How to Prevent Chafing

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In one of my previous posts for Tri Talk Tuesday I talked a little about chafing. This is one of those topics that isn’t openly discussed when one decides to live an active lifestyle. You may, perhaps, find yourself googling topics like how to run faster, how to lift more, how to loose weight, but you really won’t know that you need to prevent chaffing until it’s too late and you’re experiencing the pain and the agony! Unless your one of those women with the ever allusive “Thigh Gap” (um ….excuse me!…no) chances are your going to find your thighs rubbing together at some point. Depending on your sport of choice you may even find chaffing around the groin, neck, chest or under the arms. This isn’t just a women’s thing, if you knew how many poor men I’ve seen crossing the finish line with bloody nipples……eeesh! Luckily there are some preventative steps you can take to help on the front end.

Chafing occurs when skin rubs together over a long period of time. This can lead to raw patches of skin or even blisters in some cases. First and foremost we want to prevent and control the friction on the skin.

Stay away from cotton! Period. We need to keep the skin dry. When we are active we tend to sweat….a lot. Wearing sports clothing made of a quick wicking material will pull the moisture away from the body. Cotton retains moisture holding it on the body’s surface which can lead to blisters and chafing.

If you’re a runner and you’re dealing with chafing on the inner thigh, opt for longer shorts. You want something that is fitted, like compression or biking shorts. These clothing items extend down further to prevent that upper thigh friction. You want them to be a snug fit so that they stay in place without bunching up or riding up. Again, any athletic material will do as long as it’s quick wicking material.

These can also be worn under your favorite run shorts if you’d like or alone if you don’t mind seeing your rear in spandex. Be sure to buy clothing with smooth seems. Avoid rough edges, under-wire, or anything that will rub on the skin.

You can also lubricate the area so that there is less friction. Purchase chaffing cream and apply before activity. Popular brands include:

(I prefer lady speed stick but any antiperspirant will work)

If your a cyclist they make cream specifically for those “special” areas. These are the more “colorful” brand names (yes these area real products):



For you other triathletes or divers who need to wear a wet suit, be sure to purchase a water based lubricant to prevent your suit from rubbing against the skin and creating chaffing or irritation. I use body glide around my ankles, shoulder or armpit openings, around the neck (especially around the closure) for my sleeveless wet suit. If you are using a full suit with sleeves be sure to add some around your wrists as well.

Chafing can turn any great workout into a bad one pretty quickly. Be sure to take the extra steps to keep your skin comfortable and dry to avoid those painful post workout chafing sores.

What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for chafing? Be sure to share in the comments below and help out your fellow athletes!

Happy running friends!

Priscilla Askew, NDTR

Hi I’m Priscilla! Nutritionist, USA triathlon & RRCA run coach, fitness enthusiast, foodie, and owner of Askew Nutrition & Fitness.

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