Chafing (Skin Irritation)

Chafing (Skin Irritation)

What is Chafing?

Chafing is an irritation in the skin caused by constant rubbing against another part of the skin and may also be caused by sweat. It can also be caused by other irritants such as cloth and other materials that may come in contact with the skin. It comes suddenly without any warning and caused burning sensation or painful stinging. It occurs more commonly on overweight people and athletes but anybody can suffer from this skin irritation. Skin chafing may appear on areas like the groin, armpit, and nipple and most commonly in the inner thigh. Although it may not be threatening, skin chafing can make one uncomfortable and it can hinder day to day activity.

Chafing (Skin Irritation)

Picture : Chafing (skin irritation)

Image source : ADAM Inc

Causes of Skin Chafing

  1. Dry skin
  2. Sweat or moist skin
  3. Moisture usually from wearing a wet clothes
  4. Chemical irritants such as laundry detergent used
  5. Type of cloth used for clothes
  6. Overweight
  7. Skin tight clothes such as those worn by the athletes

Chafing is usually a minor problem that last for two days after the source has been removed. If chafing persist for more than two days, it is high time to seek or consult medical advice. This type of skin irritation can be prevented or be treated with home remedies. There are ways to relieve skin irritation and also relieve symptoms and an important prevention of chafing is by decreasing friction or rubbing of skin.

To Prevent Skin Chafing:

  1. Wear comfortable clothes or loose clothes to prevent skin from rubbing against the cloth.
  2. If possible, avoid wearing clothes with coarse texture as this may irritate the skin.
  3. Stay dry by wearing clothes that are dried well or change clothes that has become wet from rain or sweat.
  4. Wear proper clothing for a certain activity to be involved in such as moisture-wicking clothes made of synthetic fiber if to go on exercise.
  5. Applying lubricant such as petroleum jelly on spots common for skin chafing. Inexpensive petroleum jelly is readily available and it is best to try first on different petroleum jelly or lubricant to find out which is the best for your skin.
  6. Apply or put on powder such as talcum powder or alum powders to areas prone to chafing.
  7. If chafing is caused by laundry detergent used on clothes, consider changing brand or laundry detergent that is hypoallergenic or the mild type of detergent.

To Treat Skin Chafing and Relieve the Symptoms:

  1. Wash or clean the affected area and pat dry, avoid rubbing while drying the area as this may further cause irritation.
  2. Apply a petroleum jelly after cleaning and drying the affected.
  3. If chafing occurs with pain, bleeding, swelling or crusting, seek help from a healthcare provider who may recommend ointment that is best for chafing.
  4. If chafing is due to weight gain then it is best to start losing weight.
  5. Consider exercising on cooler time such as in the morning or in the evening to avoid too much sweating brought by high temperature in the afternoon.
  6. Hydrate skin better by taking plenty of water as dry skin is more prone to skin chafing.
  7. Put on talcum powder or cornstarch to keep the irritated skin dry.
  8. Let the affected area breathe by letting it stay open doing it at bedtime.
  9. Calendula oil is best in clearing skin of irritation brought by chafing and it also has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal property.
  10. Use zinc oxide to treat chafing.
  11. Avoid rubbing or scratching chafing skin to avoid further irritation and damage.
  12. Give chafing some time to heal by avoiding activities that caused skin chafing. It will heal in a day or two.

Inner thigh chafing is the most common area where chafing occurs. Most people suffering from this kind of chafing are those with overweight or obese people and those with heavy thighs. It is also common to athletes due to the attire they are required to wear. Overweight people have bigger thighs that it tends or mostly the thighs rub against each other when they are walking. The characteristic of this inner thigh chafing is like a hive or welt and it can sometimes have raw open areas and may sometimes result to blister. This kind of chafing is so uncomfortable and causes an individual to have a hard time walking. Inner thigh chafing can be prevented and can be treated.

Preventing Inner Thighs Chafing:

  1. Overweight people should start losing weight.
  2. Consider exercise to trim or tone the area of the thigh.
  3. Keep the thigh and groin area well moisturize as dehydrated skin are more prone for skin chafing.
  4. Apply lubricant such as petroleum jelly on thigh areas and groin areas before walking or doing running exercise.
  5. Wear snug fitting pants and if possible, for men, should consider wearing a boxer shorts or spandex cycling shorts before putting on pants and for women, consider wearing stockings to prevent other clothes from rubbing against the skin of the thighs and groin.
  6. Avoid moisture build up in the groin and thigh area by wiping it dry with a cloth or tissue after using the toilet or after peeing.

Treating Inner Thighs Chafing:

  1. Lubricant application will soothe the stinging or painful sensation.
  2. Consult a physician on what best ointment to use for inner thigh chafing.
  3. Wash the area with hypoallergenic soap or mild soap and rinse with cool or lukewarm water.
  4. Apply anti-inflammatory or anti-bacterial ointment to prevent further complication or infection.
  5. Take some time to let the chafing heal as it usually goes after a day or two so as to avoid infection brought by raw open areas.


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