Have you had a long, stressful day at work? Are you ready to unwind yourself? Step into a red-hot sauna and feel your body relax as all your worries evaporate with the hot steam caressing your body.
Saunas are the perfect spaces for enhancing your physical and emotional wellbeing. Originating from Finland and the Scandinavian world, they have become a popular feature in gyms and fitness centers worldwide. However, the first thought that arises in one’s mind before taking a trip to the sauna is what to wear in a sauna to maximize the benefits of the sauna as much as possible.
What to wear in a Sauna?
What to wear in a Home Sauna or a Portable Sauna?
The dress code for saunas can be summed up in a simple phrase: ‘wear as little as possible’. Scandinavians believe that the benefits of saunas can be best utilized wearing nothing at all so that every inch of your body feels the steam engulfing it and can thus, experience the pleasures of consequential sweating.
However, it is advised to loosely wrap a cotton towel around your waist to prevent the bench from getting contaminated with the sweat and bacteria excreted out of your body. The cotton fabric allows the towel to absorb the fluids and bacteria excreted out. In addition to this, the temperatures inside the sauna can rise to 180-190 Fahrenheit, causing the wooden benches to heat up. Hence, a towel is ideal for protecting your skin from hot seating which can burn your skin.
What to wear in a Sauna at Gyms or Fitness Centers?
The ultimate goal of a sauna is to make its visitors feel comfortable and allow them to enjoy it to the fullest. However, if you are not fortunate enough to own a private home sauna or a portable one-person sauna, you will likely not feel comfortable nude at a public sauna. Furthermore, many social norms also restrict people from exposing their bodies and being at ease in little clothing. Thus, we will now discover other clothing options for public saunas at gyms and fitness centers:
Swimsuits and Bikinis for women can be a practical clothing choice for a sauna as they can help you cover up and can be more appropriate for most cultures than going just in a loosely fitted towel. However, they can prove detrimental to your health if not chosen correctly. Avoid swimsuits that are tightly fitted as it can result in difficulty in breathing and can also lead to suffocation due to excessive heat and humidity.
In addition to this, swimsuits made of natural fibers are advised as PVC materials can melt under extreme heat and release toxins and chemical fumes. It is also of utmost importance to ensure that the swimsuit does not have any dangling metal pieces which can get extremely hot and leave burn marks on your skin. Moreover, a two-piece swimsuit is preferred over a one-piece swimsuit as it exposes more skin to the benefits of steam caressing it.
2. Cotton Clothing
If you do not feel comfortable in swimsuits in public, then you can go with loosely fitted cotton clothing. Cotton is the recommended choice of material due to its absorbency, as mentioned above, and its softness and lightweight nature which makes breathing easy. This can include cotton shorts, oversized cotton t-shirts, and loose cotton pants. You can also use cotton sleepwear, but you must ensure that it is clean and washed as dirty clothes can compromise the hygienic atmosphere of the sauna.
Furthermore, cotton bathrobes are also a good alternative. Its loose-fitted nature makes it perfect for utilizing the benefits a sauna offers. It also allows the steam to penetrate through and touch as much of your body as possible, resulting in soothing your skin. Also, avoid undergarments, especially bra, to avoid unease resulting from high temperatures and humidity.
Wearing shoes inside a public sauna is not advised, especially your everyday shoes which have been worn outdoors. This will bring in dirt and make something extremely clean into an impure and unsanitary practice. However, you can wear shower shoes to avoid slippery floors as they are clean and will keep the sauna pristine.
Moreover, having shoes on while sitting on the benches with other users is deemed rude and unethical. Hence, avoid shoes and if you come in with shower shoes, take them off before sitting on the benches.
What to wear in a sauna to lose weight?
For many people sauna is not just a form of relaxation but also a form of exercise that reduces the extra body mass and detoxifies the body. Infrared saunas are primarily known for their weight loss properties. This brings us to the pieces of clothing which can be worn to enhance these remarkable weight loss benefits – sauna suits and sauna belts.
1. Sauna Suits
These waterproof tracksuits hold the heat in, causing your body to sweat more profusely, resulting in increased weight loss. Research has shown that people who wear these suits in a sauna lose more body fat and their waists shrink more than people who do not.
2. Sauna Belts
These are similar to corsets and are made of rubber or PVC materials, and just like the suits, they increase weight loss by retaining the heat. However, the belts are more efficient in reducing water weight rather than calories and body fat. These belts can also prove to be very remarkable in relieving back pains and muscle pains, resulting in immeasurable pleasure. Nevertheless, it must be kept in mind that the belt cannot be used during long sessions as it is made of PVC materials which can heat up and release toxic fumes.
What to wear in an Infrared Sauna?
Many people get confused between infrared and traditional saunas. While conventional saunas use steam to heat the air around you, infrared saunas emit wavelengths that your body absorbs without heating up the room.
The question that arises is what should one be wearing in an infrared sauna? The answer does not differ from what one should be wearing in a traditional sauna. Try to wear as little as possible and if you are not comfortable with that, go for cotton towels, loosely fitted cotton clothes, or swimsuits without metal dangling pieces as mentioned above.
What not to wear in a sauna?
As we have now discussed what to wear at a sauna, we will now be moving on to what ‘not’ to wear. Here are a few of the don’ts listed:
1. Do not wear gym clothes at a sauna:
The basic step for using saunas at gyms and fitness centers is first to take off your everyday clothes and shower to remove all the dust and dirt accumulated on your body throughout the day. Otherwise, the steam will release it into the air, making the atmosphere unhygienic. Furthermore, gym wear made of PVC fabric is the wrong choice. Hence, if you are entering a sauna after an extensive workout session, it is critical that you take off your sweaty gym clothes and take a shower before stepping into the sauna.
2. Do not wear makeup:
One of the primary rules of using the sauna is to use it bare face. Sweating during the sauna opens the pores in your skin and excretes out the dirt. However, if you are wearing makeup, the makeup can drive into the open pores resulting in clogged pores and acne breakouts.
3. Do not apply lotions or moisturizers:
Like makeup, lotions, and moisturizers will also clog the open pores of your skin and result in acne or allergic reactions.
4. Do not wear metal jewelry or piercings:
As discussed above, the temperature inside a sauna can get extremely high and cause metals to heat up. Thus, it is advised to remove all sorts of jewelry and piercings, including nose, ear, and belly, as they can burn your skin.
To get the maximum benefits and experience ultimate enjoyment, wearing nothing at all in a sauna is the best way. However, as this unconventional approach goes against many socio-cultural norms, you have various other alternatives available. Remember, choose the one in which you are most comfortable, as the primary goal of the sauna is to provide you with relaxation, comfort, and pure bliss.
Hi People! My name is Monica Khemsurov, and I am the founder of SaunaSavant. I am Finnish, a professional swimmer, and a lifelong sauna & spa enthusiast. In this blog, I will share my insights, suggestions, and recommendations on everything related to saunas and indoor living. Please let me know (through the contact box) if you have any feedback. Cheers!