Ow, my eye! I'm not supposed to get sweat in it!
September 22, 2005 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Why is it that some days when I exercise and get sweaty, the sweat stings my face and eyes very badly while other (most) days the sting is very slight or nonexistent? It doesn't seem to correlate to whether or not I've just shaved (this wouldn't account for the eye sting anyway).
posted by leecifer to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total)
How hydrated and salted you are? I would imagine that the dilution of minerals in the sweat might vary.

Also, are you sure it's not sunscreen that's getting in your eyes.
posted by duck at 11:03 AM on September 22, 2005

Response by poster: Definitely not sunscreen but It's possible that it happens when I'm less hydrated than usual.
posted by leecifer at 11:06 AM on September 22, 2005

I think relative humidity would matter.

A dry day will let sweat rapidly evaporate, perhaps before it could run into your eyes. A muggy day might not let much of any sweat evaporate, thus letting it bead up and take minerals into your eyes. (Assuming the same temperature, hence relative humidity).
posted by teece at 11:32 AM on September 22, 2005

Somewhat related, sometimes after sweating, I'll have white stains when the sweat dries. Is that salt?
posted by drezdn at 11:40 AM on September 22, 2005

I've read that as people get accustomed to excercise in hot weather, their body becomes better able to retain salt and the sweat becomes less salty.
posted by exogenous at 12:18 PM on September 22, 2005

Do you use 'product' on your hair? It might be mousse, gel, serum, etc., mixing with the sweat and stinging your eyes.

A few years ago a friend used an auburn colour mousse on her hair. The day after, at the gym, she had rivulets of ginger sweat running down her face ...
posted by essexjan at 12:36 PM on September 22, 2005

I'm guessing it is related to your diet. The more salty foods you eat could end up coming out in your sweat. Different foods have a different effect on the scent of your sweat and the taste of your skin. I assume it also affects the pH as well.
posted by JJ86 at 12:42 PM on September 22, 2005

For me this effect is all about hydration. If I'm well hydrated no stinging and if I'm dehydrated it's like getting maced.
posted by Mitheral at 1:22 PM on September 22, 2005

I think a large componant of sweat stains are protein based.

Also, the hydration status of your eyes may exacerbate or molify the saltiness of your sweat. Stay hydrated!

(Do you wear contacts? This can also trap salty fluids close to your eye.)
posted by PurplePorpoise at 1:36 PM on September 22, 2005

For me it depends on the temperature and humidity. The colder it is, the more sting, even if I'm inside.
posted by Airhen at 2:51 PM on September 22, 2005

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