipt(s) or UPCs (from the bottom of the box) with a completed registration form (click here for the form) to:

Secret Clinical Strength Loyalty Reward
PO Box 900059
EI Paso, TX 88590-0059

3)    The makers of Secret will send you a coupon for one (1) FREE Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant/Antiperspirant (1.6 oz).

On this first day of spring 2013, don’t let stress sweat and odor get you down (flowery spring dresses and pastel button-down shirts anyone?)  Try clinical strength over-the-counter antiperspirants and spring into action.

By Angela Ballard

Writer, Editor, Student RN and regular contributor to International Hyperhidrosis Society publications

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