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Asking for a Friend: Are Post-Workout Showers Really Necessary?

Let’s face it. No matter how fancy your fitness center is, there’s something unsettling about public showers. So while sometimes—ahem, after hot yoga—the après-gym shower is a must, there are times when, if you haven’t gotten super-sweaty, it can be tempting to skip it altogether. (The Case for Cold Showers.)

Unfortunately, that’s not the best move. Even if you’re one of the lucky ladies who has stink-less sweat, even the gentlest workouts will raise your body temperature and probably make you perspire a bit. That lets bacteria and yeast build up, explains Deirdre Hooper, M.D., a dermatologist at Audubon Dermatology in New Orleans, LA. If you don’t shower, you don't rinse those bugs off. “If you just change, you’ll still have an increased risk of irritation and infection,” she explains. (But Peeing In the Shower—not as bad as you'd think.) 

Okay, but say you sneak in a run during your lunch break, and your office doesn’t have a shower. What then? “If it’s not possible to shower, I’d use a baby wipe or cleanser that doesn’t need to be rinsed off, concentrating on dirtier areas like your butt or any body folds,” recommends Hooper.

Two good shower substitutes: Goodwipes (from $8; goodwipes.com) and Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser ($9; walmart.com), which actually doesn’t require water—just rub in a few drops and go. But until you bathe for real, maybe do everyone else a favor and keep some distance between you and them. (Or not—it could make them happy, research shows.) 

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