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We need to talk about a delicate matter. You’ve been hitting the gym regularly, and that’s great—the health benefits of exercise are well established and you’re looking good. But while you’re rocking the beginnings of chiseled abs, you might be noticing other gym members are loathe to come too close. When you’re working out you develop a certain, um, olfactory aura.
You’re sweaty and stinky. There. We said it, and we’re here to help.
First off, let’s just admit that “man musk” is a problem all men must face. Due to a complex blend of hormonal and evolutionary influences, men sweat more than women and start to perspire at lower temperatures. Sweat encourages bacterial growth, which can make men’s workout shirts smell like a high school gym locker.
What you wear to the gym can have a significant effect on how you smell during and after your workout. Men’s athletic shirts come in a variety of materials, each of which has its own pros and cons.
Silver-Laced Men’s T-Shirts
Silver’s antimicrobial properties are well known, and the metal is often used in hospitals to prevent the spread of bacteria. Several brands of men’s workout shirts are now infused with silver nanoparticles, which keep odor-producing bacteria in check.
Before you run out and buy a silver-based anti-odor workout shirt, however, there’s a few things you should now. First, and most importantly, the safety of silver nanoparticles in consumer goods has never been tested. We do know, however, that excessive exposure to silver causes health problems, including argyria, a permanent blue-gray discoloration of the skin, nose, eyes, and throat.
Silver nanoparticle men’s athletic shirts are pricy, but may not provide long-term odor relief. The nanoparticles wear off after a few cycles of wearing and washing, so the shirts become less odor-resistant over time. As for the nanoparticles that wash out of the shirt, they enter environment through wastewater and are extremely toxic to aquatic life.
Synthetic Fabric “Wicking Shirts”
A second option for workout wear are synthetic dry fit or “wicking shirts” that wick sweat away from your body. if you’re working out solo, dry fit men’s T-shirts are a great way to stay cool. In a public setting, however, they’re not advisable. The wicking effect pulls sweat to the outer layer of the clothing, exposing anyone around you to any odors. You also want to avoid men’s athletic shirts made of polyester, as the synthetic fiber encourages bacterial growth.
Natural fibers are your best choice for anti-odor men’s workout shirts. Premium cotton shirts are naturally hypoallergenic and wash well. Bacteria that quickly develop on polyester have a harder time colonizing cotton. The only down side is that cotton readily absorbs moisture, so your workout shirt quickly gets wet from sweat.
Bamboo, another natural fiber, is becoming a popular choice for men’s T-shirts. Like cotton, bamboo is hypoallergenic and absorbs moisture. Bamboo also has antifungal and antibacterial properties. You will, however, pay more for bamboo men’s workout shirts than you do for cotton.
Regular washing, of course, helps remove sweat smells from man’s athletic shirts. If you think your washing machine needs a little extra help fighting back the man musk, add half a cup of white vinegar during the rinse cycle or soak shirts in a mixture of one part vinegar, three parts water before washing.