How not to sweat after a shower.

07 February, 2009. Tagged as Life Skills.

Now that the days are getting hotter and hotter, it’s time I taught you a skill that very few people have mastered: how not to sweat as soon as you get out of the shower. I’ll be discussing my favourite techniques, plus some not-so-favourite ones, and you’d be well-advised to use all of them.

The trigger for after-shower sweating can be put down to four factors:

  1. Hot water left on your skin and in your hair continues to warm your body after you’ve finished showering.
  2. The vapour from hot water, combined with its temperature, raises the humidity and temperature of the bathroom.
  3. Rubbing dry with a towel causes friction, which in turn causes heat.
  4. Your towel and clothing are probably warm, and contact with them immediately warms you.
In other words: hot water, a hot room, friction and warm clothing and towelling are the causes of after-shower sweating.

The Cool-Down

The Cool-Down method works on the ‘hot water’ and ‘hot room’ causes.

Cool-Down is done by gradually lowering the amount of hot water your shower is spraying out. You turn the hot water down just a bit, allow yourself about ten seconds to get used to the new temperature, then turn it down again and repeat as necessary. Make sure you rinse your hair in progressively cold water to make sure that no hot water is left in there to heat your head.

Pat-dry

The third cause of after-shower sweating is the friction caused by rubbing dry with a towel. The best solution is to pat yourself dry, which creates no noticeable heat.

You only need to be sure to change your towel or hang it out to dry between showers, or else the towel won’t soak up very well and you’ll go back to rubbing dry like an idiot. Also, if you’ve been rinsing your hair with cold water like you’ve been told, drying your hair first will leave you with cold water on your towel, which helps.

Hot articles

To defeat the ‘hot towel and clothes’ problem you will need to bring the temperature of these items down. Spreading them out and laying them on the bathroom floor will allow heat to dissipate and be replaced by the coolness of the floor tiles. Alternatively, you can throw these items into the freezer for a few minutes, or better yet, wrap them around a tub of ice cream for a while.

Air management

The best way to defeat the ‘hot room’ problem is to manage the flow of air. If you have an exhaust fan above your shower, turn it on. If you have windows, open them as wide as you feel comfortable with. If you can, put an electric fan in the bathroom that you can stand in front of when drying off. Make sure the fan is away from water sources.

If you get rid of as much hot air as you can while allowing cool air to come in or keep circulating, you’re already on the great road to Awesome.

Miscellaneous techniques

  • Get out of the bathroom as fast as possible. The humidity of the air will not help you stay dry. Dress as little as necessary and then finish outside, in the open air or preferably in front of a cool breeze or a fan.

  • Bring a small washcloth dampened in cold water. Wiping your face with it is very refreshing, and if you put it on top of your head while you sit in front of a fan, it will cool down your head (and the rest of you).

  • Powder yourself before leaving the bathroom. Keep in mind that this won’t stop you from sweating: only soak up your sweat and maybe clog your pores.

  • Use a bath robe instead of a towel. It makes sense because, like pat-drying, it avoids creating too much friction.

  • Live in an air-conditioned house. A great solution, but it will be your fault when the entire block powers out. This happened last year here in Australia when the temperature topped 45°C (113°F). Doable, but insanely expensive (though a convenient investment).

  • Walk around stark raving naked until you’re dry. This is alright if you don’t live with anyone, don’t have peeping-tom neighbours, or if the person you live with thinks you’re particularly good-looking and doesn’t mind seeing you naked.