It’s 5pm and you finally get to leave the office and head to the gym. You change your clothes in the gym toilets and get started on your gruelling one-hour workout that has you sweating like it’s the middle of summer. As you arrive home, you check your calendar and realise that you have a dinner tomorrow night, which means you have to hit the gym in the morning. Do you: A) chuck you workout clothes in the wash and get out fresh ones for your groggy wakeup; or B) take a shower and hang your gym clothes on the doorknob, ready for you to re-wear in the morning?
Quite a tricky one isn’t it? One the one hand, you would have less washing to do if you just re-wore your sweaty clothes, who would know anyway? But on the other, is it a little gross and can it affect your body?
There are many opinions on this issue, and they are generally polar opposites. Some think it’s okay to re-wear gym clothes because you’re only putting your sweat back on and you’ll just be getting sweatier anyway. Others think that this is gross, because you are wearing clothes that have already been saturated with sweat and they might feel or smell a little off.
Everyone has a personal preference, however, re-wearing gym gear that has become sweaty can add extra bacteria to your skin and make you more susceptible to breakouts and yeast infections. Breathable fabrics such as cotton, which soak up your sweat, are not as bad for you to re-wear as polyester ‘sweat-wicking’ workout clothes. Polyester clothes that have become sweaty have a larger chance of encouraging the growth of Micrococci, a bacteria that often makes your sweat smell worse. By re-wearing workout clothes, you are putting stinky bacteria onto your skin.
Re-wearing workout clothes can also contribute to yeast infections, and no, they don’t just affect your downstairs. You can be affected by a yeast infection in places where you sweat a lot or where the skin folds, like under your armpits or breasts.
Adding extra bacteria to your skin by re-wearing sweaty workout clothes can also clog pores and cause breakouts, especially on the areas that are drenched in sweat for long periods of time, such as your back and chest.
In fact, you should be getting out of your gym clothes as soon as you can and throwing them in the wash before you take a warm shower to wash off the sweaty bacteria. This will help to keep your body clean and avoid any infections or breakouts.
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