Q: My wife keeps bugging me to peel off my exercise clothes the minute I get in the house, but I like to take my time, cool down and have something to eat first. Can you give me some ammo to combat her insistence?
The short answer? No.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), while sweating is a healthy way to expel impurities and regulate body temperature, it can clog pores and cause breakouts and other skin problems. Depending on your skin type, hanging out in sweaty clothes post-workout could cause a fungal infection on your feet because of your damp socks, a rash on your torso from that so-wet-it-sticks-to-your-skin T-shirt, or just a malodor. Perspiration can also accumulate in your skin folds and may clog pores, causing heat rash and pimples.
Although your sweat is mostly water, when it mixes with the bacteria and other microbes in your skin biome it can help irritants flourish. That's because sweat contains fatty acids and skin cells that your skin bacteria like to dine on — and it's their "digestion" that causes stinky, sweaty odors.
5 Post-Work Out Tips
- Don't wear tight-fitting workout clothes that can rub against moist skin and speed irritation.
- To reduce the risk of irritation from sweat, choose workout clothes that wick moisture away from the skin and dry quickly.
- Even without COVID-19, it's smart when exercising at a gym to use a clean towel to dry off frequently while you exercise and to disinfect shared equipment to avoid spreading germs.
- Remove damp workout clothes as soon as possible. Rinse or wash them out and allow to dry thoroughly.
- Pop in the shower to rinse off sweat, oils and bacteria and to keep pores from clogging up. If you cannot shower right away, at least wash your face and skin with a cleansing pad containing salicylic acid, advises the AAD.