When you exercise, your body produces sweat, which is a natural process of regulating your body temperature. Sweat, however, can cause unpleasant body odor and make you feel dirty. While taking a shower after a workout is the most obvious solution, there are times when it's just not feasible. Whether you're on the go or don't have access to a shower facility, there are ways to freshen up and get away without showering after a workout.
In this article, we'll explore some simple yet effective ways to help you feel clean and fresh after a workout without having to take a shower.
By following these tips, you can still maintain good hygiene and feel confident even when you can't take a shower after a workout. So, whether you're rushing to work or headed to a social event, keep reading to discover how to get away without showering after a workout.
First of all, just drink some water and use a decent deodorant
Relax, advises Robert Silverman, if you're sweaty from working out but don't have time for a shower. As a sports dietitian who frequently works with elite athletes, I am aware that perspiration is extremely unlikely to harm your health or your skin. Dehydration is more of a concern to me, so make sure you replenish your lost fluids.
After your workout, bacteria will start working on the perspiration in your armpits and other areas, breaking down the protein in it into acids. This will happen within a few hours. You'll begin to emit that icky locker room odor as they proceed. It's crucial to take care of those regions of your body if you can't take a shower right away after working out and are worried about smelling good.
"You can avoid body odor after exercise just by using a baby wipe or even a damp paper towel on your armpits and other areas to remove the sweat," Silverman advises. "Shaving the underarms lowers the likelihood of body odor there. It also helps to wear airy, natural textiles that allow the skin to breathe.
Eva Glasrud, a psychologist and life counselor at The Happy Talent, concurs that taking a shower immediately after working out is not always necessary. There is no need to take a shower right away unless you're wrestling or rolling around on mats that are known to contain fungus, ringworm, or staph, according to Glasrud.
“When you shower, basically nothing happens,” Glasrud says. “You wash away sweat and dirt, but the bacteria count on your skin doesn’t really change. Hence, you feel clean — but, biologically, you’re the same.
“Remember, our bodies evolved in a world without instant sanitizer,” Glasrud continues. “They are well-equipped to handle a bit of dirt or sweat on your skin. What I usually do is splash some water on my face to get the salt off and shower when it’s most convenient — tonight, tomorrow… whenever. And never forget to wash your hands. Whether you’re using weights or machines or indoor climbing walls, a lot of people have been touching the equipment you’re using.”
None of this is to say it’s preferable to wait hours until you shower. If the opportunity to cleanse sweat from your skin presents itself, David E. Bank, founder of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, is on the side of washing so that your pores do not become clogged with dirt and oil.
“There is no precise time that it takes for the sweat to block the pores,” says Bank. “The sooner you can shower, the better. Showering after exercise, especially if you sweat excessively, should be as essential to your routine as your workout for several reasons. The first is your hygiene: No one wants to smell you or your workout on you! Also, if sweat builds up on your skin, it will clog your pores, not allowing your skin to breathe. And if you have a cut or skin abrasion, sweat can get trapped in there and can cause an infection.”
So, like anything, use your best judgment (and give yourself a sniff to make sure you’re cool with how you smell). But otherwise you can go about your day and do your thing with the knowledge that your shower will still be there, warm and inviting, when you get home. Do what you have to after a workout, and don’t feel like you need to pull a superman change and spend the rest of the day with that sad wet ponytail look.
Just keep baby wipes and face wipes handy, and just don’t wait 24 hours before you finally bathe. It’s going to be fine.