Do workouts sometimes leave you pressed for time? If you've considered skipping the shower, you're not alone. Check out these expert tips to help you pull it off without feeling too grungy.
During the workout
Dress to be cool. Suzanne Jackson, a Salt Lake City-based personal trainer, says successful cleanup after your workout begins with your attire. She suggests wearing shorts and breathable tanks to minimize sweating. Positioning yourself near a fan helps as well, she says.
Do your hair. You can also keep cool by pulling your hair away from your face and neck. A simple bun, braid, or ponytail will do, but to reduce the risk of breakage, Brynn Crockett, Utah-based hairstylist and beauty educator, recommends the Invisibobble hair ring. She says the telephone cord look-alike is an amazing product that keeps hair in place while protecting it from unsightly dents and breakage.
Use two towels. One way to keep your skin healthy is to use two towels: one to wipe the equipment and one to wipe your face. Make sure the face towel doesn't touch any gym surfaces by marking one side with an “X” so it is the side you place down, says Joel Schlessinger, MD, an Omaha-based dermatologist and president of LovelySkin.com.
After the workout
It’s game time! Follow these tips from industry pros and experts to get shower-fresh in 10 minutes or less:
Body (2 to 4 minutes)
Ditch the dirty duds. First things first: get out of your sweaty workout clothing right away. Dr. Schlessinger says, "Changing workout clothing is always a good idea. " He explains that showering first is best but adds, "If showering is absolutely impossible, a change of clothing is still better than doing nothing." According to Angela Lamb, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, “Keeping sweaty clothes in place can lead to an overgrowth of yeast on the skin, which can in turn lead to infections.”
Towel off. Dr. Lamb recommends drying off with a clean dry towel. “Adding some baby wipes on the ‘smelly’ areas might help, too. Washing at least your face, though, is really a must.”
Freshen up. Dr. Schlessinger and Dr. Lamb both recommend dusting the surface of your skin with a light powder. For added freshness, Dr. Schlessinger recommends Zeasorb, a line of powders for athlete's foot and chafing prevention.
Hair (1 to 3 minutes)
Go au naturel. Crockett asserts, "I would just stress that it's not good to wash your hair every day, even if you're working out." She explains that doing so causes extra protein buildup, which weakens hair, making it super tender and prone to breakage. Bonus: skipping traditional shampoo saves a ton of time! Make sure to use a dry shampoo instead to soak up sweat, moisture, and odors.
Spray away. The best way to apply the dry shampoo, according to Crockett, is to spray it all over your hair, brush it through, and then finish it off with a quick blow-dry. Try Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo, suggests Crocket. While any spray-dry shampoo will work, she especially likes this one, which pairs well with Amika Silken Up Dry Conditioner for a silky and refreshed look.
In a pinch, you can also use baby powder or cornstarch. Simply pat a small amount into your roots, rub it in, and brush it out as needed.
Face (1 to 3 minutes)
Keep makeup minimal. This will help you maintain a natural, healthy glow. And what if you glow too much? If your face gets super red from exercise, try this handy tip from Popsugar.com Place some ice or a cold water bottle on the side of your neck (near the carotid artery) to cool the blood going to your face .
Total time to get ready: 4 to 10 minutes
Should you skip the post-workout shower?
We spoke to Joel Schlessinger, MD, about the safety of skipping a shower. According to him, there are definitely some safety concerns due to the high level of germs found in gyms. "What I have seen as a dermatologist is that there are alarming increases in incidents of infections, and many of them, I personally believe, are tied to workouts in the gym and unclean equipment."
Dr. Schlessinger says that staph aureus bacteria and MRSA (a more serious form of staph) infections are on the rise, especially among gym rats and athletes, but there are some simple steps you can take to mitigate your risk and still save time. The most important thing is to wash your hands before leaving the gym. "I would never, ever leave the gym without washing your hands and your face," he says.
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