Mary Futher, Founder of kaia naturals

Clean beauty industry maven Mary Futher founded kaia naturals® after spending 20 years working for global beauty companies. Mary now shares her weekly column, delivering a quick fix, home remedy, or clean beauty product suggestion for a variety of human discomforts that some may find too embarrassing to discuss.

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I was having a discussion with my team at kaia naturals recently and one of the girls mentioned that she gets very itchy whenever she exercises, usually on her arms where she has eczema. She did not realize that the itchiness was from sweat drying on her skin. This is one of many issues that happen when you leave sweat on your skin.

You could be inviting bacteria that is detrimental to your skin when you don’t shower after exercise. With that in mind, I am going to tell you what sweat does to your skin and how to prevent these skin conditions from appearing in the first place.

Sweat is 99% water, and the rest is sodium chloride, lactic acid and urea. Before I talk about the negative effects of sweat, I want to clarify that sweating is good for you. It’s when it is left to dry on your skin that it attracts bacteria that can cause redness, acne flare-ups, and clogged pores.

Sweat is harmless for the most part, but you need to know that when you don’t wash off after the gym, these skin conditions can arise:

Heat Rashes

When you don’t shower within two or three hours, you are more likely to contract bacterial infections on your skinHeat rashes are the most common since they occur whenever bacteria and sweat come into contact on the body.

Back Acne

No one wants to talk about this and find it embarrassing, but sweat can produce acne problems, particularly on your back. When sweat is mixed with bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus and yeast infections such as pityrosporum, they cause inflamed follicles that appear as acne-like lesions on your face and torso.

Eczema

This is a more serious skin condition that is not caused by sweat per se, but it does aggravate it. If you have eczema, exercise can make it worse because when you sweat, the moisture evaporates to cool you down and causes your skin to dry out. This leaves a salty residue that irritates it further. It can even make you feel itchy during your workout.

Yeast Infections

Yes, I am going there. When you sweat, sensitive areas such as your breasts, groin, and underarms are more likely to come into contact with bacteria since they have folds. They are the perfect condition for harboring candida yeasts, which can develop into a yeast infection unfortunately.

this is what happens when you don't shower after a workout

I Don’t Have Time to Shower, So What Do I Do?

You probably feel like you have to sacrifice your midday workout after reading that list. You don’t have to worry though because we have some tried and true tips to help you get fresh and remove the salt and bacteria from your skin without taking too much time away from your day:

 

Guard Yourself against Sweat

The salt and acidity in perspiration can dry out your skin, so your best bet is to always keep a towel on you so that you can wipe off the sweat as you work out or a cleansing cloth such as, the vitamin cleanse. Don’t use your shirt to wipe away sweat because you are still transferring sweat to your skin. 

Another way to guard yourself against sweat is through your scalp. By applying the takesumi overnight dry shampoo before a workout, the product will work to absorb sweat and oils away from the scalp. 

 

Wear the Right Clothing

Your workout gear needs to be light and breathable so sweat can evaporate off your body. Consider the following options:

  • Cotton is ideal since it is the softest on your skin.
  • Get clothes one size larger so that they don’t rub against your skin.
  • Consider wearing your clothes inside out so that the seams don’t rub against you.
  • Wear sweat wicking sports clothing. It will take trial and error to get it right.
  • Wear layers so that you can strip them off as you warm up so you don’t overheat.
  • Always wash your clothes after your wear them. Don’t let them stink and fester in your gym bag only to put them back on for your next workout.

If you have any other quick hacks for the gym, please share them with us down below. We would love to hear from you!

10 second quickies

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