How can I Relieve Skin Chafing?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Chafed skin, which can be caused by many factors, is extremely uncomfortable. It often appears as a raised red rash or even blisters, which hurt as though the skin has been burned. It can occur in just about anyone, and anyone who has it is immediately interested in finding ways to relieve it.

In order to prevent skin chafing, you can spread petroleum jelly on areas prone to chafing.
In order to prevent skin chafing, you can spread petroleum jelly on areas prone to chafing.

First off, it is best to try to prevent skin chafing rather than to develop it. You may want to start by wearing clothing that is well fitting, but not too tight, and is made of natural fibers so that the skin can breathe. Sometimes, people recommend loose clothing to avoid skin chafing, but this can actually make matters worse. Skin can chafe against looser clothes, especially at seams, and create the problem.

On serious cases of skin chafing, a doctor may prescribe hydrocortisone cream to heal it.
On serious cases of skin chafing, a doctor may prescribe hydrocortisone cream to heal it.

You’ll also want to make sure that areas prone to skin chafing, like between the upper thighs, are protected from each other. Choose pants instead of short shorts or a skirt so the legs are not rubbing up against one another, and use a protective ointment like petroleum jelly or a lotion with Micatin, an antifungal agent used to prevent chafing of the skin in areas where it has been a problem.

Cornstarch, which can help with skin chafing.
Cornstarch, which can help with skin chafing.

If you already have chafed skin, focus should be on protecting and treating the skin as soon as possible. You can treat skin chafing with either of the lotions mentioned above, or you can use cornstarch powder. Lotions tend to be preferable to powder since they help provide a protective barrier which guards against further chafing.

Overweight people sometimes chaff along the skin folds.
Overweight people sometimes chaff along the skin folds.

You’ll also want to do what you can to keep the chafed area of skin dry. This may be difficult in hot weather, but do try for well-ventilated clothing and wear those items in your wardrobe that don’t seem to exacerbate the condition. If you are overweight, chafing can occur along the skin folds and is much more prone to causing yeast infections to develop. In addition to using an anti-chafing ointment with an antifungal, you’ll want to be sure to shower once daily, and allow chafed skin to completely dry before dressing.

Sometimes skin chafing becomes so severe that you’ll need to see a doctor. If the above methods don’t treat the condition within a couple of days, do see your physician. Occasionally, hydrocortisone cream is needed to clear up the problem, since it can help reduce inflammation. However, if the chafing has occurred over a large area of skin, you should not use hydrocortisone treatments without a doctor’s advice. At other times, a yeast infection has developed, and may need a stronger antifungal medication available by prescription only.

People are more prone to chafing if they are athletes, when the weather is hot and they are sweating, or if they are overweight. Not all “cures” work for every person, so it’s important to evolve your own methods of dealing with skin chafing. For one person, looser clothes and petroleum jelly is the answer. For others better fitting clothes and Micatin works best. Just remember to keep an eye on skin chafing for signs of oozing, or if the problem doesn’t resolve. Though this condition can be very minor, it can develop into more serious infections that will require a doctor’s care.

Skin chafing can occur in just about anyone.
Skin chafing can occur in just about anyone.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


I used to dread summer months due to chafing. It made it hard to go running or exercise because of the heat. I use Bandelettes now and they work wonders. However, like the article mentions above, you have to buy well fitted clothing and it goes the same for Bandelettes for them to work properly. To ensure that you get a proper fit, you just have to measure your thighs correctly.


Buy and use Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel. I use this product to prevent my bra from chafing me.


I get chafed pretty bad and need something to do about it. Help, please.


My dermatologist prescribed a potent steroidal cream called Triamcinolone Acetonide for various skin chaffing issues. The problem is caused by humidity. Try to keep yourself clean by showering daily and wearing clean cotton undergarments. When you can, air the problem area (use a fan or a dryer on cool). Always use gentle cleansers and don't hurt your skin by scratching with your nails. The medication works great. I've been using it for over 10 years. You should only use a very small amount, never near your eyes.

As always, meds are wonderful helpers, but understanding and addressing the root cause is our responsibility. If you can't get the prescription creame, they sell white cotton patches, you can place in skinfolds and wear under your clothing.


I have chub-rub on my inner thighs and it itches to the point where I bleed. I and tried a and d ointment but it helped for a while then I tried anti fungal cream and it helped for a while. Now I am trying Neosporin and it seems to help but I am still really itchy. I feel like I am to the point that I need to see a doctor if I can't heal it.


I'm slightly overweight and have large thighs so they're always rubbing together and because of this I get really bad chafing all the time. The best thing I've found that works is a simple anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory cream from your local chemist, straight off the shelf. Apply a small amount after washing and drying the area and you will have instant relief.


I have found a anti-chafing body wrap that works great on my heels and between my thigh's when I walk. It's like wearing a skinny band-aid but it never falls off. I really think you should add it to the list of remedies because it's not a gel or a powder, it doesn't ruin your clothes and it lasts the entire marathon without reapplying.


Skin Strong products help. Try Slik and Slather. They are really awesome for chafing. Slather smells really good too, which most other products don't. Slik is a spray and a dust. I like the dust in my shoes and the slik under my bra line where that rubs.


Under-armor compression shorts will help reduce chafing between thighs. Your legs might get a little warmer, but the skin won't rub against itself and you'll be a lot more comfortable.


There is a solution to chafing skin. It's called ThighGlide for women and ChafeAway. It can be found online. This is a new company and will be in stores by year end. You get three per tube and I cut mine in three to get six wears. Wear it where it hurts.


If you're chafing and need immediate relief, put some big band-aids over the area. Yeah, it's not treating the problem, but you won't be uncomfortable anymore.

I wait tables, and when my thighs occasionally chafe I can't just go home; I have to keep walking constantly for hours. Sometimes, the adhesive is a little irritating, but not nearly as bad as walking around with blistery thighs rubbing together. I keep them in my purse at all times just in case!


Thanks for the tip about Huppo! I am a large guy who suffers from chafing. I bought some Huppo and am using it regularly. I have always liked the comfort and dryness powder provides, but hated the mess and the need to reapply every couple of hours. Huppo lasts all day with no mess. Love this product. I agree with the previous post. Try this product. You will love it.


I've always used deodorant to prevent and some times treat my chafing. i am an athlete and my job is meter reading for an electric company. which means i walk for at least seven hours a day. but i am currently chafing and the deodorant only sooths it temporarily and the sting putting it on is almost not worth it. thanks for all the extra help.


Best innovative product for male hygiene is Huppo! Gives long lasting protection and is the 1st line of defense against moisture buildup which causes skin irritation. Try it, you will love it!


My boyfriend suffers from chaffing and couldn't find any comfortable underwear that wouldn't make it worse. I found this underwear called Slix that has solved his problem! The material helps relieve the chaffing on his inner thighs.


I have large breasts and have suffered from chafing for many years, especially in the summer, but even skinny people can get this -- especially in nursing homes.

A friend told me about a powder that will both heal and prevent this condition and I highly recommend it - Recreo Powder. Try it. It works miraculously! --xvaz


I went tubing the other day and the tube was covered in canvas. It was windy out so it was pushing us up stream when we wanted to go down stream so we had to paddle. I have short arms and with every paddle my arms got chafed. What is the best way to make it get better?


One of the best ways I have found to fight chafing or irritation from sweating under the stomach or breasts is to use a Pambra. They make products specifically for these areas, and they aren't expensive!


I have heard that Body Glide is a very good product to use for skin chafe. Many athletes use it and I am going to pick some up today. I am a runner and love the feel of running but chafing discourages me from going out at times. I am going to go out and buy some body glide today and let you guys know what i think about it.


I am overweight and luckily until about a week ago i have never had a problem. Well now I am having chafing. It seems like my butt cheeks are rubbing together. I put some a and d ointment on them and that gives me instant relief but if I don't reapply every two hours it starts to burn again. But I am going to try vaseline and see how that works. thanks everyone.


I can't use deodorant, it's so sore.


i suffer from chub rub and have tried all kinds of things. Mostly i try to keep the area dry because sweat really irritates my friction areas. i use a protecting balm called secret shield for times i want to wear skirts without chafing. it works great for me. it's 100 percent veggie derived and feels good on my skin.


Do not wear lace underwear. It makes it so much worse.


Deodorant does work if you use it before. Unfortunately, I forgot it today and am in a lot of pain. Ice seems to help but today as soon as I noticed it was starting to chafe, I used chapstick in the irritated to area. It worked like vaseline in a pinch and seemed to help me from getting any further irritation.


put deodorant between your thighs. it works, i swear.


The best remedy for chafed skin is first to wash it very gently with lukewarm water and a mild soap. Pat dry very gently.

Apply petroleum jelly (vaseline) and then dust over the vaseline with talcum powder. You will have instant comfort.

The vaseline will act as a barrier to protect the injured skin and prevent infection while it heals and the talcum on top will stop your clothing from sticking to it and feeling unpleasant.


The best solution is to shave the genital area, wear skirts with a maximum length above the knee shorter is better and not wear any underwear such as G strings, panties etc.

The air flow on the bare vagina will heal. If you could get some sunlight on the bare vagina this will also help and the last one is to sit in the sea water with the bare vagina. (In some countries it is allowed and others I would suggest sitting in the water in a micro skirt obviously without underwear).


i have really bad chafed skin and i have tried to use cornstarch but it doesn't really work and my father is not able to make a doctor's appointment until next month. what should i do?


I am overweight and have always had constant problems with chafing. I actually found a great product which is made for athletes to prevent chafing, but works great for everyday use for me. It is called Trislide, and is awesome because it sprays on (continuous spray, like sunscreen), rather than rubs on so it is not a goopy mess. I just spray in my problem areas and it works! It is also environmentally safe and not animal tested. I found it at a local triathlon store, but I believe there are many online stores that carry it as well. It is called Trislide made by SBR Sports.


What about ice first, to reduce the heat and swelling (thigh chafing)?


I heard your not supposed to use petroleum jelly because it clogs the skin or something.


my mom is 42 years old and overweight. she's been having skin chafing problems for a while now. It's all red and irritable underneath her stomach and since she's overweight, her skin folds rub against each other causing further chafing. What can be done?


(cheap) animal-safe chafing products?

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