Posted: August 14, 2019 Contributor: Maddie Quinn
Why You Shouldn’t Sit Around In Sweaty Workout Clothes
After an intense spin class or hot yoga sesh, it can be tempting to just sit around in your workout clothes. Look, we get it. We’re all guilty of wanting to take a little breather sometimes. But if you consistently wait too long to take a shower—or at least change your clothes—wet workout clothing can lead to all kinds of health issues. In fact, sweaty workout clothing can cause acne, skin irritation, and even yeast infections. Find out more about the proper post-workout protocol to keep yourself healthy, clean, and confident.
Don’t risk a yeast infection
One of the risks of hanging out in sweaty clothes is that it makes you more prone to yeast infections. Yeast naturally lives on our skin and it thrives in moist, warm, humid environments. With that said, if you wear clothing and sweat in it, more yeast is going to thrive on that clothing the longer it stays wet.
This can happen whether you’re just sitting in sweaty clothing or if you put dirty clothes back on, especially on top of areas of the body that are more prone to growing yeast—like the groin, under the breasts, and other areas with skin folds. By re-wearing clothing, you are potentially introducing a higher level of yeast. These higher levels of yeast can lead to skin irritation, and various yeast-based conditions, like tinea versicolor (a relatively harmless infection that just causes skin discoloration), and pityrosporum folliculitis (aka fungal acne). If you start noticing an itching or burning sensation in the groin area, you may be experiencing a yeast infection.
What about re-wearing workout clothes?
Forget to re-pack your gym bag and thinking about re-wearing yesterday’s leggings? Think again. Not only does it put you at risk of smelling bad, but it can also cause other health issues. In fact, re-wearing the same gym clothes could increase your risk of skin irritation, especially if you are prone to inflammatory skin conditions, like acne or folliculitis (inflamed hair follicles).
That’s because these conditions often start with a pore getting clogged or obstructed with a particle, like skin cells, dirt, or debris. When you re-wear sweaty clothes without washing them, any bacteria and dirt from your clothes can transfer onto your skin and trigger an inflammatory response that causes acne and folliculitis. Bottom line? Wear a fresh set of workout clothes every time, regardless of how dirty you think they got during your last gym sesh.
The importance of showering directly after a workout
This should go without saying, but it’s very important to take a shower directly after working out—not only to help you smell fresh and clean but also to rinse off any bacteria that could lead to uncomfortable infections mentioned above. It might be helpful to think of your post-workout shower as part of your cool down. You just killed a workout and did something healthy for your body, so follow through and take some time after the gym so that you feel fresh, clean and confident for the rest of the day.
What if I don’t have time to shower?
We get it—we all have those days when we’re running late and don’t have time to do everything we should. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect hygiene completely. If all else fails and you’re unable to shower immediately after a workout, we recommend at least changing your clothes and washing your hands to remove any harmful bacteria. Just remember, your post-workout self-care is just as important as the workout itself!
Sources: SELF, Well and Good