The Best Way To Treat Chafing

Most of us have heard of it, and many of us have felt it, which is why it's time to reveal everything we know about chafing, or "chub rub" as it is often affectionately called. If you haven't heard of chub rub, then let's start by explaining what it is.

According to the Huffington Post, warmer temperatures, sweat, and friction are the ingredients most often linked to chafing of the skin. Symptoms of this condition include a burning sensation and extremely tender and raw skin (that sometimes bleeds) in places where skin has rubbed together. Most often, chafing happens between our thighs or underarms.

Chafing happens to the best of us. But you don't have to let it ruin your day with the pain and discomfort it causes if you know how to treat it. Firstly, there are products that have been developed to help avoid the irritation of skin rubbing together. "Anti-chafing products [form a protective] film on skin that can reduce the friction between touching skin parts," explains Birnur Aral, a senior chemist at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

There are multiple products to help treat chafing

Aral recommends looking for products like waxes and polyethylene to create a film. Pair them with silky powders that have the ingredients silica and zinc oxide to create a protective barrier. Women's Health says anti-chafing products can come in powder, gel, grease, and balm form. So if you know you're about to run a marathon or even go for a long walk, take action by slathering, rubbing, or rolling on an anti-chafing product.

It is especially smart aware of this potential skin issue during the warmer months. San Francisco dermatologist Dr. Marie Jhin tells Huffington Post why this is. "In the summertime you're sweating more, and when things are a little bit more wet, the skin is a bit more vulnerable to chafing," she says. She adds, "People are also more active in the summer, exercising and doing other things that can cause more chafing." Jhin goes on to recommend staying as dry as possible and changing quickly out of sweaty clothes or a wet bathing suit.

Choosing the correct material is essential to prevent irritation

Often, the best way to treat chafing is to try and prevent it all together. Chafing can happen while we're exercising, which is a real bummer. No one wants to cross the finish line of their 10K with raw and tender skin. This can be avoided by wearing correctly fitting workout clothes that are made from the right materials. 

Dr. Allison Hanlon, a dermatologist in Nashville, Tennessee tells Good Housekeeping to avoid cotton fabrics as it can "trap moisture and irritate the skin further." Hanlon recommends quick drying fabrics like nylon. You can even switch up your workouts to lower your risk of rubbing your skin together in the same area.

You may also find it helpful to wear shapewear while working out or just under regular outfits. Women's Health recommends shapewear to provide a slippery surface between skin that would otherwise rub together.

Chub rub can happen to anybody. Often, a little planning and preparation are all you need to avoid patches of skin that could end up tender to the touch.