One of the unwritten rules about stepping into the sauna is to shower before or after, or maybe even both. But the thing about unwritten rules is that you often either don’t know the rule or are unsure of the reason behind it. Well, not anymore.
There are many reasons to shower before and after the sauna, but mainly, it’s all about your hygiene and health.
Let’s get to the bottom of it.
Sauna Etiquette: Should You Shower Before the Sauna?
Stepping into the sauna, you know you’re going to be sweating a lot during the session. So why would you shower first when you know you’re just going to sweat and feel icky afterward?
Thing is, there are valid reasons why proper sauna etiquette includes taking a shower before stepping into a sauna.
- Taking a shower before a sauna is a polite thing to do. You probably entered the sauna to relax after a long, hard day. But would you want to sit inside a small, hot room with someone who hasn’t showered first? Probably not. It’s why you should also consider what other people will think if they know you hadn’t taken a shower before you entered the sauna.
- Showering gets rid of bacteria and dirt. Here’s the thing: the sauna room is a small and closed room with steam and hot air all over it. Dirt, dust, and bacteria aren’t things you’d want swirling around with the hot air in the sauna. It’s why showering before you enter the room makes a lot of sense in terms of hygiene and health.
- It removes anything that may clog your pores. Taking a shower doesn’t only remove bacteria and dust from your skin. It also gets rid of skin products that may clog your pores while you’re in the sauna, and that’s the last thing you’d want. After all, clean and open pores are essential for allowing you to sweat properly. Plus, showering will remove perfume or fragrances left on your skin by your makeup and skin products, which otherwise would smell pungent inside the sauna.
Tip: Take your shower but make sure it’s not a hot one. If you take a hot shower beforehand, you will heat yourself too quickly soon after entering the sauna. Use cooler water instead, but not cold either, or it will postpone your perspiration. Just choose a decent water temperature to keep your body temperature down.
To sum up, take a shower before stepping inside the sauna for the benefit of both you and the other people in the sauna.
How to Prepare For Going into the Sauna
Now that we’ve established that taking a shower before going into the sauna is the first unwritten rule you must follow, what else do you need to do to prepare for your sauna session?
Here are some tips for your pre-sauna routine besides showering.
- Hydrate. Before you enter the sauna, drink one or two glasses of water. Remember, you’re going to sweat a lot inside, and you’ll want to avoid getting dehydrated. Drinking cold water is a good option.
- Dry off your body. You don’t want your body to get too hot too quickly inside the sauna. But that doesn’t mean you want to delay the effects of your perspiration either. It’s why you should be completely dry before entering the sauna. It helps speed up sweating, which is ultimately what you want to achieve in the sauna.
Now, you’re ready to enjoy your sauna session!
Do You Shower After the Sauna?
Not all people do, but many take a shower after the sauna, and there are several good reasons for why you should too.
For one, you get sweaty, sticky, and oily after using the sauna, so showering would help you feel squeaky clean, and refreshed afterward. Moreover, you probably want to wash off any bacteria and sweat that will become body odor later in the day.
Ultimately, showering after the sauna is a matter of preference. But again, it’s a good measure to take for proper hygiene and health.
How Soon Can You Shower After a Sauna?
Naturally, after all that sweating in the sauna, you’ll want to clean up. It can be tempting to jump right into the shower as soon as you get out of the sauna, but is it safe to do so?
The not-so-simple answer is – it depends on two things: (1) your health and (2) the temperature difference between the sauna and the shower.
Exposure to different temperatures can have positive effects on your body, especially on the cardiovascular system. But if you have heart issues, it’s not advisable to jump right into a cold shower right after a scalding hot sauna.
Generally, it’s recommended to wait at least a couple of minutes between jumping from the sauna to the shower. But if you’re healthy and you’re planning to take a warm shower, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Cold or Hot Shower After the Sauna?
If a hot shower is your go-to, then that’s completely fine after getting out of the sauna. The advantage is you can get under a hot shower as soon as you finish your sauna session since there isn’t much temperature difference.
But don’t discount cold showers after the sauna just yet. In fact, the Finnish are famous for their hot-to-cold sauna practice – a toasting tradition in Finland.
Benefits of Cold Shocking the Body After a Sauna
Cold showers after the sauna are gold, and here are some reasons why you should give them a chance:
- A cold shower or bath after a hot sauna may help improve lung function.
- The sharp contrast of heat and cold can have positive effects on the mood.
- The Finnish way of stepping into the sauna followed by a cold-water bath can have positive effects on your cardiovascular system, helping with asthma and depression. It can also improve blood sugar in the same way it can boost your cardiovascular function.
- Sauna bathing can help burn calories, but gradual cooling through a cold shower afterward can positively multiply the calories you burn.
Do You Use Soap When Showering After a Sauna?
So, if you showered before the sauna then also took a shower afterward, should you use soap?
Well, yes. You might find out that using soap during a post-sauna shower is ideal to remain hygienic after all that sweating during the session. After all, washing with soap has twice as many benefits as washing with water only, especially in killing certain types of bacteria.
But what if you have particularly dry skin? You should still use soap when showering after the sauna, but you might want to use a moisturizing soap or apply a good moisturizer as soon as you finish showering.