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Pourquoi la sueur est salée ?

Why is sweat salty?

Sweat, secreted by the sweat glands, plays a role in regulating body temperature among other things. If sweat has ever trickled from your forehead to your lips, you've likely experienced its "flavour". But what gives it its salty taste?

Published February 20, 2024, by Stéphanie, Doctorate in Life and Health Sciences — 3 min read

Sweating refers to the expulsion of sweat through the pores of the skin. Factors such as stress, exposure to heat, and physical exertion can alter its production rate. Produced by the sweat glands, sweat is primarily composed of water (99%), sodium chloride, and urea. The components of this clear or yellowish liquid vary depending on the type of sweat gland involved.

Sweat allows your body to maintain a temperature around 37°C. Perspiration regulates this body temperature to prevent overheating and the diseases that result from it. The acidic pH (between 4 and 6) of sweat, on the other hand, repels bacteria and germs that attempt to cling to the skin. Mixed with sebum, this liquid forms the hydrolipidic film, a defensive barrier that envelops the skin to protect it from external aggressions. The salty taste of perspiration also plays a role in maintaining organic and skin health. The element responsible for the salty taste of sweat actively contributes to the proper functioning of organs and the beautification of the skin.

What is the source of this salty taste attributed to sweat?

The sodium chloride present in sweat is responsible for its salty taste. You can observe the fine white powder left by sweat when it dries, this is a characteristic of salt, and it is not indicative of any pathological condition. Sweating expels sodium and minerals contained in the sweat. You replenish the amount of salt lost when you consume salty foods or when you apply skincare products enriched with sodium chloride. Therefore, the salty taste of sweat is constant, it's the intensity of its flavour that varies according to each person's habits.

Sweat alone can reveal your health status. Salty sweat indicates that your body is lacking in sodium. The abrasive effect of sweat tends to sting the eyes. The salt contained in sweat should not be completely eliminated, as it prevents dehydration by retaining water in the tissues. This substance also distributes water throughout your body. Salt has the ability to maintain skin hydration. It is beneficial to the overall organic balance. Its presence in a reasonable quantity slows down skin ageing. You can use sodium chloride to rejuvenate sagging skin.


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