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Researchers: Women like ‘happiness’ sweat on men – Ogden Clinic provided source, Standard-Examiner 5/5/2015

OGDEN - Women show more signs of happiness after sniffing the sweat of a happy man.

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According to a study published in Psychological Science, women were happier after smelling the sweat of a happy man over the sweat of a man in a neutral emotional state.

“Our study shows that being exposed to sweat produced under happiness induces a simulacrum of happiness in receivers, and induces a contagion of the emotional state,” said study author Gun Semin. “This suggests that somebody who is happy will infuse others in their vicinity with happiness. In a way, happiness sweat is somewhat like smiling. It is infectious.”

For the study, researchers had men wash and dry their armpits and place sweat pads under them. Then they were shown video clips that would stir three types of emotion: fear, happiness and neutral. Women were then asked to smell the sweat. Those who were exposed to the happy sweat showed a common component of happy expressions through facial muscle activity.

So, what is sweat? It’s mostly water with a tiny bit of salt, said Dr. Chad Tingey, a dermatologist at Ogden Clinic.

“We have sweat glands all over the body, except for a few areas,” he said. “Roughly, humans have about two million.”

Dr. Michael Martineau, a dermatologist at Tanner Clinic, said the purpose of sweat glands is to cool the body and maintain temperature. On the hands, low-grade sweating keeps the skin soft and improves the sense of touch and also helps with grip.

In addition, Tingey said, sweat aids the skin as a barrier to bacteria and viruses, which brings us to our next topic of conversation. Sweat might smell good to some people, but it can also stink up a room. As George Costanza once said in a Seinfeld episode, “Oh, this isn’t even B.O. This is beyond B.O. It’s B.B.O.”

“In a few areas like the armpits we have different sweat glands called apocrine glands,” Tingey said. “The sweat from apocrine glands is thicker and bacteria grow well in it. The smell from sweat comes from the bacteria, not the sweat itself, but if you block the sweat, you don’t feed those bacteria.”

Martineau and Tingey said some people sweat more than others, particularly if it runs in the family. Men usually sweat more than women, and some people have a condition called hyperhydiosis, where the nerves tell the glands to secrete inappropriate amounts, even if the person isn’t hot and trying to lose heat. An increase in body mass, anxiety and stress are also other factors in excessive sweating.

Deodorant and antiperspirant is work fine for most people, but Martineau said the antiperspirant has to get down into the pores to work.

“A fact which is often overlooked is that the best time to apply an antiperspirant is before bed,” he said. “At night we go through cycles of sweating and drying which transports the antiperspirant into the pores where it can work.”

If sweat is excessive, there are other options.

“That can be treated with injections of Botox to block the signal from the nerves or even better, the Miradry device can permanently get rid of those problematic glands,” Tingey said.

Martineau also said aluminum chloride containing products are the most common treatment as well as medication and rarely surgery.