I used to love Hot Yoga (aka Bikram Yoga). I’m one of those people who get cold easily, so I like the fact that you can be in a hot room while practicing yoga postures. You end up warming up quickly in Hot Yoga, which means that you are a bit more flexible in the poses. You also feel like you are detoxing because of all the sweat that you are producing during class — although my son says that is all nonsense. He said that you feel lighter because you sweat a lot so you are losing just water weight.
Anyway, I used to think that the only bad thing about Hot Yoga was when you end up being stuck next to a guy who decides not to wear a shirt, which means that he will be dripping all over the place. GROSS! Note to all yoga men: I don’t understand why you guys don’t wear a shirt during Hot Yoga — it helps absorb sweat and also helps with body odor!
But now, I realize that there is another bad thing about Hot Yoga. I think that it makes melasma worse. What is melasma? It is a common skin problem that results in dark, patchy spots/pigments on your face. I have some spots on my face and I can’t stand them!! So frustrating that that there is no permanent cure and it is annoying and unfair that women tend to get it more than men since it is usually triggered by hormonal changes. They say that women who are pregnant or take oral contraceptives have an increased chance of getting melasma.
I’ve asked several dermatologists their views on whether Hot Yoga can make melasma worse. Most of them agree that any type of heat (steam, sauna, UV exposure) can aggravate melasma. Certain lasers can exacerbate melasma because of the heat. So, I’ve decided to stop taking Hot Yoga classes and just do regular Yoga. I’m sad that I had to stop, but I would pick having a clear complexion over Hot Yoga any day. I hope one day that there is a cure for melasma, but until then … no more Hot Yoga for me! BTW, anyone who can find a cure for melasma will not only be my personal hero (and many other women out there), but I’m sure will become a billionaire!!