Are you considering visiting a sauna? There are some important things to note about dressing in the sauna that most people don’t know.

In this article, we will outline the dos and don’ts you should follow for a better sauna experience and provide recommendations for the best clothing options to wear in the sauna.

Why Worry About What To Wear in a sauna?

To understand what to wear and what not to wear in a sauna, you must first know why it matters. Selecting appropriate clothing for a sauna session is crucial for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, Saunas are hot, and the wrong clothing can trap heat, leading to overheating, and dehydration. Secondly, choosing the right material is important. Some fabrics can’t handle the heat; for instance, synthetic fabric can melt in the extreme heat conditions of a sauna and cause skin issues. On the other hand, natural cotton is safer and gentler on your skin. Hygiene is another concern. Sweating is a natural part of the sauna experience. Wearing something absorbent, like a towel, helps maintain cleanliness.

Moreover, Proper sauna attire also ensures comfort. Loose, breathable clothing or a towel allows for better air circulation, helping your body cool down effectively. It is therefore essential that you should know about the dos and don’ts of sauna attire.

Dos and Don’ts For Dressing For Sauna

Do: Wear clean clothes

Ensure you wear clean clothes in a sauna, as dirty ones are not suitable for your skin and hygiene.

Don’t: Use Makeup

Wearing makeup in extreme heat is not recommended. Sauna temperatures can reach 70°-90°C, so it’s essential to remove all makeup before a sauna session. Sauna heat opens pores, but makeup can block them, causing skin issues. Additionally, the heat and humidity in a sauna can melt your makeup, creating a mess.

Do: Wear sauna-friendly fabrics for comfort

Loose fit, breathable fabrics like cotton, linen, and bamboo are ideal choices to wear in saunas. Avoid synthetic materials like PVC or spandex.

Don’t: Use wearable electronics

Wearing any wearable electronic devices, such as AirPods, smartwatches, or smart glasses, in the sauna is not recommended as the heat and moisture may damage the electronic devices.

Do: wear less clothes

Wearing clothes in public saunas provides privacy and modesty, but being naked is better for staying cool in a sauna. The less you wear, the more comfort and relaxation you experience in the sauna.

Don’t: Wear metal jewelry and piercings

Wearing metal in a sauna, such as having metal components in your clothing or jewelry, is not recommended. The heat can make the metal very hot, leading to potential discomfort or burns.

Do: Wear loose clothes

Avoid wearing tight clothing, such as leggings, underwear, bra skinny jeans, or tight tank tops, as these can restrict airflow, hinder natural cooling, and result in discomfort in the sauna. Loose clothes let air circulate, keeping your body naturally cool, and will be more comfortable in the sauna heat.

Don’t: Wear shoes

Wear open and loose-fitting shoes, such as flip-flops, sandals, or sliders to prevent your feet from overheating and causing discomfort.

 

What to Wear in a Sauna?

Swimsuit

Opting for nudity in the sauna is ideal, but if that’s not your comfort zone, wearing a swimsuit is an alternative. When selecting a swimsuit for the sauna, ensure it has a loose fit, is made from natural fabric, and lacks any metal parts, as the heat can make metal uncomfortably hot during the session.

Towel

You can cover up with a big towel if you are uncomfortable exposing yourself in front of other people in the sauna. To feel more comfortable and clean, bring a second towel to sit on, preventing direct contact with the bench and maintaining hygiene. Sauna benches can be hot, making it uncomfortable to sit directly, but a towel acts as a barrier for a more comfortable experience.

Cotton clothes

In the sauna, go for comfy clothes. Cotton, with its heat-absorbing and breathable qualities, is the top pick for a relaxed sauna experience.

Sauna Accessories

Headband or hair tie

This small accessory is important to keep you comfortable in the sauna. Wearing a headband in the sauna serves two main purposes: first, it keeps hair off your face, and second, it catches and absorbs sweat before it gets into your eyes. In the sauna’s hot conditions, a headband made of cotton or linen fabric is perfect because these materials effectively absorb sweat, making them ideal for the sauna’s sweaty environment.

Water bottle

Saunas make you sweat a lot, which can make you thirsty. To stay fresh, bring a water bottle and drink water. Don’t use metal bottles because they get too hot and can burn you. Also, avoid plastic bottles since they can release harmful substances when heated, linked to problems like diabetes and heart disease. Glass bottles might break and slip in the sauna, so it’s better to choose a stainless steel bottle with a silicone sleeve for safety.

Sauna hat

More than just an accessory, a sauna hat is often worn in the sauna to keep your head cool in hot conditions.

Flip flops

Slip-resistant flip-flops are the best choice to wear in saunas for several reasons. They protect your feet from the sauna’s hot surface, prevent slipping, and contribute to better hygiene by shielding against potential germs on the sauna floor.

Do you have to be naked in the sauna?

This is the most commonly asked question for people going into a sauna for the first time. Eero Kilpi, the president of the North American Sauna Society, mentioned in a podcast with Curiosityness that it is not essential to go naked in the sauna; you can wear what you are comfortable in, and it’s not an issue at all.

If you choose not to be naked in a sauna, you can wear clothes, but it’s advisable to opt for loose and breathable materials.

Many people prefer going naked in the sauna for several good reasons. Firstly, individuals choose to be naked for hygiene purposes, as it allows sweat to evaporate freely, reducing the risk of skin irritation and bacterial growth. Secondly, people find it more comfortable without clothes in the sauna’s extreme heat, as it helps their bodies cool down more effectively.

What To Wear After The Sauna?

We recommend loose-fitting, breathable clothes, even after leaving the sauna. Avoid tight or heavy clothes after leaving the sauna. As you keep sweating, these types of clothing can cause skin irritation, overheating, and discomfort.

FAQs

Can you wear gym clothes in the sauna?

Gym clothes, such as leggings, compression shorts, or base layers, are commonly tight-fitting. However, for a comfortable sauna experience, it’s advisable to opt for loose clothing. Also, Gym clothes are typically made from synthetic materials like polyester and spandex. While these materials work well for workouts, they are less breathable and may trap sweat against the skin, causing discomfort and irritation.

Can you wear a hoodie in a sauna?

As you know, a sauna is hot, and wearing something designed to keep you warm, like a hoodie, may increase the risk of overheating and dehydration. Instead, wear light and loose clothes to make yourself comfortable in the sauna.

Can you wear leggings in a sauna?

Avoid wearing leggings or similar tight-fitting clothes since they may not feel comfortable in the high temperature of the sauna. Instead, opt for loose-fitting t-shirts, cotton wraps, towels, or shorts.

Can you wear underwear in a sauna?

It’s not a good idea to wear tight clothes in a sauna. If you can, avoid tight-fitting garments like underwear, bras, or leggings. That way, you will not feel uncomfortable due to the hot environment in the sauna. If you can’t avoid it, opt for breathable cotton underwear or a bra.

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