Some Extra Tips for Staying Fungal Free!
Gary Edwards is Head MMA coach at Laurel Mountain MMA, North Carolina.
What is that little red circle on your neck, honey?” Oh man! The dreaded words you don’t want to hear from the significant other. Ring worm, staph, and impetigo are all problems in most MMA and Jiu-jitsu gyms across the country. I’ve tried to learn all I can to prevent getting any skin rashes or infections. Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way after giving my wife ringworm on her face when we first started dating. The result from handing over an itchy fungal infection was receiving complete body scans every time I disrobed for the next several months! And fixing the problem once infected is never fun and can be costly. So I did my research and after a few years, I’m ringworm free! *Knock on wood*
You will never be able to ensure that every partner you train with is clean. The only certain step you can take is being aware of your cleanliness. Not only is taking caution and preventative measures important for you, but also for your training partners. All gyms are different and have a variety of set-ups when walking through the front door before stepping on the mats. Some schools have ample showers and some do not have a shower at all, so I’ll keep that in mind when sharing a few things to look for in the gym that might be spreading germs and infections.
- Clean clothing- Always wear clean clothing to the gym. Clothes that sit around can be filled with bad bacteria. Just because something is dry doesn’t mean it’s clean! Wash every item after every practice.
- Shaving- Never shave right before or after training. This can cause micro cuts that infections love to enter the epidermis through.
- Shoes-Always have a clean pair of flip flops or sandals to slip on in case you have to get off the mat. Walking barefoot in areas where dirty shoes go and getting back on the mat is never a good idea.
- Rash guards-Rash guards aren’t for everyone, but can help in preventing skin against bad bacteria and fungus. If you notice any scrapes or cuts, a rash guard can be a nice protective shield.
- Before and after-Try to clean your exposed skin right before and after training. I’ve learned that using antibacterial products isn’t necessarily the best prevention. Some antibacterial products can destroy healthy skin flora that is a beneficial and integral part of the skin’s natural immune system. I use Defense soap products which I’ll explain further in a bit.
- Wash gear- Don’t forget that your gloves, shin guards, and head gear are coming into contact with heavy bags and other partner’s fists and feet. Never throw your gear in your training bag without wiping it down first. There are sprays and wipes on the market to keep your equipment clean. Defense Wipes are awesome for wiping down equipment.
- Sharing- Do not share soap products or towels. Have your own bar of soap and a clean, dry towel.
- Whirlpools-Never enter a hot tub with any open wounds, scratches or cuts. I think this one is common sense, but overlooked by many.
My routine is a little over the top compared to most, but I don’t think you can be too safe when it comes to taking preventive measures for your skin. Having a skin infection costs money and takes time away from training and improving. I don’t want to deal with either, so I’ll give you my routine and the list of products I use that I’ve grown to love. My Defense Soap products are now part of my daily training routine and I feel naked without them.
Before I even step on the mat, I rub Defense Barrier Foam on all exposed skin areas that will come in contact with the mats and my training partner’s hands. This puts a protective layer on my skin. If I run out of foam, then I’ll use the Defense Wipes. They both work great for a pre-workout wipe down.
We only have one shower at my gym and sometimes I don’t have to time to wait, so I’ll immediately use Defense Body Wipes. These are awesome for wiping down all exposed areas of skin if you don’t have an opportunity to shower. Research has shown that you have around four hours after being contaminated to clean your skin in order to prevent infection.
When I get home from the gym, I’ll put my workout clothes in a separate laundry basket. I’ll jump in the shower and use my Defense Shower Gel. I prefer the gel over the actual bar of soap, but that’s just me. I can make a small dab of the gel go a long ways by using a Loofah sponge. Defense Soap products contain two of nature’s most powerful antimicrobial essential oils: Tea Tree Oil and Eucalyptus Oil. These oils have been known to control skin bacteria and to be a natural remedy for skin Infections. I promote this product to everyone I come in contact with because they’ve worked great for me. Yes, these products cost money, but are well worth the investment.
So stay clean and red-rash free my friends! Hope some of these tips help out.