Young Asian man in a black sleeveless shirt holding a weights machine with both hands at the gym.

The slightest incidence of skin chafing can ruin an otherwise excellent . Skin friction is common during intense exercises that require repetitive movements. Biking, running, sprint drills, and kettlebell reps are among the usual suspects. If you don’t want chafed skin to get in the way of that post-exercise rush, read on.

What Is Skin Friction?

Skin friction occurs when your skin rubs against another part of your body, fabrics, or surfaces. This can result in chafing and irritation, especially in warm and moist areas such as the inner thighs, buttocks, underarms, and groin. Active people are usually no strangers to this condition, but this doesn’t mean you should simply endure it.

Symptoms from skin friction are usually mild, but irritating, nonetheless. You may experience a burning sensation, rashes, elevated bumps, or dry, flaky skin. Skin friction can result in blisters or sores in more extreme cases. If left untreated, these can become secondary skin conditions like infections.

In addition, chafing in hairier areas can lead to an inflammation of the follicles, known as folliculitis.

How to Reduce Skin Friction

It’s a good idea to cover your bases before going to the gym. Make protecting yourself a priority during workouts – especially if you’re prone to skin issues. Check out these tips to prevent skin friction at the gym.

1. Protect your skin.

When packing your gym essentials, you might want to throw in some protection, such as petroleum jelly. Apply it to areas prone to chafing, like your thighs and the back of your underarms. It lubricates and creates a barrier to reduce skin friction.

It might sound like a hassle, but moisturizing your body will help protect it from inconveniences like skin friction. Apply an unscented lotion liberally after a shower and allow your skin to absorb it before putting on your clothes.

2. Stay hydrated.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated throughout the day. If you’re not sweating during your workout, take it as a sign of dehydration and load up on H20. Doing this can help prevent dry skin and decrease your risk of skin friction.

3. Wear breathable, protective clothing.

Skin friction can also occur when fabrics and surfaces (literally) rub the wrong way. Contact sports that involve grappling and rolling put you at risk of chafing your skin on the mat. can cause chafing in your groin area and thighs if you’re not wearing the right clothes. For your skin’s sake, it’s a good idea to be more discerning with your battle gear.

Fast-absorbing cotton might seem like the obvious choice, but it gets wet easily and stays wet longer. Opt for body-hugging activewear made from sweat-licking Spandex or Lycra. Worried you’ll be labeled a MAMIL? (Look it up for fun.) Being called one probably isn’t as bad as being Mister Blister.

4. Trim your body hair.

Your girlfriend might fancy your happy trail, but folliculitis? Not hot. Avoid skin friction on hairy areas by trimming the hairs. You don’t have to it since going bare can also cause chafing and irritation. Yes, it’s a fine line. You’ll get the hang of it as you go along.

5. Practice good post-workout hygiene.

Finally, practice good hygiene. Avoid sitting in sweating clothes and shower immediately after working out. Doing this keeps bacteria from forming on your skin and infecting any irritated areas.

After washing your body of sweat and germs, remember not to skip your hair and face. Wash with Dove Men+Care Strengthening Shampoo, which makes hair visibly thicker and stronger. That's one less thing to worry about!

To prevent other skin issues like , cleanse your face with Master Facial Wash Active Brightening, which controls oil for up to eight hours. It also has antibacterial agents to help and papaya extract to brighten blemishes.

If you look haggard after a cardio session, use a cleanser like POND'S Men Facial Wash Energy Charge. It instantly awakens tired-looking skin with coffee bean extracts and antioxidants that repair damage from stress and free radicals.

Skin friction is a fact of life. It may not seem like a big deal, but it could interfere with your workout and . Take a break from activities that will make your chafing worse. Otherwise, be prepared and protect your skin from the daily grind.