Bacterial, Fungal and Yeast infections are common, especially among athletes who work out regularly.
Working out can do wonders for your physical and mental health but catching a skin infection can destroy progress in either of those areas. Not only are skin infections uncomfortable, they prevent you from participating in the activities you love. Going to any gym comes with some level risk but the most common skin infections can be largely mitigated by using a little bit of common sense and good hygiene. The first step is getting your hands on some quality soap and skin care like the products found at Contact Sports Soap. Your exposure to athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch, candida or staph can be significantly lowered by implementing these gym hygiene best practices.
Wash your hands.
If we have learned anything, the importance of washing your hands cannot be understated. Before and after workouts make sure you wash your hands properly by following these simple steps:
- Use soap
- Work up a good lather by rubbing your hands together vigorously
- Ensure you continue to wash for at least 20 seconds
- Rinse well by starting at the wrists and allowing the water to flow down towards the fingers until all soap residue is gone
- Dry thoroughly with paper towels, a clean towel or allow to air dry
When soap and water are not available, use a quality after training spray to coat your body. You should use alcohol-based sanitizer only as a last resort. Products with triclosan or tea tree oil are not recommended as they can cause more damage to the skin biome which is your body’s natural defense to the outside world. Our Probiotic Sweat Reset uses natural ingredients and probiotics to defend against pathogenic overgrowth. Spray all over your skin and hair paying special attention to hands, fingers, feet and toes. Rub in and allow to dry.
Wash your body.
Immediately after every workout, use a high-quality BJJ Soap like Contact Sports Soap's Probiotic Hair & Body Wash. With natural ingredients and probiotics our soap goes to work defending your skin with lactic acid producing microbes to maintain your natural skin barrier. Once you have a good lather, coat your body and allow the soap to sit for at least 60 seconds. Rinse thoroughly and always dry off completely with a clean towel.
If showering at the gym it is always a good idea to have shower shoes or flip flops. Feet are often the most ignored body part when it comes to skin infections. Simply wearing these items can help prevent athlete's foot or those nasty yellow, cracked toenails
Do not ignore your gym equipment.
No one likes to take the time to wipe down equipment before and after every workout but this small step can prevent the spread of pathogenic microbes. Every gym has an equipment spray available and if they don’t ask for one. If they won't provide an equipment spray Wipex makes a pretty awesome fitness equipment wipe which can be kept in your gym bag. You can’t control what other people do but setting a good example at your gym may influence others to follow suit. The more people who take the time to clean off equipment the lower the risk of you catching a skin infection.
Ensure you train on clean mats.
With how busy schools can be it can be hard to find time to clean mats. Most people only show up to train but what about giving back to your school? Show a sense of pride in your training facility. Offer to help your coach or professor clean the mats. It’s a small step but it will show your commitment to the school. You can even take things one step further. Apply our Probiotic Sweat Reset to your feet and hands before training to help prevent contaminating the mat while also protect your yourself from picking up a skin infection. Gym hygiene is everyone’s responsibility.
If you wear it you NEED to wash it.
No one wants to train with someone who doesn’t wash their clothes. Not only do they smell horrible but bacteria, fungus and yeast breed in sweaty clothes. This growth can be compounded if those clothes are left to sit after a workout. Always wash the clothes you train in after every workout. Gi’s, rash guards, jerseys, leotards, socks and singlets can be a significant source of skin infection if they don’t receive the attention they deserve. Adding a laundry sanitizer like Lysol Laundry Sanitizer to the rinse cycle will help kill off microbes who have taken up residence in your clothes.
Be aware of your skin.
Breaks in the skin should be cared for as soon as you discover them. Proper maintenance of scrapes, cuts and other wounds or breaks in the skin as can speed healing and mitigate risk of skin infections. Waterproof bandages help to keep the area clean and you can apply our Probiotic Advanced Healing Hydrogel to the bandage. If open wounds, skin breaks or infection are present try to avoid whirlpools, saunas or any shared common areas until the wounds heal completely. As stated before, application of our Probiotic Advanced Healing Hydrogel or Skin Recovery Serum can be used to accelerate recovery.
Personal items are just that, personal.
It may sound crazy to even have to say this but obviously it still happens. The best rule is to not share your towels, water bottles, soap, razor, combs, luffa, brushes or equipment. Get yourself a training bag to keep everything together so you can bring everything you need to train and are less likely to forget it. Sharing personal items increases the risk of passing a skin infection around the gym. You never know if someone has a skin infection and if you share these types of items you run the risk of catching some unwanted bacteria, fungus or yeast that can disrupt your ability to train.