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What to Wear in a Sauna: Do's and Don'ts (2023)

woman bathing in sauna

Jane Kuperberg |

Table of Contents

Introduction

Saunas have become a popular way to achieve a healthy and relaxed lifestyle. They offer numerous benefits, such as helping to improve circulation, detox the body, and reduce stress levels. However, if you're new to sauna culture, you might be wondering what to wear to a sauna. Here's our expert guide to the sauna dress code, based on what to expect when you go to a sauna, when you buy a sauna, and how hot the sauna is.

Understanding the Basics of Sauna Attire

The most important thing to consider when deciding what to wear in a sauna is comfort. It's important to keep in mind that your sauna session will be quite hot and humid, so you need to dress accordingly. Generally, it's best to opt for comfortable clothing made of breathable fabric such as cotton or linen. You should also avoid wearing anything too

Choosing what you want to wear in a Sauna

The sauna is an enclosed room or small building heated to high temperatures. It's mainly designed to induce sweating, which helps to flush toxins out of the body. When you go to a public or private sauna, expect to find a warm and welcoming environment. There may be several sauna rooms with different temperatures, ranging from 158°F to over 212°F. Before you enter the sauna, it's important to take off any constrictive clothing like jewelry, watches, and tight underwear.

Before undressing, you'll want to find a space where you feel comfortable. Most saunas will have designated changing areas that can provide some privacy. Remember, the goal is to make sure you're comfortable in the high-heat environment of the sauna, so choose a spot and disrobe as much as you feel at ease with. Be sure to place your jewelry, watches, and other items in a secure spot—these items could potentially heat up in the sauna and cause discomfort or even burns. With your clothing, be mindful that materials like polyester can withstand high heat, but they may not let your skin breathe adequately, thus affecting the detoxification process. Therefore, light, breathable, and natural materials like cotton are generally recommended for sauna use.

What should you wear in your home sauna?

man in home sauna

To enjoy the benefits of a home sauna, it's important to follow the recommended dress code. Most home saunas require you to wear a towel or robe while inside. This not only prevents direct contact with the wooden surfaces, which can accumulate sweat and bacteria, but also helps maintain a hygienic environment.

Wearing improper attire in the sauna can lead to various issues beyond discomfort. Synthetic clothing, like polyester or nylon, can melt or become excessively hot when exposed to the high sauna temperatures, potentially causing skin burns. Additionally, these materials don't breathe well, hindering the sweating process and reducing the detoxification benefits of sauna therapy.

Conversely, going completely unclothed in the sauna may also have drawbacks. Direct contact between your skin and the wooden surfaces can promote microbial growth and raise hygiene concerns. It could also result in staining or discoloration, ultimately shortening the lifespan of your home sauna. It's crucial, therefore, to pay close attention to what you wear in the sauna to ensure safety, hygiene, and to maximize the benefits of your sauna sessions.

Sauna Attire Do's:

  • Dress appropriately in lightweight, loose-fitting, and breathable clothes.
  • Opt for cotton t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops for comfort.
  • Bring a towel to sit on and one to wrap yourself in.
  • Stay hydrated by bringing a bottle of water.
  • Keep an extra towel handy for wiping off sweat.
  • Consider using a sauna hat to protect your hair and scalp from the heat.
  • If allowed, you might choose to wear a swimsuit, but ensure it is made of a breathable fabric, like cotton.

Sauna Attire Don'ts:

  • Avoid wearing synthetic materials like polyester or nylon.
  • Don't forget to check the sauna's rules regarding swimsuits before bringing one.
  • Avoid wearing jewelry, as the high temperatures can cause it to become hot and potentially cause skin burns.
  • Don't wear heavy clothing such as sweatpants or sweatshirts, as they may cause overheating.
  • Avoid wearing glasses or contact lenses, the heat might damage them or cause discomfort.

Conclusion

In conclusion, knowing what to wear in a sauna can make your experience more comfortable and enjoyable. Whether you're going to a public sauna or building one at home, it's important to dress appropriately and bring essential items with you. Always choose lightweight, loose-fitting, and breathable clothes, and avoid any constrictive clothing. By following these simple tips, you can maximize the benefits of the sauna and achieve a healthier and more relaxed lifestyle.

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