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Local Differences In Sweat Secretion From The Head During Rest And Exercise In The Heat

C. A. Machado-Moreira, F. Wilmink, Annieka K. Meijer, I. Mekjavic, N. A. S. Taylor
Published 2007 · Medicine

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The importance of the head in dissipating body heat under hot conditions is well recognised, although very little is known about local differences in sweat secretion across the surface of the head. In this study, we focused on the intra-segmental distribution of head sweating. Ten healthy males were exposed to passive heating and exercise-induced hyperthermia (36°C, 60% relative humidity, water-perfusion suit: 46°C), with ventilated sweat capsules (3.16 cm2) used to measure sweat rates from the forehead and nine sites inside the hairline. Sweat secretion from both non-hairy (glabrous) and hairy areas of the head increased linearly with increments in work rate and core temperature, with heart rate and core temperature peaking at 175 b min−1 (±6) b min−1 and 39.2°C (±0.1). The mean sweat rate during exercise for sites within the hairline was 1.95 mg cm−2 min−1. However, the evolution of this secretion pattern was not uniformly distributed within the head, with the average sweat rate for the top of the head being significantly lower than at the anterior lateral aspect of the head (P < 0.05), and representing only 30% of the forehead sweat rate (P < 0.05). It is hypothesised that these intra-segmental observations may reflect variations in the local adaptation of eccrine glands to differences in local evaporation associated either with bipedal locomotion, which will influence forehead sweating, or the hidromeiotic suppression of sweating, which impacts upon sweat glands within the hairline.
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