Asian woman cyclist on stationary bike

Skin chafing is an uncomfortable, sometimes painful, experience that people hardly talk about. Often, people point toward excess weight as the culprit, hence the stigma attached to it. However, the truth is anyone can experience chafing because friction doesn't discriminate based on the numbers on the weighing scale.

Below are some of the reasons behind skin chafing and how you can keep it from happening.

Causes of Skin Chafing

A perfect storm of friction, moisture, and an irritant causes skin chafing. Usually, this irritant is a rough fabric, but it can also be triggered by other materials that repeatedly rub against the skin. The persistent friction plus sweat can cause irritation, stinging, or burning on the skin. In some extreme cases, it can lead to bleeding and crusting. It usually occurs on body parts that are in contact with clothing.

How to Prevent Skin Chafing

Sweat can also lead to chafing. So, keep your skin clean and dry while still moisturized enough to withstand friction. Chafing can happen in many areas of the body. Here are some tips for avoiding and addressing it in various cases. 

Inner thigh chafing.

Skin chafing on the inner thigh can occur if you’re overweight or if your thighs are simply anatomically closer together. Walking in a skirt, certain types of pants, and gartered underwear can also cause chafing in the area, . To prevent this, wear proper-fitting clothes to minimize friction against the skin. Choose moisture-wicking fabrics as much as possible to keep the skin dry.

Chafing from exercise.

Certain endurance sports that involve repeated movements, such as running and biking, can cause skin chafing. Again, it’s essential to (cycling shorts were certainly not invented for aesthetic reasons). After exercising, remove your wet, sweaty clothes to prevent further skin contact. Wearing deodorant, which usually also has skin-soothing and moisturizing ingredients, can also prevent chafing even in areas other than the underarms.

Chafed nipples.

Breastfeeding moms can also experience chafing in the nipples. If you can’t completely stop nursing, you can protect the area by keeping it clean. Use mild soap and water, then avoid further friction by airdrying or patting them dry. Avoid irritating fabrics and wear nursing bras with pads to help absorb moisture. Applying to the area can also help heal dryness. Just make sure to wipe everything off with a soft cloth when it’s feeding time.

Chafing from sanitary pads.

Wearing sanitary napkins is the perfect recipe for skin chafing because of the texture of most pads and the excess moisture in the area. According to the Center for Young Women’s Health, wider pads move around more when walking or running. If you experience this, try wearing a smaller one. You could also switch brands or look for unscented pads. Finally, change your pad every three to four hours, no matter how light the flow to keep the skin dry and less prone to irritation.

Protect your skin with healthy moisture. Use a skin repair lotion such as Vaseline Healthy Bright UV Extra Brightening Body Lotion. It has SPF and Vaseline petroleum jelly which coats the skin with moisture and encourages healing. It also has niacinamide, which can help caused by friction.

Prevent skin chafing by avoiding repeated friction and moisture on the skin. Apply a fast-drying skin repair lotion to protect your skin barrier. If irritation persists or starts to bleed or crust, consult your dermatologist immediately.