Wearing leggings all day feels great. Liberating, trendy, and perfect for making the transition between athletic and leisure activities quite literally seamless.
But are you aware of the health risks that go with wearing yoga gear 24/7? From an increased risk of yeast infections to outbreaks of spots to rashes, here’s how to avoid some of the inconvenient and embarrassing side effects that can come with living in your yoga pants.
1. Vaginal infections
Dr. Michael Eidelman, medical director of Chelsea Skin & Laser, cautions against wearing clothes that “don’t breath well and hold sweat closer to the skin”. Some yoga-wear falls into this category when it fails to wick sweat away, creating ideal conditions for the growth of bacteria and yeast infections. Ewww.
TO AVOID: go commando! Or shower straight after practice and put on fresh clothing.
It’s a widely-known fact that tight, non-breathable yoga pants can cause yeast infections. Wearing underwear not only creates more heat, it also traps the moisture more securely, creating a breeding ground for yeast. Lovely. So why not embrace an even freer feeling and ditch your knickers altogether? Just make sure you’re leggings are 100% opaque and no one need know your secret.
- Tinea cruris
Also known as ‘jock’s itch’, tinea cruris is an infection that typically affects men, but can occur in women as well. It is a fungal infection that can irritate the skin on your inner thighs, bottom and genital area. As the layman term for the condition implies, it causes itching or a burning sensation in the area surrounding the groin and can be caused and aggravated by tight or intimate clothing such as jockstraps and thongs. Not fun.
TO AVOID: If going commando fills you with horror, then opt for light-weight, moisture-wicking briefs. Avoid cotton if you are in for a sweaty practice, and avoid thongs altogether. You might think a lightweight thong could be a good alternative to cotton undies, but think again. Thongs are likely to ride up more tightly in uncomfortable areas and can even spread fecal matter (yikes!) into your vaginal area during workouts, which can potentially cause vaginal and urinary tract infections. If you can’t shower straight after practice, at least switch to fresh underwear for an instant refresh.
- Bum Acne
Yes, this is actually a thing. If you end up sitting for any length of time in leggings, pre- or post-workout, especially if a plastic seat is involved, you’ll know it can get uncomfortable. Since yoga pants tend to be tightest around the derrière, this is where sweat and bacteria can build up and clog your pores, making lycra a hot-bed for buttock acne. Not the most appealing thought.
TO AVOID: Avoid sitting for long periods of time in non-breathable fabrics like lyra. Even if the weave of the fabric is open (rather than, say, solid like a cagoule) the synthetic fibres can still irritate skin that has sweated through a vinyasa practice, or even just got a little sticky on a plastic seat. Exfoliate your dear bum when you shower as this will keep skin clean as well as smooth (what’s not to love?). You could also use witchhazel on problem skin, and if you are finding spots difficult to shift, visit a pharmacy or GP for some topical treatment.
The official term for inflamed hair follicles that can arise from damaged or blocked natural follicle growth. Rubbing and irritation from tight clothing such as yoga pants can cause this.
TO AVOID: Shave legs rather than waxing or epilating – the latter options can exaggerate damage to follicles and cause ingrowing hairs – and otherwise use an exfoliant when showering off, and if possible moisturise to soften the skin and allow for more natural regrowth.
Though modern life has fully embraced wearing the same clothes as you did to your morning vinyasa to meet up with your friends for coffee afterwards, there’s a reason why we used to think it was gross to spend the day in sweaty workout kit. The solution? Have a shower, and take a clean set of athleisure gear to change into. May common sense never go off-trend.
Read more at Marie France Asia.