What to Wear in a Sauna? (and What Not to Wear)

What to Wear in a Sauna? (and What Not to Wear)

Whether you’re going to a public sauna or have your own sauna, knowing what to wear is important for health, hygiene, and safety.

 

Is it Important to Dress Differently in a Sauna?

 

Saunas offer a multitude of health benefits, from relaxation and muscle recovery to improved circulation and detoxification. But unlike your typical gym session, a sauna requires a specific approach to attire. Here’s why dressing differently in a sauna is important for comfort, hygiene, and safety:

  • Comfort: Saunas reach temperatures between 150-195 degrees Fahrenheit (65-90 degrees Celsius). Wearing bulky clothing in this intense heat can be stifling and hinder your body’s ability to regulate temperature.  Loose-fitting, breathable fabrics like cotton, linen, or wool allow for proper airflow and sweat evaporation, keeping you cool and comfortable throughout your sauna session.

  • Hygiene: Saunas promote sweating, a natural detoxification process. However, sweat can trap bacteria if it’s not absorbed properly.  Synthetic materials often used in workout clothes tend to trap moisture, creating an environment for bacterial growth.  Natural fibers like cotton and linen are much more absorbent, promoting sweat evaporation and minimizing hygiene concerns.

  • Safety:  Choosing the right attire in a sauna is crucial for safety. Here’s why:

    • Heat Regulation: Saunas are designed to raise your body temperature, but overheating can be dangerous. Loose-fitting clothing allows your body to sweat effectively, a key mechanism for regulating internal temperature. Restrictive clothing can trap heat and make it difficult for your body to cool down, increasing the risk of heat stroke.

    • Material Safety: Certain materials can be hazardous in a sauna’s high heat. Avoid synthetic fabrics like nylon or polyester that may melt or stick to your skin when exposed to extreme temperatures. Natural fibers or wool are safer choices.

    • Jewelry: Metal jewelry conducts heat and can burn your skin in a sauna. It’s best to remove all jewelry before entering.
  • Public Sauna Etiquette:  In addition to the safety considerations above, public saunas often have specific guidelines regarding attire to ensure a respectful experience for all patrons.  A swimsuit or a large towel wrapped securely around your body is the standard attire in most public saunas. This not only promotes hygiene but also respects the personal space and comfort of others using the sauna.

 

What to Wear in a Sauna?

 

Stepping into a sauna is all about maximizing comfort and reaping the health benefits of a good sweat. But unlike your usual workout routine, saunas require a shift in your clothing choices. Here’s where fabric selection becomes key. Let’s explore the types of fabrics that will make your sauna experience truly blissful:

  • Natural Fibers are Your Best Friends:  When it comes to sauna attire, natural fibers like cotton, linen, or wool reign supreme.  These fabrics boast several advantages:

    • Breathability: Natural fibers allow your skin to breathe freely, promoting airflow and preventing that stifling feeling in the sauna’s heat.

    • Sweat Absorption: Saunas are all about sweating, and natural fibers are champions at absorbing moisture. This keeps you feeling cool and comfortable by allowing sweat to evaporate effectively.

    • Softness and Comfort: The natural texture of these fabrics provides a gentle and comfortable feel against your skin, enhancing your overall sauna experience.

  • Skip the Synthetics:  While workout clothes might be your go-to at the gym, synthetic fabrics like nylon or polyester are a poor choice for saunas. Here’s why:

    • Heat Trapping: Synthetics tend to trap heat instead of allowing it to escape. This can make you feel uncomfortably hot and hinder your body’s natural cooling process.

    • Moisture Wicking, Not Absorbing: While some synthetic materials wick moisture away from the skin, they don’t necessarily absorb it. This can leave you feeling sweaty and clammy throughout your sauna session.

    • Potential Discomfort: The synthetic materials used in workout clothes can feel rough or irritating against your skin, especially when hot and damp.

By opting for natural fibers, you ensure a comfortable, breathable, and absorbent experience that allows you to fully enjoy the therapeutic benefits of a sauna.

 

What Should Men Wear in a Sauna?

 

When it comes to sauna attire for men, comfort, hygiene, and public etiquette are key considerations. Here’s a breakdown of what works best:

Loose-fitting Options

  • Cotton or Linen Swim Trunks/Board Shorts: These are a classic and comfortable choice for public saunas. Opt for loose-fitting styles that allow for air circulation and movement.

  • Lightweight Cotton Shorts: If you prefer more coverage, a pair of loose-fitting cotton shorts made for lounging or sleepwear can be a good option, especially in private saunas.

Towel

  • Large Cotton Towel: A large cotton towel is a versatile option. You can wrap it around your waist for modesty, use it to sit on for hygiene, or drape it over your shoulders for added comfort.

Underwear (Optional)

  • Cotton Boxer Briefs: While optional, some men prefer to wear a pair of breathable cotton boxer briefs for added comfort and modesty. Opt for loose-fitting styles to avoid constriction in the heat.

Remember:

  • Public vs. Private Saunas: In public saunas, a swimsuit or a securely wrapped towel is the standard attire.

  • Safety First: Avoid synthetic materials, jewelry, and tight-fitting clothing in all saunas for safety reasons.

  • Comfort is King: Choose breathable, loose-fitting garments that allow for sweat absorption and airflow.

Bonus Tip: Consider packing a spare towel to dry off with after your sauna session.

 

What Should Women Wear in a Sauna?

 

Just like men, comfort, hygiene, and public etiquette are key considerations for women’s sauna attire. Here are some options that ensure a relaxing and enjoyable experience:

Swimwear

  • Bikini or One-Piece Swimsuit: A well-fitting swimsuit made from breathable cotton or a cotton blend is a great choice for public saunas. Opt for styles that provide enough coverage while still allowing for proper airflow and sweat absorption.
  • Tankini: A tankini with a loose-fitting swim bottom offers a comfortable and modest option, especially for those who prefer more coverage.

Towel Options

  • Large Cotton Towel: Similar to men, a large cotton towel is a versatile choice for women. You can wrap it around your body for privacy, use it as a seat cover, or drape it over your shoulders for additional comfort.

  • Sarong: A sarong made from a lightweight, breathable fabric like cotton or linen can be a stylish and comfortable alternative to a towel. Wrap it securely around your body for modesty.

Underwear (Optional)

  • Cotton Sports Bra or Bralette: For added comfort and support, some women prefer to wear a breathable cotton sports bra or bralette during their sauna session.

  • Cotton Brief Underwear: Similar to men, some women may choose to wear loose-fitting cotton brief underwear for additional modesty, especially in public saunas.

Remember:

  • Public vs. Private Saunas: In public saunas, a swimsuit or a securely wrapped towel is the standard attire.
  • Safety First: Avoid synthetic materials, jewelry, and tight-fitting clothing in all saunas for safety reasons.
  • Comfort is Key: Choose breathable, loose-fitting garments that allow for sweat absorption and airflow.

Bonus Tip: Consider bringing a small washcloth to wipe away sweat during your sauna session.

 

 

What to Wear in a Sauna to Lose Weight

 

Many people use saunas as part of their overall health and wellness routine, and some even incorporate them into their weight management plans. While spending time in a sauna won’t magically melt away pounds, it can contribute to a feeling of lightness and support your weight management efforts in a few ways. Here’s how your sauna attire can play a role:

  • Sweat it Up!:  Saunas raise your body temperature, causing you to sweat. Sweating is a natural way for your body to cool down, and while it doesn’t directly burn calories, it can help you feel lighter and more refreshed.

  • Comfort is Crucial: When you’re sweating it out in a sauna, feeling comfortable is key.  Loose-fitting, breathable clothing made from natural fibers like cotton or linen allows for better sweat absorption and airflow. This not only keeps you cool but also helps your body regulate its temperature more efficiently.

  • Focus on Hydration: Remember, the weight you lose during a sauna session is mostly water weight. It’s important to rehydrate properly afterward to avoid dehydration.

What to Wear?

  • Think Light and Loose: Opt for a loose-fitting cotton t-shirt or tank top paired with cotton shorts or a wrap skirt.

  • Towel Time: Bring a large cotton towel to sit on and wipe away sweat.

  • Listen to Your Body: If you feel uncomfortable at any point, take a break and cool down.

The Bottom Line

Saunas can be a relaxing and enjoyable way to complement your weight management journey. By focusing on comfort and proper hydration, you can maximize the benefits of your sauna experience. Remember, a sauna is just one piece of the puzzle.  For sustainable weight management, a healthy diet and regular exercise are essential.

 

What to Wear in an Infrared Sauna?

 

While the overall guidelines for sauna attire apply to infrared saunas as well, there can be slight variations due to the way infrared heat works.  Infrared saunas use infrared lamps to directly heat your body, leading to a more intense and penetrating sweat compared to traditional dry saunas.

Here’s how to optimize your comfort in an infrared sauna:

  • Loosen Up: Since infrared saunas can promote more sweating, opting for even looser clothing than you might wear in a dry sauna can be beneficial. This allows for better air circulation and sweat evaporation, keeping you cool and comfortable throughout your session. Think loose-fitting cotton t-shirts, tank tops, or drawstring pants made from natural fibers.

  • Headband Helper (Optional): The targeted heat in an infrared sauna can sometimes make your head feel warm. If this is the case, consider wearing a thin, absorbent cotton headband. This will help manage sweat on your forehead and prevent it from dripping into your eyes.

Remember, safety always comes first. Avoid synthetic materials, jewelry, and tight-fitting clothing in both dry and infrared saunas. By following these simple tips, you can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable sweat session in your infrared sauna.

 

 

What Not to Wear in a Sauna?

 

So you’ve packed your swimsuit and a towel, ready to conquer the sauna. Hold on there, sauna enthusiast!  While you’ve got the basics covered, there are some fashion faux pas (and safety hazards) to avoid for a truly enjoyable and safe sauna experience. Here’s what to leave in your locker:

  • Synthetic Fabrics:  Those workout clothes made of nylon, polyester, or other synthetic materials might seem convenient, but they’re a big no-no in the sauna. Synthetics trap heat instead of allowing it to escape, making you feel uncomfortably hot and hindering your body’s natural cooling process. Additionally, some synthetics can melt or stick to your skin at high temperatures.

  • Tight-Fitting Clothing:  Similar to synthetics, tight clothes restrict airflow and can feel constricting in the sauna’s warmth. Opt for loose-fitting garments like cotton t-shirts, shorts, or wrap skirts that allow for proper air circulation and sweat absorption.

  • Jewelry:  Metal jewelry conducts heat and can burn your skin in a sauna. It’s best to remove all jewelry, including watches, rings, and necklaces, before entering.

  • Makeup and Skincare Products:  The intense heat of a sauna can cause makeup to melt and clog your pores. Additionally, some skincare products may react poorly to the heat. Leave your cosmetics at home and embrace the natural glow post-sauna.

  • Strong Perfumes and Deodorants:  The combination of strong fragrances and the sauna’s heat can be overwhelming for you and others sharing the space. Opt for a light, natural scent or go fragrance-free altogether. Deodorant use is a personal choice, but keep in mind that sweating is a natural part of the sauna experience.

  • Street Clothes:  Avoid wearing clothes you’ve worn outside into the sauna. These clothes may be dirty or contain sweat and bacteria that can transfer to the sauna benches.

  • Shoes and Socks:  While some people might be tempted to wear flip-flops or sandals, footwear of any kind is not recommended in a sauna. It’s best to go barefoot for hygiene reasons and to avoid tracking in dirt or sweat.

Remember: Public saunas often have specific guidelines regarding attire to ensure a respectful experience for all patrons.  Always check with the sauna facility beforehand if you have any questions.

By following these tips, you can ensure a comfortable, hygienic, and safe sauna experience for yourself and everyone else sharing the sauna space. Now go forth and sweat it out responsibly!

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