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How to Deal with Skin Chafing

If you are feeling a little uncomfortable on the skin and you can sense that it is starting to get tender, red, and painful, then you are probably experiencing chafing.

Skin chafing is an irritation and/or inflammation of the skin caused by repetitive friction. It can happen on multiple body parts like inner glutes and thighs and can aggravate when under excessive force or pressure. If the chafed skin is left uncleaned and untreated using a chafing cream, the damage can worsen; mild rash can turn into blisters leaving a burning sensation or a bleeding scratch mark.

Common triggers of chafing are as follows:

  • Sweat and other factors that can moisten the skin promote friction which irritates the skin more often than not. Thus, the probability of getting skin injuries out of skin chafing is higher for people living in tropical and hot areas.
  • Straps are also a common source of skin pressure that can lead to chafing. These include bra straps, backpack straps, or other straps that are worn with weight.
  • Flabby skin and fat rolls are also prone to chafing where skin rubbing is highly likely. Hence, if you are fat and have been spending some time in the gym, the extra fiction your skin goes through from working out on a repetitive motion may also lead to chafing.

Skin Chafing Prevention

Most skin chafing are seen in the crevices of our body, inner thighs, and the under-breast area. At times, armpits and nipples can chafe too and may require more time for healing. Although anti-chafing cream and petroleum jelly can help stop the occurrence of chafing, there is not a better prevention than keeping these four tips in mind and applying them altogether:

1. Stay hydrated.

Chafing is mostly triggered during workouts but daily activities can still somehow expose you to it. Hence, you have to make sure you are hydrated most of the time. Before you start your day’s work or your workout session, make sure you have monitored your water intake. Aside from its numerous health benefits, hydration will also allow you to sweat freely, thus decreasing your likelihood of mild sweating.

Mild perspiration can turn your sweat into salt crystals when dried up. These salty crystals aggravate the chafing.

2. Stay dry.

If you think your day is going to be a sweaty one, better ready your absorbent body powder ahead and a hand towel to pat your moistened areas dry. Apply them early on areas prone to chafing like crevices, or crotches. Also, if you have been discounting the importance of using dry-fit gears when working out, now’s probably the right time to stop it.

3.  Lubricate.

The invention of effective anti-chafing creams and lotions has helped people combat skin chafing easily. Such products promote easy gliding of the skin. Chafex, for instance, is a leading chafing cream which is especially formulated to create a flexible microlayer to reinforce the skin’s protective cellular structure. This microlayer is said to withstand longer, preventing the occurrence of chafing and other skin irritations like blisters, abrasions, and marks. Aside from chafing creams, scrub products like petroleum jelly are also used to prevent chafing. However, between the two, chafing creams are more preferred not only for their combating components but also because such creams are usually more soothing and less messy when compared to the jelly.

4. Wash after sweating.

Don’t let your sweat dry up on your skin. Otherwise, it will leave a gritty layer of salt that limits the skin from gliding. The friction right there can cause skin chafing.

5. Choose the right garments.

Comfort can be deceiving, i.e. loose clothes may be comfortable to wear when exercising but that can also mean more friction – you know what you are in for. That is precisely why dry-fit active wears are made – to address and prevent skin chafing especially on chafing-prone areas like in inner thigh and the lower body. Material-wise, if you are to choose between cotton and spandex, choose the latter. Go for tight polypropylene or lycra which are less absorbent.  This time, moisture-trapping cotton is your enemy. Also, look for clothes that have less to no seams as they can irritate the skin too.

6. Avoid the heat.

Consider checking the weather first if you are planning for an outdoor activity. Should you want to go out, do it early in the morning or late evening. This will save you from the unnecessary sweating which may only irritate your skin.

Skin Chafing Treatment

If your skin starts to chafe, immediately exercise caution in all our body movements. Avoid doing any activities that can rub and aggravate the damage. Instead, start your first aid by cleansing the chafed skin with care using a gentle body wash and plain lukewarm water. Once done, grab a clean towel and pat the damaged area dry. Then let it air out for a few moments to remove all the dampness.

Apply a chafing cream, a balm, a soothing lotion or an oil on the chafed skin twice a day to soothe the wound and signal skin restoration.

Let the damaged skin breathe.

Skin chafing can heal in a matter of days after continuous topical treatments if and only if you have stayed away from any activity that can trigger it. Help your skin recover even better by avoiding chemicals and harsh soaps that can hinder the healing process. Also, always keep the abrasion dry.

If Skin Chafing Persists…

If you noticed that your abrasion has not gotten any better, chances are your skin infection has already thrived or your other health conditions like diabetes have been hindering its healing. You’d know if your skin is infected if the redness is spreading outside the chafed area, if there is swelling or a burning sensation, or blood or pus is exuding from the chafed skin. When this happens, consider paying your doctor a visit as soon as possible. In such cases, your doctor may require you to take antibiotics or use an antibiotic ointment.