How Can Your Evaporating Sweat Cool You Down?

Published: 17th June 2010
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Copyright (c) 2010 Lynsey Carter

Your body's sweat does primarily consist of water, along with some other additives such as salt, sugars, urea, and ammonia. But when the water in your sweating turns into gas as it heats up on your body, it does goes through a process called evaporation, and it is because of this evaporation process that the evaporating sweat will cool you down.

Now, as those water molecules turn into a gas through the evaporation process, the gas will move away from your body, as this is what gases do, they flow about. It is a little bit like a chemistry lesson here because when you sweat, you excrete water along with minerals and salts, and these compounds need to be replaced otherwise you could end up dehydrated. Which is not too good.

So it's back to the chemistry lesson then. When the water in your body's sweating turns into a gas, it's state will change from a liquid to a gas ( all just basic chemistry, right? ), but to turn from a liquid to a gas it needs heat, which it takes with it when it leaves you body. Your body will have thousands, if not millions, of sweat molecules over your body and as they all heat up to convert to gas, each taking a little of that heat with them, you will begin to feel cooler. Just think, when the millions of sweat molecules are multiplied during the cooling process, this is the reason why you cool down through sweating. If only one molecule at a time was to evaporate, you wouldn't notice any change at all.

The body temperature should be 98.6'F, and if your body temperature rises for any reason - exercising, climate, environment - then your body will react to maintain a stable core temperature. This is where you begin to sweat, to regulate your body temperature. You have what is called the 'hypothalmus gland' in your brain which is the organ that detects the change in your body temperature and therefore gets your body and your skin to react, by sweating.

Now, if your environment is too humid, too moist, then the sweat on your body may not evaporate totally or only slowly. There is not enough dry air to allow your sweat to dry off your skin. The only solutions available for you then is to either - fan yourself, to try and stand in a breeze, or be in an air-conditioned room.

The Asian countries suffer from high humidity for most of their year and a lot of tourists do find it uncomfortable visiting as they are unable to sweat effectively to cool down. The humid environment is worse for you if you suffer from excessive sweat, or you sweat profusely from particular sections of your body.


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