With COVID-19 vaccination rates increasing, more people are heading back to the gym. Aside from the obvious health benefits of going, there are however some things to be aware of in regards to your skin.
As you may know, gyms can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Some of which, can lead to a number of different skin infections. These include:
- Fungal Infections – Whether it’s ringworm or athlete’s foot, these funguses thrive in wet/moist environments. Locker rooms and showers are the most common places for these to be located.
- Bacterial Infections – This mainly includes staph or folliculitis. Both of which are usually transmitted through open cuts, wounds, sores, or even a hair follicle root.
- Viral Infections – Plantar warts are the most common. These can get in through open wounds or cuts in the feet.
Pretty shocking stuff to say the least. So, what are some things you can do to protect your skin the next time you go to the gym? The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends these tips:
1) Clean and disinfect all equipment/weights before & after use. Although it’s been determined by health officials that surface sanitization isn’t of the utmost importance when it comes to COVID-19, it does have a lot of significance for the skin. A recent study conducted by FitRated determined that there are 362 times more bacteria on free weights than on a toilet seat.
2) Always wash or sanitize your hands. This one goes without explanation.
3) Wear loose-fitting, moisture-wicking clothes. This will help keep the skin dry and prevent bacteria from growing. Remember to wash gym clothes after each wear.
4) Always wear footwear in locker rooms and showers (especially around pools). Keep a pair of shower shoes, flip-flops, or sandals in your gym bag. Never walk around barefoot in a gym!
5) Keep any cuts clean and covered. Avoid using saunas, steam rooms, and hot tubs until your wound is healed.
6) Shower as soon as possible after. When done showering, put on clean clothes, including clean socks and underwear. And never share personal care items, including towels and razors.
All in all, if you find yourself getting back into the routine of going to the gym again, don’t forget the health of your skin.
Source: The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)