It’s late April, so we’re all well aware that what the magazines refer to as “bikini season” is on its way. Now, it doesn’t matter what your body looks like, if you want to wear a bikini, by all means wear one. However, if you do choose to wear an itsy bitsy teeny weeny, make sure you’re taking care of your body while you’re at it. I’m not talking about dieting or exercising your way to a beach bod (whatever that is), I’m talking about preventing bikini-related problems. After all, there are reasons not to wear a swimsuit that have nothing to do with what your body looks like.
Here are 10 reasons to not wear a bikini-
- Pressure. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing a bikini and would rather wear a one piece, shorts and T-shirt, a wet suit or a tuxedo to the beach or pool, that’s cool. Don’t feel pressured to wear one because other people do. It doesn’t mean you aren’t body positive or that you hate your own body just because you want to cover up more.
- Anxiety. This one goes hand and hand with pressure. If you feel anxious or self conscious in a bikini, you’re not going to have the best time possible. If you wear a bikini and are nervous you’ll feel weird about it, pack a big shirt or something like it in your beach bag so that you can slip something comfy on in a pinch.
- Bikini Waxes. You certainly don’t have to groom your pubic area if you want to wear a bikini, but if you do feel the need to, bikini waxes are painful and can cause rashes and ingrown hairs. Your bikini zone will be more sensitive to the elements after a wax, so taking a freshly bald beaver for a swim can be a little risky. Maybe wait 24-48 hours before sunning your waxed crotch.
- Sun Burn. The more skin you leave uncovered, the more area that can be hit by dangerous rays from the sun. Keep applying broad spectrum sunscreen and give your skin breaks from the sun. Wearing additional light layers can add a bit of protection from those harmful UVs.
- Chafing. Have you ever gotten a painful bumpy irritation on your bikini line or upper thighs from a swimsuit? That’s chafing and oof, it’s so annoying. You can minimize chafing by keeping skin-on-skin and wet bathing suit-on-skin friction at bay. Make sure your bathing suit is clean and fits well.
- Yeast Infection. Whether it’s a bikini or a one piece, sitting in a wet bathing suit is asking for trouble. Get your genital region cool and dry and change into breathable cotton underwear as soon possible.
- Urinary Tract Infection. UTIs are such a pain and can escalate. That’s not the way you want to spend your vacation. Tight and wet clothing are known to make people more susceptible to getting UTIs. What’s wetter and tighter than a bikini? Nothing.
- Skin Irritation. Too tight straps on a bikini (akin to a bra) can dig into your skin and cause fungal rashes and other irritation to your skin. Make sure that you swimsuit fits well if you’re going to wear one.
- Sea Bather’s Eruption. If you get a rash after swimming in the ocean, do NOT put the swimsuit you were wearing back on without giving it a thorough washing. This rash with a goofy name occurs if you take a dip in the ocean if you’re exposed to little “jellyfish-like larvae” which get trapped between your skin and your swimsuit. It most commonly occurs in the Atlantic waters on the East Coast of the US. Symptoms of Sea Bather’s Eruption can start while you’re still swimming, but might not start until hours after you’ve gotten out of the water. It causes an itchy and burning rash that will get worse if you rub it. You may even get “fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, headache and diarrhea,” in that case you should seek medical attention.
- Swimmer’s Itch. Cercarial dermatitis only happens if you’re swimming in fresh water that has been contaminated by parasites called schistosomes. In the US, the schistosomes won’t cause a parasitic infection, but they will enter the skin and cause Swimmer’s Itch as it dies. The parasites cause an bumpy, red rash that will be itchy on exposed skin not covered by a bathing suit. Cover more area, and less skin will be vulnerable. As with Sea Bather’s Eruption, you can find relief from over-the-counter antihistamines and soothing anti-itch products.
Image via Girls on HBO