Everybody knows that science is cool, but did you know that science can literally help you stay cool during the scorching heat of summer? Yeah, central air conditioning helps immensely and going to Alaska isn’t a bad idea, too. But when you don’t have air conditioning or the budget to travel to the coldest place on the planet, what is there left to do?
Sweat It Out
Many people don’t like sweating. It’s icky. But in fact, sweating is the body’s built-in air conditioner. As sweat emanates from your skin, the surrounding air sucks it up, taking not only moisture but also heat. This helps reduce the body’s temperature. You might also have noticed that the moisture under your skin when sweating feels cool as it gets hit even by a gentle breeze. This is also the reason why it’s so important to drink a lot of fluids when it’s hot. When you suffer from dehydration, your body adapts by preventing sweat production to conserve as much water in your body. Not sweating means you can’t cool off, and your body ultimately stays hot.
The cooling nature of sweat also explains why it’s hard to cool down on humid days. High humidity means there’s already a lot of moisture in the air, so your sweat isn’t so easily sucked off your skin. What happens is that the beads of sweat roll off your body and you can’t take advantage of sweatís cooling effect.
Soak Your Head
Fun fact: Most of the body’s temperature sensors are found in the head. When you feel hot, try wetting your hair or even soaking your entire head in cool water. This isnít very practical, though, as you can’t walk around town with dripping wet hair. Instead, wet a bandana and wrap it around your neck. Make sure that the cloth is cold around the nape area. This cooling effect will be felt by your whole body. There are even bandanas that are specifically designed for this use. Some have gels that prevent water from evaporating quickly.
An alternative is to rub alcohol with the help of cotton balls on your wrists, feet, and nape. Similar to sweat, rubbing alcohol takes heat from your body as it evaporates. This is great if you want quick relief as the alcohol evaporates at a much more rapid rate than sweat. The cooling effect does not last as long, though, so you will have to reapply from time to time. If you sensitive and dry skin, this method isnít recommended.
Wear More Clothes
Yes, you heard that right: Wear more clothes. It sounds counterintuitive at first. After all, wouldnít it be better to wear less when the weather is hot? Well, not always. Remember that it is the evaporation of sweat that helps cool the body. When you wear clothes, they may interfere with the evaporation of sweat as airflow gets restricted. So it is true that the less clothing you wear, the cooler your body will be.
However, do not forget to take into consideration the sun. The sun’s rays are immensely powerful. Think about it: if its rays are able to reach Neptune and Uranus, which are light years away from us, donít you think they will affect us here on Earth? The answer is obvious. It heats up the skin and ultimately burns it. As the skin burns, sweat production falls but your bodyís temperature continues to rise. This is why wearing protective clothing is a must.
Where does sunblock enter the equation? Sunblock helps protect the skin from sun damage, but it can also affect sweating. One trick is to wear long and loose clothing long enough to cover your skin from the sun and loose enough to not interfere with airflow and the evaporation of sweat.
And talking about clothes, do not over-think colors. They do not really matter as much as you might think they do. The common explanation is that light clothes reflect light, thus helping you stay cooler. But have you ever wondered why Bedouins wear long, black robes? Yet you also feel as if you are being fried under the sun when wearing a black shirt. The difference is in the thickness of the material. Bedouin robes are created from a heavy and thick material. Even if the outside feels very hot to the touch, its sheer thickness prevents heat from reaching the surface of the skin.
And what happens when your drink a hot liquid? What occurs inside the body when the hot liquid travels through different channels? You probably know that drinking hot cocoa increases your body’s temperature, which explains why you sweat after drinking it. This can be used to trick the body into thinking that you are hotter than you actually are. The result is that the body intensifies the body’s sweat production, which means there is a lot more sweat waiting to evaporate.