The Finns have always been particularly obsessed with the idea. Centuries ago they used to light a fire underneath rocks to create smoke, and then they would throw buckets of water on top to turn it to steam. Then they would close off the room with wood and sit around in a makeshift sauna.
The smart idea these civilisations had was that sweating helps to remove toxins and other impurities from the human body.
Nowadays most people tend to be terrified of sweating due to BO and other issues. However many gurus in the modern world are wondering whether sweating can actually improve your health, in ways other than simply cooling your body down.
For many years modern scientists denied that such a thing was possible, but new studies suggest that the wise old men of history were correct after all…
…and after looking at all the available evidence, it seems that sweating is an excellent way to get rid of the acne on your face. The truth is that diet is ten times as important as hygiene for clearing acne; you can only get clear skin permanently by altering the foods you eat. People everywhere use Benzoyl Peroxide and other cleansers to little effect…
…but the sweat we all produce daily is one of best hygiene treatments, a highly underutilised secret weapon.
The common misconception about sweat
That might surprise you, because most people typically lump sweat together with the oil on your face. Oily skin is notorious for causing blocked pores, and that allows p.acnes bacteria, the notorious acne-causing bacteria, to breed like mad.
For that reason a good deal of people in the acne community are terrified of sweat. However they shouldn’t be because the oil that blocks your pores and causes acne is actually completely different.
Sweat is not even oil at all; it is made up of mostly water, but also electrolyte nutrients such as potassium and sodium. Sweat’s basic function is to keep you cool when the body begins to heat up, which is actually accomplished when the sweat evaporates off your skin.
Meanwhile, the oil which every acne patient needs to reduce is sebum.
Sebum is made up of various oils like squalene, triglycerides, and wax esters. It has a completely different function to sweat; its main job is to lubricate your skin and prevent it from being damaged by outside forces such as toxic chemicals in make-up.
It is sebum, not sweat, that is largely responsible for acne.
Possibly the reason why so many people get confused is that both sweat and sebum increase on a hot day; sweat to keep you cool, and sebum to provide additional lubrication “defences”.
Nevertheless, the two are completely different and you should never confuse them. Sweat is very rarely a cause of acne.
Sweat contains an antibacterial peptide
Firstly, stress contains an extremely strong acne-curing compound that very few people know about, with an ability to completely wipe out p.acnes bacteria on the skin of your face.
Sweat is mainly water, sodium, and potassium, but it also contains a ton of smaller compounds. One of them is a peptide called dermcidin that has miracle antimicrobial properties. Dermcidin’s purpose is to eliminate infections on your skin, and for this purpose it is equipped with some very potent antibacterial properties. Here are the studies…
- Scientists in this study found that dermcidin was effective against countless different types of bacteria. One example was Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, the tuberculosis bacteria. They also found that Dermcidin was a highly adaptable peptide, meaning that it could respond to different bacteria with many different forms of cells. They concluded that dermcidin had potential against a range of different bacteria.
- This study analysed the sweat composition of patients with various bacterial illnesses. The scientists found that patients with bacterial infections like atopic dermatitis were far more likely to have low levels of dermcidin in their sweat.
Some of the scientists were so impressed with dermcidin’s antibacterial power that they are touting it as an alternative to antibiotics. They noticed that some bacteria which thought they were being smart by becoming resistant to conventional antibiotics suddenly had no chance when they were faced with dermcidin.
The significance for us? You’ve probably guessed already that dermcidin, and thus sweating, could be a potent way to eliminate the p. acnes bacteria.
Propionibacterium acnes causes acne when pores get blocked with sebum. What happens is the level of oxygen drops very slightly in the blocked pore, and because p. acnes thrives in low oxygen environments, the bacteria then begins to multiply rapidly…
…and the acne is created when the immune system gets involved and targets the acne bacteria with an inflammatory response. Ordinarily this response will simply wipe the bacteria out, but acne patients suffer from a condition called chronic inflammation. This causes the immune system to be overactive, meaning that an unnecessarily large amount of inflammatory chemicals are deployed. These chemicals then inflame the pore, and make it red, swollen, and painful.
Therefore if you sweat, and thus get plenty of the dermcidin peptide into your pores, you are basically cutting the head off the acne snake. We can conclude that going on a treadmill, riding a bike up a mountain, or doing anything that gets the sweat dripping from your face, is an excellent way to reduce acne bacteria.
The legends are true – sweating aids detoxification
The claim goes like this: you have your liver, you have your kidneys, but the skin is actually the third major detoxification organ of the human body. As you sweat, toxins, chemicals, and heavy metals come out through your skin and are washed away, never to be seen again…
For a long time this was a claim that many health gurus just laughed at, despite it making sense in theory. However, now studies are finally beginning to trickle out which confirm what the wise old sauna men knew all along: sweating is an excellent way to remove acne-causing substances from the body.
In our first study scientists were concerned with the effects of sweating on BPA, or Bisphenol-A, in the body. This BPA is a notoriously dangerous chemical for acne that was banned very recently by France. This acne-causing nightmare is used in all sorts of products you are exposed to on a daily basis, like shower curtains, paper receipts, canned foods, and children’s toys.
Perhaps BPA’s most notorious health effect is its testosterone reducing effects which have been observed to turn some fish, frogs, and other water based animals from males into females.
Not surprisingly scientists are very interested in such a substance and its effects on human health, so in one study they were trying to determine exactly how the human body detoxifies it. They analysed samples of both urine and sweat and found that the amount of BPA in the sweat was significantly higher than in the urine. Their conclusion was that “Induced sweating appears to be a potential method for elimination of BPA”.
This is great news for acne patients because BPA is one of the strongest pro-acne inflammatory chemicals in the business.
It’s not common knowledge, but environmental toxins like BPA are one of the biggest causes of acne. In my eBook Annihilate Your Acne there’s a 10 page chapter on them. We are exposed to their acne causing powers on a daily basis if we make no effort to avoid their sources.
Therefore if sweating can remove BPA from our bodies, then sweating is what we as acne prone people should do.
Our second study also found that sweating can remove toxic substances behind acne, in this instance heavy metals. The scientists again analysed samples of sweat and found that they contained significant amounts of mercury (deadly for acne), lead, arsenic, and cadmium. None of these metals are actually used in sweat for any biological function; therefore their conclusion was that sweating is a great way to remove them.
This is also great news because heavy metals are highly toxic to the body. Just about all of them can lead to inflammation, mercury can also cause brain damage, and lead is notorious for having wrecked lives in the 1960s. Mercury is one of the specific toxins covered in my eBook.
Arsenic is a particularly important one for acne patients because it leads to hyperkeratosis, where your skin produces too much keratin and your pores get blocked.
The final conclusion of the scientists was very interesting to say the least: “Sweating is not only observed to enhance excretion of the toxic elements of interest in this paper, but also may increase excretion of diverse toxicants”. That means other acne causing toxins such as BPA and phthalates, which are toxic chemicals that lurk in plastic products.
The other reported acne advantage of sweating is that it unblocks your pores, however there isn’t as much evidence for this. This makes sense in theory, but no scientist is going to study it because the theory is too basic.
I have undergone plenty of sweaty exercise sessions and I try to monitor my acne whenever I do. However it was difficult to establish whether my pores had actually unblocked a lot. The fact that I couldn’t notice anything suggests that they hadn’t, but the theory makes sense. You will have to try it for yourself.
However, what I have noticed is that after a hard cycling session where I sweat a lot, my acne tends to get better after a few days. The biggest effect is usually that the tone of my skin improves a lot and that happens fairly quickly. I have also never ever noticed sweat making my acne worse.
Getting sweaty on a regular basis is something I absolutely recommend as it can have extremely powerful acne reducing effects, effects that are stronger than most people even suspect.
How you achieve this is completely up to you. People in Scandinavia still do it by means of jumping into the tons of saunas that are spread all over their country, but it will be better for acne if you exercise. That way you can obtain a ton of other acne benefits at the same time. Regardless, any method that gets plenty of sweat produced on your face will do the trick.
Also remember that sweating depletes vital nutrients like sodium and potassium. The glorious solution to this is to keep a banana on standby for after your sweat session. A banana is a good, albeit not excellent, source of potassium, and its convenience makes it very handy for quickly increasing potassium levels after a hard workout.
Potassium is a fairly important nutrient for regulating your immune system, so don’t forget or your acne will pay the price!
Thanks for reading!