By Jana Taylor
Chafing is one of those problems that happen to everyone. Whether it occurs on the thighs, under arms, genitals, or anywhere else it is never a welcome situation.
So if you want to eliminate chafing from your life, the first step is to understand how and why it happens. The ‘how’ is pretty easy to understand; the surface of your skin gets rubbed to the point where the top layers are becoming irritated, then damaged, and perhaps even peeling off or bleeding in the worst case scenarios.
The ‘why’ of chafing can be caused by many different things. Here is a rundown of the top culprits:
Yes, I said it. Being overweight can lead to chafing. I know no one likes to hear it, but a main reason that people have chafing issues is that they are carrying extra weight (especially in the thighs) and when skin surfaces rub against one another that is a sure way to create a chafing crisis.
Your questionable wardrobe choices
Maybe you just bought a fabulous new outfit and you spent way more than you should have, but darn it, you look good! You debut your snazzy new attire only to notice that after less than an hour it’s starting to rub you the wrong way. You just ignore it; after all you look really good. After two hours, all you can think about is not ‘moving the wrong way’ so you won’t aggravate the site of soreness; and after three hours you are cursing the fashion designer who chose this awful fabric and wondering how soon you can get home to change.
You are a sweaty mess
Don’t get me wrong, exercising is great. But you don’t glisten with sweat, you are bathing in it. The salts from sweat easily become trapped in areas like thighs or underarms and this creates a prime environment for chafing.
We have the how’s and why’s covered. But I promised to provide a permanent path out of chafing. There are steps to take once you have become chafed to heal your skin, and there are further steps to prevent chafing from ever happening in the first place. Let’s start with fixing existing chafing.
Cleaning the area
You will want to start by cleaning the damaged skin areas of any sweat or grime. Some things to remember- don’t use really hot water which will no doubt sting and burn. Use a very mild cleanser that is non-irritating. Don’t rub the area with a scratchy washcloth or towel. If you are lucky enough to have microfiber washcloths, those would be a wise choice.
Soothe your skin
Something not often thought about that is extremely soothing is to use ice packs on the affected area. Be sure to wrap them in a soft cloth first, and then apply to the skin. You may also find relief in a bath (not too hot though). Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your water and you will find you are feeling much better.
Protect the area
You can apply a talc-free baby powder, corn starch or baking soda to the area to prevent friction, or you can apply an ointment which may be preferable to a messy powder. I of course recommend Chafe Rescue® since it is natural, gentle and designed for that purpose.
After your skin has recovered, how can you not have to deal with this irritating problem again? It’s actually pretty simple.
Keep your skin protected
Moisture from sweat is the enemy. Use Chafe Rescue® prior to working out and you will not have to deal with chafing issues. Remember to remove your sweaty clothing right after you work out, too.
Drink more water
Yes, I know everyone says to do this for any number of health benefits, but healthy hydrated skin is less prone to chafing. It seems there are no downsides to being adequately hydrated, aside from a few more trips to the bathroom.
The right clothes
Choose clothing that will not chafe the skin. If you notice that fab new outfit is uncomfortable soon after you put it on, it’s not going to improve. Change immediately. When looking for workout clothes, avoid cotton t-shirts, and choose more comfortable moisture wicking fabrics that are designed for working out.
Lose the extra weight
No one will tell you to do this because they don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you know losing those extra pounds will mean less friction on skin surfaces, not to mention all the other benefits that come with being at a healthy weight.
Now you are a chafe expert and if you follow these simple hints you should never be plagued by this unnecessary aggravation again.
Jana Taylor is a staff writer for Peaceful Mountain.