So many times would it have happened to you or to your friends that the moment they take anything spicy, they start to sweat and often people are a bit embarrassed or funny themselves or by their friends bringing their attention to their sweating.
So what is the reason for this phenomenon?
Sweating that occurs on consuming spicy food is called “gustatory sweating”. This sweating commonly occurs on the forehead, face, upper lips and chin. The reason explained is that the nerve receptors in the skin are excited by the spicy food especially by the capsaicin which is one of the primary ingredients in chili peppers. This results in stimulation or activation of nerves that are stimulated by mild increase in temperature. Such activation results in the feeling of warmth and as a result the body starts to produce sweat. Another reason is that such stimulation also produces Acetylcholine (neurochemical in human body) which produces sweating.
However in people who have undergone some surgery or injury in face area can develop Frey’s syndrome in which sweating occurs only to one side of the face due to the damage of nerves in that particular area. This sweating will occur even if the person sees, thinks or talks about favorite foods that produce increase in saliva levels. Frey’s syndrome can be congenital as well.
Written by Muhammad Wasif Haq (2010)
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