What is Chafing?
Chafing is a friction induced skin injury that is uncomfortable and often painful. This irritation is caused from skin rubbing against skin or from clothing that is too tight. It results in red, irritated patches that sting and have a burning sensation. Chafing can affect almost any part of your body, from the thighs, groin, underarms and nipples, to name a few. Wetness from sweat or urine can further aggravate chafed skin and cause a painful rash.
Causes of Chafing
Chafing is a common condition. Being overweight can also put you at risk for chafing due to the friction caused from skin rubbing against other skin, particularly when walking. However, it can also be caused by sitting too long - as some motorcycle riders can attest. Add sweaty, moist skin into the mix and it’s an ideal situation for a bout of chafing. Runners and athletes are also commonly affected.
Tips for Keeping Chafing at Bay
Although chafing is normally just an annoying condition, if left untreated it can sometimes lead to infection. Follow some of the tips below to keep chafing at bay. If you experience an infection you should contact your physician.
- Avoid harsh soaps and cleansers with fragrance, sulfates or aggressive cleansers
- After cleaning the affected area apply a lubricating zinc-based barrier cream that will soothe skin while preventing friction by adding some slip
- Avoid body lotions containing alcohol, fragrance or strong chemicals
- Stay hydrated (water, water, water) – dry skin is more prone to chafing
- Wear proper fitting clothing - moisture wicking clothes are a great choice to reduce sweat on the skin