Ever take a step and feel like your skin is rubbing against a cheese grater?
If you are an exercise enthusiast, or if you are overweight, you have probably experienced skin chafing. If that doesn’t sound familiar to you, it is the annoying, and painful result of your skin rubbing against clothing or against more skin.
It can occur pretty much anywhere on your body, everyone has their own unique problem spots but for women it is most common under the arms and between the thighs, and for men it is most common near their genitals, or around their nipples.
If this problem is one that rings true in your life, you shouldn’t let it deter you from doing anything and everything you’d like to do. Here’s what you need to know to treat and avoid that pesky red skin.
What is chafing?
Chafing refers to the irritation of skin caused by repetitive friction, usually generated through skin-to-skin contact of multiple body parts. Chafing usually forms in the inner thighs and inner gluts; armpits and nipples can also develop chafing although it is less common.
In order to prevent skin chafing, you must decrease the amount of friction to your skin. Here are some ways to do this:
Say no to cotton because it absorbs sweat and stays wet. Try to avoid it where you can and wear synthetic, wicking fabrics instead. Wet skin often makes chafing much worse.
Before you head out the door, apply natural talcum and alum powders to areas on your body that get the sweatiest. The powders will help to absorb any moisture and helps you stay dry.
Say no to seams and tags especially on your shirt, (or on your bra if you’re a female) because seams and tags cause major irritation.
Make sure you get a proper fit. A sports bra that is too snug will dig into your skin, and the excess material on a baggy shirt can rub your raw.
Don’t forget to cover up those nips. Nipple protection is critical for guys. NipGuards and band-aids are common prevention methods.
Apply lubricant to chafe-prone body parts. When heading out for a long run, stash Chap Stick or a travel sized deodorant, or even some coconut oil. If you feel some part of you starting to rub, take a second and roll the product over the sensitive area. It should get you through the event with little to no chaffing.
Also, make sure your skin is well moisturized. Try to apply twice a day at minimum.
Drinking water minimizes the salt concentration of sweat. Salt has a sandpaper effect on skin.
The treatment for chafing is relatively simple. As soon as you get home from whatever event made you sweat or chaff, jump in the shower and wash off in lukewarm water. Lather yourself with soap, or an all-natural alternative, to eliminate bacteria from creeping into freshly exposed skin. This will prevent the occurrence of folliculitis which is a common problem in athletes.
The next step is to sooth the red area. Make sure you pat it (not rub it) with ointment, or lotion. I recommend St. Ives moisturizing aloe cream. This cream is para-ben free and soothes the inflamed skin. Pat, don’t rub.