Discover why showering after a workout is an essential and important skincare routine for maintaining skin health and avoiding sweat pimples, yeast infections, athlete’s foot, and hair loss. This simple step can get you up to speed on healthier skin and prevent skin issues.
Why is showering after a workout important for your skin?
When you workout your skin gets more blood flow that helps regulate your body temperature, which also dilates your skin pores and makes them more vulnerable to outside contaminants, makeup (if used), and your own sweat.
These factors block your pores if left in your skin for hours and humidity created from your sweat harbors bacteria that leads to many skin concerns. Showering right after a workout removes all of these skin irritants, bacteria, and fungus that damage your skin health.
Importance of body wash and shampoo ingredients
Side effects of not showering after a workout
The armpits, groin, and feet are areas that are more prone to bacteria overgrowth and consequently, you should always clean them thoroughly.
Many athletes who walk barefoot in common areas are at risk of athlete's foot, a fungal infection that is easily transmitted and common in gyms or locker rooms. To prevent this condition wear sandals in common areas and in the shower, when showering use an after workout body wash to clean in between your toes and soles.
Always pat dry with a towel your body, including your feet and I would advise using a hairdryer to remove any humidity in between your toes if you have previously suffered from athletes’ feet.
For more information visit this article by the American Academy of Dermatology Association - How to Prevent Athlete's Foot.
As for the armpits, if you don’t clean them after a workout they can start to smell (bacteria plus sweat and sebum release a characteristic odor). If you start staining your clothes yellow in the armpit area it indicates that you’re having a bacteria overgrowth and if your armpit hairs change color to yellow or white it is a fungal infection caused by high humidity and fungus.
The groin area is similar to the armpits but it is more susceptible to fungal infection if you don’t shower and dry the area afterwards. Jock itch is an itchy skin rash in the groin area that begins in the skin folds of the genital area and can spread to the upper inner thighs and may occur on both sides.
To learn more about this type of infection visit this article. This fungal infection can also come from your athlete’s foot infection secondary to scratching. To treat this condition you should visit your dermatologist.
Yeast infections are caused by candida, a normal fungus in your skin, that if it overgrows (sebum plus sweat are like super food to this fungus) leads to a skin rash in your groin area or any skin fold. Yeast infections are more common if you are diabetic and/or your immune response is low.
To prevent these skin infections just shower with an after workout body wash for sensitive skin or an after workout body wash for acne for oily and acne-prone skin, and pat dry these areas to remove all the humidity.
Sweat pimples are caused by sweat left for long periods of time which creates a perfect environment for bacteria growth and inflammation of your pores.
For more information be sure to check out our blog post on How to get rid of Sweat Pimples? Guide for Athletes where we explain the topic in more detail.
Hair damage or hair loss
Many athletes don’t want to clean their hair daily to avoid hair loss. When you workout sweat accumulates in your scalp and if left it can cause inflammation that shows as itchiness and flakes. You need to prevent inflammation as it causes hair loss.
For more information be sure to check out our blog post on How to Protect Hair from Chlorine? Athletes Guide, where we explain the topic in greater detail.
If you can’t shower after a workout try changing your clothes that are soaked in sweat, especially your underwear and socks to avoid excess humidity and all the side effects that were mentioned previously. It doesn’t replace a shower but it is better than not changing at all.
Other benefits of showering after a workout
Besides skincare, showering has other benefits for your body.
Taking a shower with cold water can help reduce muscle soreness and inflammation after an intense workout. The cold water helps constrict blood vessels, which can alleviate swelling and promote better recovery.
Showering after exercise can provide a sense of refreshment and relaxation, reducing stress levels and leaving you feeling rejuvenated. Haven’t you had your best ideas while showering and enjoying those needed post-workout endorphins?
Exercise raises your body temperature, and showering helps bring it back to a normal level. This is particularly important if you've been working out in hot or humid conditions to prevent heatstroke.
Improved Circulation: Alternating between warm and cool water in the shower can aid in blood circulation, promoting better blood flow to your muscles and throughout your body.
For those who exercise later in the day, a post-workout shower can promote better sleep by cooling down the body and signaling to your brain that it's time to relax and lower your stress levels.
Don't forget to hydrate properly after exercising, as showering doesn’t replenish lost fluids during your workout.
Is it better to shower with cold or hot water?
Cold water is always better for your skin. It helps constrict opened pores and makes them less vulnerable to outside irritants.
If you suffer from sensitive skin, hot water damages the integrity of your skin barrier, and skin allergens, and contaminants can enter and make your skin itchy and dry.
Hair follicles are also damaged by hot water and can result in frizz. Hot water is better for relaxing your muscles post-workout.
Hot water helps increase your circulation to your muscles (by dilating the vessels that nurture them), removing lactate, the culprit of muscle fatigue, and delivering nutrients and oxygen that your muscles need after a workout. Read more about the physiology of lactate removal in this article. Too much hot water or a prolonged shower with hot water can lead to inflammation of your muscles.
What I would recommend is to start your shower with cold water to lower your body temperature, then use hot water briefly and finish with cold water that stops muscle inflammation and is healthier for your skin. If possible, always clean your hair with only cold water to seal your hair cuticles and avoid frizz.
Showering post-workout is fundamental for skin health and even to avoid muscle fatigue. Take control of your skincare by preventing common athletes’ skin infections and see the difference with our product line. Not sure which product is better for you? Complete this quiz in less than 2 minutes and see which products are best for you.