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Is It Bad to Stay in Sweaty Clothes?

Get a Bit Sweaty at the Gym? Do Yourself a Favor and Change Clothes ASAP — Here's Why

Sweating is natural and inevitable after an intense workout, on a hot day, or when your crush walks by. (No? Maybe just us.) And because it's controlled by your autonomic nervous system, sometimes you have no idea you're even sweating. But there are definitely times you know, and even put yourself in a situation to sweat.

Sweating is a good thing — it regulates body temperature and is totally essential for day-to-day life. It makes you feel good when you leave the gym or have a great sex session. It's like magical little beads of dew glistening atop your skin.

However, there are definitely consequences to staying in sweaty clothes too long. Besides odor, there are some other . . . um . . . side effects, said Dr. Mary Sheu, MD, assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, director of the cosmetic and laser program at Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology, and medical director of Johns Hopkins Dermatology and Cosmetic Center at Green Spring Station, in an email to POPSUGAR.


"You really should change as soon as possible after sweating or else you are susceptible to irritant rashes, acne/folliculitis, and a bacterial or yeast infection," she said.

Dr. Sheu also explained that the clothing choice can help with the consequences of staying in sweaty clothes for a prolonged period of time. She suggested you choose those pieces of clothing that are moisture-wicking, especially for a workout or active situation. "Quick-dry and breathable clothing tends to be better and less harmful," she said.

However, if you can't get yourself into fresh clothes right away, Dr. Sheu offered a few tips for ensuring that effects are minimized or prevented in general.

"If possible, try to towel off and use a cleansing towelette if available," she said. "Shed outer layers, if possible, to dry off. And if you're acne-prone, such as on the back, swiping the area with a salicylic acid pad can help," Dr. Sheu said.

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