Mind & Body

Sweat Is Not Detoxifying

Doesn't it feel good to sweat? To feel your muscles warm up, to feel your heart pump, to feel the toxins escape through your pores...well, everything except that last part. It turns out that, contrary to popular belief, sweat really isn't detoxifying. The real detox happens in completely different organs. Still, we love to sweat all the same.

Sweat It Out

Saunas, hot yoga studios, and sweat lodges all swear by the detoxifying effects of sweating. But, in truth, hardly any harmful chemicals come out in your sweat. Sweat is mostly made up of water, plus a certain concentration of sodium, chloride, and potassium, and sometimes proteins and fatty acids. It does include some toxins, but only trace amounts, and those are dwarfed by the quantities that your liver and kidneys constantly flush out of your body. Your body produces sweat primarily to cool you down during exercise or in hot weather. 

Related: Detox Products Are Nothing But A Sham

But if you don't replace that sweat by drinking enough water, you'll get dehydrated, which is the perfect way to stress your kidneys and keep them from doing their job. In other words, sweating doesn't detoxify you, and can actually do the opposite. That's not to say sweating is bad—it's a great way to cool off, as long as you follow it up with a refreshing swig of water.

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Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Content About Detoxing

Why Do We Sweat?

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The average person has 2.6 million sweat glands in their skin and can produce up to 3 liters (0.79 gallons) of sweat per hour. 00:25

  2. Sweat is odorless, but the bacteria that feast on it release smelly compounds. The best way to reduce this is to keep up with regular hygiene. 00:46

  3. 1.6% of humans have a genetic trait that keeps them from stinking when they sweat. 02:22

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Written by Curiosity Staff July 7, 2016

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