By Cassi Bee
We’ve all been hit with an episode of the stress sweats before. You know the type: poorly timed, exceptionally smelly, and seemingly endless. Stress sweat usually starts to quickly hit before a big meeting, ahead of an important event, or — plainly — whenever our brain feels we need a few extra feet from whatever is in front of us. not only neutralizes that gnarly odor onsite, but it also helps to wick away sweat as it happens by creating a light, invisible shield between your underarms and your garments.
To understand why stress sweat occurs, we have to first explore human evolution and the fight-or-flight response. Pretty much all mammals have this reaction, but us humans were blessed with a couple glands that really let folks know how we’re feeling, even if we haven’t said anything out loud. These glands include .
In evolutionary history, and even in the natural world today, we see plenty of examples of odor working as a healthy defense. Think of the stink bug! ! When either of these animals feel fear or think they are under threat, they will “dust up” the place before making a clean getaway. Humans aren’t much different; when we feel threatened, we too have a fight-or-flight response. This response varies from person to person, and so everyone’s experience can be a bit different, but generally when someone feels pressure, anxiety or fear they are unprepared for the nervous system will help us get to safety by making us stink.
We know there is a difference in sweat based on our level of stress because of biology and research. Sweat produced in periods of anxiety or distress comes from the apocrine glands, combining with the bacteria on your skin to create the particular odor we know it by, and sweat produced by exercise, heat or activity can be credited to the endocrine glands. Historically, this makes sense. Of course there are a lot less “true predators” out there these days (unless you want to play a game of live or die with a mother bear), but our nervous system still hangs on to the process that works. When we stink, we take space or make space, right?
Now that we know a little more about stress sweat (and hopefully feel more confident about when and why it happens!) we can tackle ways to help reduce the occurrence or troubleshoot the issue when it does come up.
Below are some tips and tricks to wick stress sweat and live your best-scented life.
Be proactive: mindfulness, ways to stay calm, diet and exercise
If you know you’re the type to experience this kind of anxiety-induced (and inducing!) sweat, there are a few steps you can take every day to reduce the frequency or impact when it ultimately occurs.
First, while preparing for whatever it is that’s about to happen, try to take some deep, long breaths from your diaphragm. Remember to hold at the top and bottom of your breath — while your lungs are full or empty — for a couple extra seconds to help regulate your breathing and bring a sense of calm. If yoga or meditation are in your practice, try to plan ahead and allow time before a stressful event or occasion for even just a few minutes of mindfulness. It will make a big difference!
If you’re a more active person, a quick burst of exercises can sometimes help curb the anxiety you are experiencing, so a brisk walk around the block, a few jumping jacks to get your heart going, or even just dancing along to your favorite song can get your brain and body back on the same page quickly — and your pits less stinky!
Lastly, if you know your habits are likely to elevate your nerves instead of calm them (think coffee, sugary snacks, or staying up late), consider making adjustments to your diet or lifestyle to help your body work at it’s best, even under stress.
Create a routine: self care, hygiene
Of course, self care is important when discussing our bodies and their functions. This includes keeping a healthy hygiene routine, which PiperWai can help with! Keeping your pits clean by washing them regularly with a pH-balanced product is a great first step, and applying PiperWai to dry underarms after bathing will help your underarms create an environment that bacteria will have a hard time surviving in. This is thanks to the low baking soda content, inclusion of magnesium, and our many essential oils and their individual benefits (like clary sage or tea tree oil, which both have naturally antiseptic properties!)
You can learn more about our essential oils !
If you find — despite maintaining a regular hygiene routine — you still struggle with stress sweats (you’re not alone!) we suggest this easy-to-use apple cider vinegar trick:
- Combine equal parts apple cider vinegar and water (a tablespoon of each should be plenty). Apply this once daily using a soft cloth or cotton prior to applying PiperWai, holding your arms up to allow it to dry completely first. After 1-2 weeks, you can wean your underarms off the ACV mixture.
Some of our team members use this trick every six weeks or so as part of their own personal hygiene routine, and to give their hard-working pits a bit of a tune-up from time to time. Don’t believe it helps? Give it a try and see.
Expect to sweat: sweating is good! odor is bad!
If you’ve been a PiperWai-er for some time, you’ve probably heard us discuss the differences between deodorants and antiperspirants. We are very up front about the fact that what we are offering is not a solution to sweat, we offer a solution to odor: we neutralize it, naturally. While the vast majority of our customers transition seamlessly to PiperWai from their aluminum antiperspirant, some people might need a few weeks to adjust to using a natural deodorant since their sweat glands are used to being plugged shut by aluminum. Think of this as your underarms going through a “detox” of the chemicals from your antiperspirant.
Our product is not an antiperspirant, as antiperspirants work by clogging your pores with aluminum to prevent sweat. Instead, PiperWai forms a super-absorbent, invisible shield to protect your clothing from sweat stains, but it does not plug up pores like an antiperspirant, causing you not to sweat.
In short, expect to sweat! It’s our bodies’ way of cleaning out toxins (or fats and proteins from our apocrine glands) and cooling us down when our temper or temperature warms up. We think that sweating is good — it’s odor that’s bad — and are proud to present our product as a healthy, natural alternative to the chemically scented, synthetic antiperspirants on the market.
Stay hydrated: you lose water when you stress sweat
When we’re exercising or heading out into warmer weather, it’s pretty common to bring an extra beverage to keep hydrated. But, if you experience stress sweating, it’s just as important to stay hydrated throughout the day, even if you aren’t moving much. This is because sweating (whichever type!) causes your body to lose important water content, which can cause your organs to work overtime. In a moment of anxiety, that’s the last thing anyone needs, so we suggest bringing an extra (single-use!) water bottle along wherever you go.
Most importantly, keep your PiperWai on hand!