7 Gross Workout Habits That Wreck Your Skin

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7 Gross Workout Habits That Wreck Your Skin

Slacking on hygiene when you’re getting sweaty could land you gnarly toenails and unsightly infections. Shield your skin by following these expert tips.

You just finished a hard-core game of pickup basketball with your buddies and now you’re rushing to the local dive bar to watch the pros play on TV—without changing out of your workout clothes. Here’s why you should reconsider: Sitting around in sweaty gear makes your skin susceptible to tinea versicolor, a type of yeast infection—no, not the same type your girlfriend might get—that causes dark brown discoloration on your back, chest, neck, arms, and trunk, says Sanchez.

Wet workout clothes can also spell trouble for your pits and pubic area. If they smell, um, worse than usual, a bacterial infection could be to blame. When bacteria attach to hair shafts in sweaty areas, the result is an extra-strong odor plus changes in hair color and texture.

Fix it: “The sooner you shower and change out of your workout clothes, the better,” says Jeffrey Dover, MD, a dermatologist at SkinCare Physicians in Chestnut Hill, MA. If you experience tinea versicolor, a selenium sulfide shampoo or lotion (available at drugstores) will help clear it up. Shaving should get rid of a stinky hair infection, but you can also use an over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide gel or drying powders that contain microcellulose (like Zeasorb) to help heal the infected area.

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