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Hands up, if you are all too familiar with the feeling of those glowing, sore, itchy red patches between your legs? Hands up if you’ve ever walked around looking like you peed your pants just to stop the pain? Hands up if you’ve ever been too embarrassed to admit that you’ve done harm to loved ones? Hands up if you’ve gone without skirts or dresses for too long because you don’t have a thigh gap and aren’t sure how to prevent chafing?
For the vast majority of us, the warmer days bring not only the joy of sunshine but also the sweating and rubbing that can cause all kinds of ailments – and this is absolutely and perfectly normal. Unless you’re gifted with a thigh gap, these two meaty pieces of meat touch when you move. Even Beyonce wears anti-chaffing shorts, which proves that it’s not just about fat, it’s more about biology.
For as long as I can remember, even when I was much smaller, I have suffered from thigh chafing and the resulting burning sensation every year. I spent many summer vacations with friends who pretended everything was normal, tucking my dress between my legs to keep it from exploding, or trying to get out of long walks during the hottest part of the day for fear of not being able to be enduring the pain. It was never something that was talked about, never something that was normalized, and it was always a root cause of my summer discomfort; If I only knew what I know now – not only is this as common as heat rash, but you can actually do something about it.
Until I started this blog, until I made some curvy friends, I had no idea that chafing is such a universal problem and it was okay to talk about. Even my husband, a lean and fit rugby player with muscular thighs, suffers from chafing and wears cycling shorts under his gear to prevent this. Why is chafing still such a taboo subject? If it happens to so many of us and a whole new industry has emerged from the prevention of chub wear, why is it still embarrassing?
Well, no more, because I am here to tell you that there is nothing to be ashamed of and that there is something you can do to stop the summer discomfort so that you can enjoy those warm days to the fullest.
WHY CHAFE MY THIGHS?
It’s just simple physics: when your thighs (or other parts of your body) rub against each other, the resulting friction can create micro-cracks in the skin – causing irritation, inflammation, and even skin erosion. This is made worse by moisture or heat, which is why it is so common and uncomfortable during the warmer months. While it can start out as a mild irritation or a burning sensation, these inflamed patches of skin can become infected if left untreated or protected.
WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT CHAFING?
You have to stop the friction or the contact that is causing the friction. Now the conversation about chafing is much more open (although we still have a long way to go). There are so many different solutions out there to prevent friction or irritation – including:
1. Anti-Chafing Shorts & Bands. These are pretty self-explanatory, but basically they’re either lightweight, stretchy shorts or elastic bands that you wear under your usual clothing to keep your skin from touching. Finding your perfect style, shape and fit can be difficult (I can’t tell you how many are on a ladder, rolled up, or given me a super sweaty womens area), but when you do, you are she an absolute lifesaver. I like to wear these when it’s super hot and I know I will be out all day / on a long walk as there is no need to reapply creams. But the downside is that you obviously have to wash them (treat them like knickers!) After each wear, so you’ll need a few pairs in your portfolio.
I really like the “classic anti-chafing shorts” from the Big Bloomer Company because they are super stretchy, light and do their job well. They’re pretty big though, so I realized I need to zoom out. Another great alternative is the Snag Chub Rub Shorts, which feel like cropped tights but come in a variety of colors. They can be a little sweaty, they come out small, and they have a tendency to curl up, but they are super affordable.
2. Anti-chafing balms & creams. This type of solution is designed for short-term and targeted relief as you have to apply it to specific areas (and reapply throughout the day). However, it is a great alternative if you don’t feel like adding layers of sweaty and hot days. I tend to apply a generous amount between my thighs when I go for the day and top up every time I go to the bathroom – because when you get VERY hot and sweaty it tends to rub off.
Lanacane Anti Chafing Gel has long been one of my favorite pastimes as I love its silky smooth, light texture. It’s not sticky and helps my skin feel super comfortable, even if it’s a little sore the day before. Be You Anti Chafing Cream is a new discovery, and although it is relatively expensive, it can provide permanent relief. You have to wait for it to dry before walking away, but it’s super gentle and definitely helps stop the friction.
3. Talk & Powder. I used to go through tons of talc and always have a bottle in my pocket as this is the quickest, easiest way to absorb excess moisture and keep skin from rubbing against each other when you’re hot and sweaty. While this won’t provide long-term relief, it will stop chafing in the short term and absorb the moisture that could make it worse.
4. Alternative barrier products. When you go out on a search, there are hundreds of different recommendations and suggestions for things to put on your skin to prevent chafing – from petroleum jelly and dove deodorant to suda cream to baby lotion. Whatever works for you, go for it.
HOW CAN I SOLVE THE CHAFING?
When the inevitable happened, it’s important that you clean the area thoroughly with a mild detergent (not harsh fragrances) to remove moisture and bacteria. Avoid scrubbing or buffing the skin – it will only make it worse. Your only option is to rest the area and apply a very gentle emollient cream to moisturize and soothe the skin. This avoids damaged areas or products with harsh chemicals or fragrances.
Let’s stop chafing, relieve the burning sensation and get on with our lives.
You don’t have to live with it and you don’t have to be embarrassed.
SHOP THE LOOK
Gingham Print Midi Dress | ASOS | £ 35.00 | SIMILAR HERE
Heart shaped sunglasses | ASOS | £ 6.00 | SHORTCUT
Monsoon basket bag | £ 30.00 | SIMILAR HERE
Check out my other posts and help prevent chafing here.
Check out my other fashion posts with Gingham here.