July 22, 2024

This is what happens to your body when you ‘forget’ to wash after a workout

While your colleagues may not be able to tell you’ve skipped the post-workout shower, your body definitely won’t be forgetting anytime soon. GLAMOUR spoke to Dr Emeka Okorocha, who is a Brand Ambassador for the artificial-intelligence-based fitness and lifestyle coaching appFreeletics, to find out the six main side-effects that missing a post-workout wash has on your body.

For many of us, one of the great benefits of working from home is that we have more time to exercise. Without any dastardly commutes to navigate, our mornings can be spent doing anything from HIIT, to taking the dog for an extra loop around the block. But before we plonk ourselves down in front of our laptops, there’s often one vital step we’ve already missed.

Of course, we’re talking about taking a shower, or a bath if we’re really ramping up the self-care.

Dr Emeka explains that, “Sweat glands can be found all around your body and produce sweat when you’re overheated and when you’re working out, as this aids the evaporation on the skin and cools the body down.

“Poor hygiene results in a massive build-up of dead cells, sweat, bacteria and dirt on the skin. So, it makes sense that missed showers after hard, sweaty workouts can cause problems. ”

Here are the top six problems that Dr Emeka identified:

  • Exacerbation of dermatological conditions such as acne eczema or psoriasis, putting you at risk of dermatitis neglect and developing patches of plaque on the skin. Hyperpigmentation can also occur when you don’t wash off dead skin cells which stick to your body changing your complexion. Although this condition can take weeks, or even months, to set in, it can also lead to a bad smell and is one of the early warning signs of more serious issues.
  • Body odour can be caused by sweat and bacteria when left too long without showering. A medical myth is that sweat smells, however sweat doesn’t actually smell, it’s odourless. The smell comes from when the sweat is combined with bacteria that naturally lives on the surface of the skin and only then do you get that odour that people tend to call B. O.
  • Skin infections caused by the build-up of bacteria on the skin that doesn’t get washed off during showering. If there is injury to any of the skin layers, this can cause frequent skin infections leading to cellulitis. Cellulitis can be prevented, but if it is one of the more severe cases it has to be treated by antibiotics.
  • Irritable skin can also be caused by not showering. The natural oils our skin secretes combines with dirt and pollutants causing irritated, inflamed, itchy skin.
  • Increased sunburn exposure is another risk if you don’t shower after a workout. When we sweat, there is reduced UV protection. So, during the summer months particularly, make sure that you are showering the sweat off your body or at the very least put on some extra sun cream.
  • Risk of yeast infections. Not showering usually goes hand in hand with staying in your sweaty gym clothes. If you do this for a full day after a morning workout, it could put you at risk of a yeast infection. So, showering with water is a must if you want to avoid any discomfort down there!

If you don’t have the time or facilities to shower straight after a workout, Dr Emeka recommends wiping your body down with a wet towel instead. Sounds easy enough, right?

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