The combination of sweat, heat and
friction in the warmer months can lead to painful chafing that can be
identified by a painful red rash.
Chafing can occur anywhere, but
it’s most common between the thighs, armpits, nipples, and groin. You can get
chafing from just walking around, but it’s especially common with activities
like running, cycling, and sports.
Some people are embarrassed by
chafing, but there’s no need to suffer in silence as there are actions that you
can take to prevent chafing and to treat it if it does occur.
Try using anti-perspirant or anti-chafe
If you get chafing under your arms,
it’s likely that you’re already using an anti-perspirant deodorant. However,
you may also wish to try applying anti-perspirant between the thighs if that’s
where you’re chafing.
Because chafing occurs from the
repeated rubbing of sweaty skin, anti-persiprant can be effective in preventing
chafing. If you already have chafing, even if it’s mild, you may wish to choose
a sensitive formula to reduce the likelihood of irritation. If you’re someone
with sensitive skin or an existing rash, you may wish to test a small patch of
skin in the area first to check for any signs or irritation.
Another option is a specific
anti-chafing product which is available as sticks, rubs, creams or powders.
These products act as a layer between the two points of the skin, helping to
ease friction and/or keep the area dry.
Choose anti-chafing fabrics
Fabrics which are labelled as
‘sweat-wicking’ use special fabrics that are designed to draw moisture away
from the skin.
Keeping the skin free of sweat is
key in preventing chafing, so wearing sweat-wicking fabrics (usually synthetic
fabrics) can help, especially when you’re exercising.
On the other hand, some people find
that loose-fitting, breathable clothing in cotton fabrics can help to regulate
body temperature and reduce chafing.
Try a few different options and see
what works for you.
Wear protective layers
Typically you don’t want to layer
up your clothing in the warmer months, but wearing a protective garment under
your clothing can help keep chafing under control.
For chafing on the thighs or groin,
a garment like bicycle shorts can help by placing a layer of smooth fabric
between the two points that rubbing, reducing friction, and therefore, chafing.
If you experience chafing on the
nipples, it may be worth investing in nipple shields or guards which can be
worn under the clothing undetected.
For the underarms, look for
clothing that is seamless or fits snug against the armpit without bunching.
Avoid fragrances and harsh ingredients
If your skin is even the slightest
bit irritated, you’re much more likely to experience chafing.
This is because the skin is already
sensitive and possibly inflamed, so it is more prone to irritation from sweat
Try switching to fragrance-free or
sensitive versions of products like body wash, laundry detergent and
moisturiser to keep irritation to a minimum.
Keep stubble to a minimum
If you shave your armpits, thighs,
or pubic hair, you may experience chafing as the hair begins to grow back.
Short, blunt hairs (or stubble)
increase friction, which leads to chafing. Try keeping the hair slightly longer
or freshly shaved to help ease the friction.
If you’re already suffering from
chafing, there are a few things you can do for relief. Firstly, avoid using any
harsh products on the area, and instead choose fragrance-free and sensitive
formulations. Aloe vera gel can be especially soothing, especially if you store
it in the fridge.
When bathing, avoid using very hot
water and try lukewarm or cool water instead. Choose a gentle cleanser and
avoid scrubbing the area. When drying off, gently pat the area instead of
An ice pack can also provide
relief, but be sure to wrap it in a tea towel or cloth first and avoid placing
the ice directly on the skin.
An anti-inflammatory cream
(combined with an antifungal agent) is available from your pharmacist and is
often helpful on severe, red, inflamed chafing rashes.
Your local Capital Chemist
pharmacist can recommend products and treatments that are right for you.