What to Wear in a Sauna
The sauna is a Finnish invention, and it persists as a vital part of the Finnish culture to this very day; however, the sauna etiquette varies from place to place, depending on whether you are in Finland or not. Nonetheless, regardless of whether it’s the traditional style steam room sauna, an infrared sauna, steam room, portable or dry sauna, a few rules of etiquette apply. What to wear in a sauna is crucial to deciding whether your visit will be successful or not.
The first step towards a perfect day at the sauna is undressing completely, and then starts building on that for personal comfort or modesty. The simple rule guiding what to wear in a suana is to wear as little as possible. Whatever you choose to go for, just make sure you don’t wear the wrong stuff.
Here are your top choices
1. A Towel
This is the best choice for any sauna as it will provide the best experience on your day out. The Finns, especially, insist that you wear nothing but a smile on your face and perhaps a towel around your waist to protect the bench from your sweat and also your privacy. The best thing about this choice is that it’s completely free and easy to pull off. Don’t even wear jewelry or glasses; expose as much of the skin as possible.
A sauna is a place meant for health and relaxation, not making fashion statements. The less that gets between you and the heat, the more you’ll enjoy your session and concurrently, the more benefit you’ll derive from it.
2. A Swimsuit
If you are in a public sauna, then you may need to cover up more than normal for public reasons. Choose a loose-fitting swimsuit made from natural fibers to the best ventilation while in the sauna.
Alternatively, women may wear a bikini top to minimize coverage should suffice. Just make sure you select loose-fitting clothes made of breathable fabrics.
- Avoid fibers and dyes that will be affected by the heat, or any fiber that absorbs too much heat in itself.
- In addition to knowing what to wear in a suana, you may want to take clean towels along with you. One towel is for sitting on, while the other for wiping away your perspiration.
3. Something made of cotton.
If you need more coverage than a swimsuit, after hitting the gym, pick something made of cotton. A pair of cotton shorts and a tank top or a loose-fitting oversized cotton t-shirt are good choices for what to wear in a sauna. The loose-fitting tee-shirt and shorts or a cotton wrap will let your skin breathe and won’t absorb much heat themselves.
Put them on just before you get into the sauna; just make sure you skip the underwear, including bras.
- Even if you wear clothing in a sauna, you'll still need at least one towel to wipe off your sweat.
4. What NOT to wear
What you shouldn’t wear in a sauna greatly varies from place to place and sauna to sauna. However, regardless of this fact, there are a few rules regarding sauna use that are universal and probably observed by everyone.
- Never ever wear shoes in the sauna under any circumstances – they are dirty, hold heat, and you might end up leaving with athlete’s foot.
- Sauna suits were a horrible invention - don’t believe what the advertisements on TV tell you. Their plastic fabric interferes with the sauna’s heat, they aren’t as breathable as cotton and also emits toxic fumes (heated plastic has been linked to several types of cancer) dangerous to not only you but everyone around.
- Sweat suits are also a bad idea. They actually have a reverse effect in the sauna; they insulate your skin and delay sweating. In the sauna, you need to sweat, that’s how all the benefits come about.
- Do not wear your sweaty workout clothes in the sauna.
- Also the worst idea for what to wear in the sauna, and will promptly get you kicked out and banned is street clothes. Simply put, don’t do it.
The way a sauna works is simple, the heat produced should penetrate into the tissues of your body, and how deep the penetration goes is directly responsible for the therapeutic benefits sauna provides.
Wearing too many clothes means most of the heat will be absorbed by the clothing themselves and needlessly dissipate back to the environment, instead of soaking into your skin like it’s supposed to. In other words, layers and layers of clothing will prevent you from receiving the sauna’s full therapeutic benefits and health effects.
For that reason, what to wear in a sauna should be minimal or even zero clothing. The fewer clothes you wear, the more the benefit you receive.