After a workout, it may be tempting to skip the shower and go straight to drinks with a friend. However, you might want to think twice if you’re going to be sitting around in sweaty workout clothes as it can cause much more than just breakouts.

“I would not wait longer than a few hours to shower after working out,” says dermatopathologist Dr. Gretchen Frieling. “Do not wait longer than 30 minutes to change your clothes. Bringing [body] wipes to help wipe down your skin is an excellent thing if you don’t have time for a rinse.”

So what’s so bad about lingering in your sweaty yoga pants? Frieling breaks down why it’s so important to shower after a workout below.

Prevent a yeast infection
Changing out of your clothes and taking a shower is especially important for preventing yeast infections. They can occur when you wear tight clothing during exercise and leave the area damp with sweat for an extended period of time. “While swapping out your sweaty clothes for clean clothes is a good way to protect yourself from a yeast infection, the best way to prevent it is by taking a shower ASAP,” says Frieling.

Avoid bacteria build-up
The issue with not showering after a workout isn’t actually all that sweat – it’s the bacteria that gets mixed in. “This bacteria is most prevalent in your underarms, groin area, and feet,” says Frieling. Avoid any skin issues as a result of that bacteria by washing yourself off post-workout.

Prevent acne
Struggle with breakouts? Showering soon after a workout can help prevent those unwanted zits. “It is known that the build-up of bacteria on the skin can clog pores, leaving the skin prone to inflammation and irritation,” says Frieling. “Make sure you take off your makeup and wash your face with a cleansing wipe before and after a workout.”

Prevent worsening skin conditions
If you’re someone who has a skin condition, such as eczema, it’s especially important to rinse your body after a workout to avoid making anything worse. “The excess sweat and bacteria on your skin might exacerbate the situation,” says Frieling.

Avoid athlete’s foot
“Another area that traps sweat and bacteria is your feet,” says Frieling. Athlete’s foot is a fungus that thrives in warm and moist environments, causing itchiness, burning, and even blistering on the feet. The best way to avoid athlete’s foot is to shower and change out of your sweaty socks and shoes.

If you’re in a hurry and have to leave the shower for later, wash your face, dry the areas of moisture on your skin, and change into clean clothes. You won’t get seriously ill from waiting to shower, but the sooner, the better.

xx, The FabFitFun Team