Measure the sweat you can’t see

About the episode

Sweat biomarkers can tell doctors more and more about our health. Only, not all the sweat could be measured so far.

What you see forming on the skin after a few vigorous workouts isn’t a problem for existing sensors, but there is another kind of sweat. The variant that leaves the skin in the form of water vapour. A much smaller amount of this leaves the body, even when you are not exercising.

According to the researchers, this form of sweat provides important insights into the condition of the skin and the underlying processes in the body. Think about the state of eczema and wound healing, but also pain and fear.

To be able to measure this type of sweat, researchers have developed a new sensor that can be stuck to the skin like a bandage. The sensor is made of a super absorbent hydrogel on a porous material sandwiched between two layers of water repellent fabric. This way, sweat vapor can easily reach the sensor, but is not affected by sweat drops.

Early tests with humans look good, the researchers say. It remains to be seen what exactly they want to measure with.

Read more about research here: A superhydrophobic biosensor could measure sweat vapors on the body.

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