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Beauty Etiquetter: The Nude Review Of Saunas And Steam Rooms

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Beauty Etiquetter is a new column on Beauty Counter in which we address your beauty-protocol predicaments with candid advice from industry experts and those in the know. To submit a question, e-mail celia _ellenberg@condenast.com.

The Quandary: I cringe when I see someone naked in the sauna, steam room, or jacuzzi. I don’t want to be a square, but I can’t help but think: is this sanitary?

The Expert in Residence: Enid Aquino, Spa director for the Peninsula Spa New York.

The Advice: Many spas in the United States do offer a clothing optional environment within the areas that are not co-ed such as the sauna, steam room, and Jacuzzi. If you are a bit wary of going nude, it can definitely be a bit disconcerting to experience these amenities with others who are completely nude, whether it be due to a personal preference or if you’re worried about the cleanliness level of the spa. In our spa we try to be mindful of this when we suggest that guests disrobe to their comfort level when using the spa’s facilities. This may mean fully undressed or with undergarments or bathing suits as an option when using the spa. Please also keep in mind that a respectable spa will ensure that the heated experiences remain clean and sanitary with protocols in place for sanitizing areas throughout the day. Our steam room is on a 60-minute timer. Every time it shuts off an attendant wipes down the benches with anti-bacterial wipes and tends to any other debris. Once that is done, they use the shower hose that’s in place to wash off any residue from the wipes. Also, an after-hours cleaning company details the spa every evening and deep cleans the steam room, sauna, and locker rooms all the way down to the drains. The pool is cleaned daily, gets a shock treatment every other day, and we partner with a certified pool operator to shift or adjust chemicals according to usage levels.

These protocols should be the protocol in all spas that have such amenities. Most guests who prefer nudity in the spa, as common courtesy will use a towel as a barrier for sitting in the steam/sauna and we gently encourage them to use the towels for this purpose when nudity is their option. This simple act does provide a more sanitary option when going nude and is also respectful to others. I’ve found that most people use the steam and sauna for detox purposes, and to receive the optimal results they have indicated that going nude is best. However, going to a spa is ultimately about relaxation and stress-relief, so my advice is to do what feels most comfortable and just enjoy the experience!

Photo: PETER STACKPOLE/Getty Images

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