Skin chafing is the annoying, irritating and painful result of skin when it rubs against clothing or skin. Overweight people and those who love exercising, have experienced this at one point in life. It can occur on any part of the body but the most affected areas are the groin, thighs, nipples, and underarms.
Reasons and how to prevent chafing
Your skin is chafed if:
- It’s constantly itchy or irritated
- Experiences reddening or inflammations
- Forms blisters
- Gets discolored or gets patches
- Gets rashes with pus or vesicular rashes
- Forms a crust
One can prevent them this problem by decreasing friction to the skin. You can do this by:
Chafing becomes worse when skin is wet. Make sure that after showering you pat your skin dry completely. If you sweat a lot, apply some talcum powder to areas you suspect could become chafed. The powder will help keep moisture from the skin. Make sure clothes you wear are no wet or sweaty.
Petroleum jelly can be used to help lubricate the skin and reduce friction. Find one that works best for your skin type.
If going to the gym or exercising at home, make sure you wear clothes that fit properly. They should also be moisture-wicking. The best clothes for exercising are those made of synthetic fibers, not cotton. If cycling, wear compression shorts to prevent thigh chafing. Do not overdress and look for exercise clothes with smooth seams to prevent your skin from rubbing.
If the chafing mostly occurs on the thighs, exercise to lose some weight at the thighs. This will prevent them from constantly rubbing on each other. Start with exercises that will not cause chafing like weightlifting, swimming or rowing. Incorporate healthy foods into your diet too.
Drink lots of water
Water drank especially when exercising, lets your body sweat easier. It also prevents salt crystals from forming on the skin when sweating. These increase friction leading to this problem.
Rinse clothes thoroughly
After washing your clothes, make sure you rinse them completely. Do not use heavily perfumed softeners or strong detergents. These products are known to cause chafing by irritating the skin.
Treat chafing immediately to avoid infections. Wash the skin with lukewarm water, then dry it out completely. Make sure you promote airflow to the affected area and always keep it clean.
Healing will be fast if the chafed area is left uncovered to allow breathing. This, however, may not be possible especially during the day. Wear loose and comfortable clothes when sleeping.
Nipple chafing treatment
Runners experience this and sometimes it gets worse leading to bleeding. It’s not uncommon, especially among the male runners. Women are protected from this since they wear sports bras. If your nipples get chafed, remove your shirt (for men) or pull it away from the nipples. Women who experience this problem should wear the right kind of bra.
Use hydrogen peroxide to clean the chafed nipples after cleaning them up. (It’s stingy so watch out for that.) Apply some antibiotic ointment on affected area then cover the wound using a gauze secured with tape or an adhesive bandage.
Before running, apply petroleum jelly to reduce the chafing. If this does not work, try patches or tape. Place them on the nipples and see if they reduce the friction. If none of the above remedies work, visit a doctor.
Groin chafing treatment
Groin chafing is mostly caused by wearing wet clothes, constant friction due to clothes, failure to constantly change diapers or pads, sweating due to exercise, allergies and wearing tight clothes that tend to cling to the body.
Wear the right clothes, lubricate the skin and avoid tight clothing. If this does not work, visit a doctor.
Chafed thighs treatment
Inner thigh chafing can be treated by avoiding very tight clothes. If overweight, try losing the weight to prevent the thighs from always rubbing against each other as you ran or walk. Try putting on synthetic clothes that fit you perfectly. Remove a cloth immediately you notice it’s irritating or rubbing your skin. Continuing to wear it will only make the rubbing worse hours after wearing it.
Chafing Home Remedies
Petroleum jelly and A & D ointment
Combine petroleum jelly and A & D ointment. A & D ointment is used for diaper rash. Combine one cup of each into a bowl, add a ¼ cup of Aloe Vera and ¼ cup of vitamin E cream. Mix the ingredients well then spread it on the chafed skin. You can also apply it to areas that usually chafed before leaving the house or starting exercises.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil speeds up healing of chafed skin and prevents infection. To apply, soak a cotton ball in water then add some few drops of tea tree oil to it. Press it against the affected area and repeat often until the skin heals. Do a patch test first especially if you’ve got a sensitive skin to avoid irritations. Place a drop of the tea tree oil on a part of your skin, if it doesn’t get irritated after 24 hours, use it to heal your chafed skin.
Cornstarch can be used as a barrier between skin to prevent it from chafing. After showering and completely drying the skin, apply the cornstarch to areas that rub against each other. The barrier created by cornstarch will prevent friction and heal chafed skin.
Calendula oil is available as an essential oil and can be used to soothe skin and reduce inflammation. Calendula oil has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Do not apply if pregnant or if you have allergies since the oil can trigger increased blood flow.
Diaper rash ointment
If your chafing starts to bleed, diaper rash ointment can be used to soothe the skin and lubricate it. It also prevents further irritation.
- Prevention Health Books for Women: Natural Remedies: Nondrug Healing Strategies That Work Best
- Althea Press: Home Remedies Rx: DIY Prescriptions When You Need Them Most
- Jordan Metzl’s Running Strong: The Sports Doctor’s Complete Guide to Staying Healthy and Injury-Free for Life
- Irina Webster: Healthy Pregnancy From A To Z: An Expectant Parent’s Guide To Wellness