The Real Reason You Shouldn't Stay In A Wet Swimsuit

It is time to switch your morning coffee to iced and use sunscreen as both protection and perfume: The sun has come! But whether you're traveling the world in search of crystal clear waters, or just splashing around in the neighbor's kiddie pool, it is mega important to remember the rules of good hygiene. 

It may sound appealing at the time to stay in your itsy bitsy string bikini after taking a dip. The damp material might be keeping you cool. Perhaps you forgot a change of clothes. Or maybe that swimsuit is working its special magic on the hottie across the pool. All these excuses sound valid, but take a moment to think about your health and reconsider. Medical experts are in agreement that staying in a wet bathing suit can be bad for your health.

A wet swimsuit could mean a yeast infection

Board certified OB-GYN Dr. Hector Chapa explained on Texas A&M's Vital Record podcast why staying in that wet suit is such a bad idea. "So, think about our body temperature, think about moisture from the bathing suit. We've got two issues there, that some things, some little invaders, just love..." he said. "Moisture and it's dark. There's no light behind that bathing suit. So, you've got dark and damp and moist. That is a great opportunity for fungi — that's yeast — to just have a party. That is the perfect remedy, that perfect recipe rather, to have a great skin, and for women, vaginal yeast infection." 

Dark, damp, and fungi? Ew. These are not the words typically used in describing your best summer ever. And quite contrary to popular belief, it is not just a double X chromosomes issue. Men are also susceptible to a yeast infection. This can happen on the inner thighs. 

What if we notice signs of this unwelcome guest? Take Dr. Chapa's advice: "Use your best judgment — if you get better, great. But if it doesn't, as always, the great medical advice is seek medical attention." You definitely don't want a yeast infection running rampant. 

There's another good reason to get out of your wet swimsuit

If the discussion of yeast isn't enough to start thinking about making the switch to dry clothes, then we have two words: Chemical. Irritation. Medical News Today states, "...exposure to chlorine can result in an itchy red rash and raw, swollen skin." Doesn't sound like that would pair well with an Aperol Spritz, does it? And unfortunately, it's not just chlorine responsible for swimming rashes. Medical News Today further explains, "A person may instead have swimmer's itch... swimmer's itch is not related to chlorine exposure. Instead, it is an allergic reaction to a parasite that infected snails release into bodies of water." This happens after taking a dip in unchlorinated water, since the chemical isn't present to kill parasites present. 

So now we know we have to watch out for fungi, chlorine, and parasites. But sink those shoulders! It is a relief to know we can avoid these party crashers. A simple task, like removing your wet bathing suit quickly after swimming and changing into dry clothes is a proven preventive method. So go sip on something colorful, and enjoy the summer with happy, non-irritated skin.