Are Your Yoga Pants Bad for Your Health?

Ashley Stern
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A new word is being added to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary: “Athleisure.” It seems as though the yoga pants trend is here to stay – and who isn’t excited about that?! Yoga pants are form flattering, versatile, and best of all – comfy! But what if your comfort comes at the cost of your health? There is an entire host of skin issues that can develop from wearing tight, synthetic clothing for too long; especially if you don’t shower or change out of your gear after a workout.
 
Assistant Professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Chelsea Skin & Laser Medical Director, Dr. Michael Eidelman, talks about skin conditions that can develop due to clothes that “don’t breathe as well and hold sweat closer to the skin.” Dr. Eidelman explains that moisture and oil on the skin can cause issues such as acne, folliculitis (which is basically an inflammation of the hair follicle due to rubbing or tight clothes), fungal and yeast flare ups from the heat and moisture, and even eczema. Not to mention the issues women can encounter, you know, “down there,” due to fabrics that don’t breathe well enough, or trap sweat close to the body. As a result, some experts claim that yeast infections and vaginitis are becoming more common.
 
But fear not! Wearing sweat wicking or breathable clothing during exercise can prevent issues from developing. There are also natural and organic fabrics out there that are breathable and better for your skin. And don’t forget to get yourself clean after a sweaty workout, especially if you go to a gym. Not only do you sweat at the gym, but so does everyone else! All the bacteria you come in contact with during a normal workout (even if you bring your own yoga mat) are a huge contributor to many of the aforementioned health issues. Washing the sweat and bacteria off after class will not only make you feel better, but will also keep your skin clear. While it might be nice to change into a clean pair of stretchy pants, remember – keeping those yoga pants on all day might not be so comfortable in the long run . . .
 

 
Your pants might be the ones causing issues, but your gym bag can be a useful tool in combating all those nasty effects of sweaty clothes. If you don’t have time to shower after your workout, freshen up with some shower wipes (such as Yuni Shower Sheets which are biodegradable and made with essential oils) and change your clothes if you can. Start a habit of keeping an extra pair of clean pants (yoga leggings, work pants – whatever suites your lifestyle most) either in your car and/or in your gym bag. That way, even if you forget to pack a change of clothes, there’s nothing stopping you from staying clean and preventing health issues on-the-go.
 
If it’s a dirty yoga mat you’re worried about, mat cleaning spray or wipes like these can be found online. Lastly, if you want to keep your yoga mat clear of nasty germs after each use, fold it in half with the top side folded together, and then roll it up. This way, the part of the mat that picks up whatever is on the floor doesn’t transfer the dirtiness to you.
 
While these skin conditions sound serious, the good news is that you have the power to prevent them. Just make sure to keep yourself clean and wear clothing that breathes as much as possible. There’s no need to get rid of your favorite lululemons – just make sure to clean up – both yourself and your yoga mat – after a workout (sorry if you were hoping for an excuse to skip cardio day). Cheers to your health!
 
Now here’s a funny video before you go 🙂
 

 

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Ashley Stern

A Wisconsinite at heart, Ashley is currently a student working on her masters in creative writing in Edinburgh, Scotland. She’s a writer, a reader, traveler, a nerd, and a lover of life. Ashley is new to yoga and developing her practice from her student flat. She drinks a lot of tea and even more coffee. She’s a dog person, wears lots of purple, and believes in Laini Taylor’s wise words, “Cake as a way of life.”

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