What To Do After A Sauna to Maximize Health Benefits

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How we care for our bodies post-sauna, specifically, what to do after a sauna, can significantly enhance the benefits we derive from this practice.

The benefits of sauna – from detoxification to improved circulation – can be enhanced by a thoughtful post-sauna routine.

In this post, we will cover proper hydration, gradual cooling, and skincare protocols that can help your body recover and thrive after a sauna session.

Let’s dive into the world of post-sauna care!

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Cooling Down After a Sauna

Cooling down after a sauna, ice bag

Gradual Cooling vs. Cold Plunge: Pros and Cons

While many sauna users swear by the exhilarating effects of a cold plunge after their sauna, it’s important to note that the cooling method is largely a matter of personal preference and health considerations.

This applies equally when deciding what to do after an infrared sauna.

Related: Sauna Cold Plunge Routine: A Powerful Recovery Protocol

A 2022 review from the International Journal of Circumpolar Health found that cold plunging can provide additional benefits such as increased alertness and improved mood.

However, sudden temperature changes can be risky for individuals with certain heart conditions.

Gradual cooling, on the other hand, is a safer option for most individuals, allowing the body to adjust to the change in temperature more slowly.

It also promotes relaxation and helps maintain the calming effects of the sauna session.

How to Properly Cool Down Your Body

Post-sauna and after an infrared sauna session, you should spend at least 15-20 minutes in a cool environment, allowing your body temperature to normalize naturally.

Sipping cool water, using a fan, or simply sitting in a shaded area can be effective.

Hydration For Sauna Recovery

What to do after sauna hydration

The heat within the sauna induces sweat, acting as a powerful detoxifier and potentially leading to dehydration.

Taking steps to rehydrate following a sauna session is crucial to the overall experience.

Related: Andrew Huberman Sauna: Complete Guide

Best Drinks to Rehydrate After a Sauna

Immediate rehydration post-sauna is essential.

While drinking water is the most straightforward way to replenish lost fluids, it may not suffice, especially after a long or intense session.

For optimal rehydration, consider beverages that hydrate and replenish the essential electrolytes lost during your sauna session.

Here are a few great options:

WaterHelps replenish lost fluids and aids in the detoxification process
Coconut waterRich in electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium, aiding in quicker recovery
Sports drinksSpecially formulated to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes quickly
Herbal teaProvides hydration and soothing properties, promoting relaxation

Additionally, electrolyte powders or mixes are easy to add to water and replace critical electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium.

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Foods that Help in Hydration

Hydration doesn’t have to be limited to what you drink; it can also be about what you eat.

Many fruits and vegetables have a high water content, helping contribute to your post-sauna hydration.

Additionally, these foods provide essential vitamins and minerals, promoting overall health.

Here are some hydration-friendly food options:

FoodWater ContentBenefits
Watermelon92%High in water and also provides essential electrolytes
Strawberries91%Rich in antioxidants, promoting cellular health
Oranges88%High in vitamin C, enhancing immune function
Cucumbers96%Provides hydration and soothing properties
Lettuce96%Low in calories and perfect for salads

Skincare After a Sauna Session

What to do after sauna skincare

Saunas can contribute significantly to your skincare routine.

The heat from the sauna opens up your pores and increases circulation, bringing more nutrients to the skin surface and promoting a healthier complexion.

A study in Dermatology reported improved skin moisture and complexion with sauna use.

However, to fully reap these benefits, following a post-sauna skincare routine is crucial.

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Effective Skincare Routine Post-Sauna

When you exit the sauna, particularly an infrared one, your skin is uniquely receptive due to the heat-induced pore opening.

This provides a perfect opportunity to enhance your skincare routine.

Here are the key steps for an effective post-sauna skincare routine:

1CleanseUse a gentle cleanser to remove any sweat and impurities brought to the surface during the sauna.
2ToneApply a soothing, alcohol-free toner to balance the skin’s pH and prepare it for further treatment.
3SerumA hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid or vitamin C can deeply penetrate and hydrate the skin, thanks to open pores.
4MoisturizeA moisturizing cream or lotion helps lock in hydration and reinforces the skin’s natural barrier.
5Sunscreen (for day)If your sauna session was during the day, always finish with a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin.

While it might be tempting to use strong exfoliants or astringents post-sauna, it’s advisable to avoid these as they can irritate the skin.

Instead, opt for gentler products that nourish and hydrate your skin.

Sauna and Skin Detoxification

Saunas, and specifically infrared saunas, aid in the body’s natural process of detoxification.

Unlike traditional saunas, infrared saunas use infrared panels to generate heat, penetrating deeper into the skin, stimulating the sweat glands at a deeper level.

This results in a more efficient release of toxins, leading to a healthier, more radiant complexion.

Related: Non-Dutched Chocolate: Health, Safety, and Recommendations

So, by combining the heat of a sauna with an effective post-sauna skincare routine, you’re maximizing the potential benefits to your skin.

Whether through enhanced detoxification, better product absorption, or increased hydration, this routine is your key to glowing, healthy skin.

Related: Sauna Before or After Massage: Best Order for Optimal Benefits


What is best to do after an infrared sauna?

After an infrared sauna, the best thing to do is to cool down gradually, rehydrate, cleanse your skin, and practice relaxation techniques.

What not to do after an infrared sauna?

Avoid strenuous exercise immediately after an infrared sauna session.

Also, it’s best not to consume alcohol as it can increase dehydration.

Should I shower immediately after an infrared sauna?

A lukewarm shower can be taken after an infrared sauna to rinse off sweat and cool down the body.

However, avoid hot showers, as they can dry out your skin.

What is best to eat after an infrared sauna?

Eating foods high in water, like fruits and vegetables, can aid in rehydration.

A balanced meal that includes protein and carbohydrates is also recommended.

Should you wipe sweat off after an infrared sauna?

While in the infrared sauna, let your sweat evaporate naturally for optimal detoxification. After the sauna, a shower can rinse off any remaining sweat.

Can I not wash my hair after an infrared sauna?

There’s no requirement to wash your hair after an infrared sauna unless you want to.

Some people find that the heat from the sauna can help condition their hair.

How long should I cool down after an infrared sauna session?

Aim to spend at least 15-20 minutes cooling down after an infrared sauna session.

What should I drink after using an infrared sauna to rehydrate?

Water, electrolyte-filled drinks like coconut water or sports drinks are recommended.

Is it safe to take a shower immediately after an infrared sauna?

Yes, a lukewarm shower is safe and can help cool down your body.

Are there any foods recommended for post-infrared sauna recovery?

Fruits and vegetables with high water content, like cucumber, watermelon, and lettuce, can help with rehydration.

How long should I wait between infrared sauna sessions?

It varies depending on individual tolerance and experience. Some people enjoy daily sessions, while others prefer 2-3 times a week

Medical Advice Disclaimer


The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website, are for informational purposes only.

No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

About the Author

Drew Wilkins is a fitness and nutrition expert with a Master's in Biokinesiology (emphasis in Sports Science) from the University of Southern California and over a decade of experience as a personal trainer, nutrition consultant, and wellness coach. An avid surfer and soccer player, he brings a unique perspective to his research, advocating for a balanced approach to health that includes physical fitness, nutrition, and mental well-being.

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