What is Chafing and How Can You Prevent it?


Chafing is an irritating skin irritation problem that does not choose a gender. Even men are not exempted of it. Yet apparently, many people who suffer from chafing does not know what such a condition is called. As a result, this and the choice to not visit a dermatologist leaves the problem inappropriately treated.

What is chafing?

Chafing is a type of skin irritation that takes place when there is a frequent skin-to-skin or skin-to-clothing rubbing. It also happens when the skin is exposed to an irritating cloth, sweat or any moisture. If the rubbing or exposure is prolonged, the skin can consequently become red and raw which can, as a result, leave a stinging or burning feeling. When the chafed skin is left untreated and gets infected, it can relatively swell, bleed, or rust.

Any part of your body is susceptible to chafing but frequent cases of it occur in the groin, inner thighs, armpits, buttocks, feet, and nipples. The thing is even if you have always brought an anti chafing cream with you, it’s useless unless you know the potential causes that you need to do away with.

What causes a chafe?

There are many factors, or incidence of repeated rubbing with moisture, that can cause and aggravate the chafing. Below are some of them:

  1. Sweat is moisture; that alone qualifies any sweating skin to chafe. And because sweat, when dries up, leaves a layer of salt onto the skin, the chafing can aggravate the irritation especially when friction is present.
  1. Wearing diapers or napkins. Oddly enough to hear, the moisture from urine, blood, and feces can also lead to chafing and the threatening infection is highly likely as the bacteria can get into the chafed wound.
  1. Wearing inappropriate garments. These include wearing inappropriate, loose clothing while working out as the repetitive moments entail frequent skin to skin rubbing that, with sweat moisture, can lead to chafing. In the same manner, wearing poorly fit clothes, dresses, or skirts which are inappropriate to hot and humid weather can also cause the skin to chafe in the long run.
  1. Being overweight. Fats and multiple folds on the thighs and arms are also susceptible to chafing as skins can rub against each other.
  1. Motherhood, they say, is a noble thing that takes a lot of selflessness. Apparently, how breastfeeding women suffer from chafed nipples when wearing pads and bras somehow proves it.

How to prevent it?

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. The same is true with chafing. It’s always better to be always steps ahead than suffer from it first and having to look for a cure. Although, at times it can be inevitable to prevent chafing, ensuring some to-dos to reduce its frequency can already help a lot. Below are some vital preventive measures to take:

  1. Using an anti-chafing cream. The creation of anti-chafing creams involved a lot of effort and hard work and the market is thriving for a reason. Chafing creams are proven to be effective in significantly reducing the likelihood of skin chafing. Hence, using it is always a wise defense.

To use this, just apply and rub the cream on areas susceptible to chafing and blistering. And then let it dry.

  1. Aside from chafing creams, lotions or oils applied to areas prone to chafing is also a preventive measure that works well as the gliding reduces hard friction.
  1. Stay dry. Staying dry also prevents chafing as much as lubricating does. While the latter is only an ideal solution if you really have no choice but to carry out a particular activity where rubbing can happen, staying dry also works wonders as it eradicates one of the culprits of skin chafing that is the moisture.

To stay dry, you can use an anti-perspirant deodorant on y our armpits or pour on some powder on your neck, back and groins.

  1. Wear appropriate clothing especially when exercising. At first, active wears may appear useless. You may always claim that you already have enough number of garments to comfortably wear while working out but did you know that active wears are there primarily for significant reasons and one of them is to avoid skin chafing? Nylon, polyester, and spandex materials are especially made to help your skin breathe while allowing your sweat to dry up fast. This lessens the chafing threat.
  1. Always wash the sweat off. The gritty layer of salt that gets stuck on our skin once your sweat dries up is a potential aggravator of skin chafing. Avoid that by not letting your sweat seep through your skin. Whether instantly or a few hours later, always wash after sweating.
  1. Use soft bandages to areas that are vulnerable to chafing like the feet or nipples. Also, take extra care of the latter when you are breastfeeding. Keep them dry and clean and as much as possible, do not use fabrics that can cause skin irritation.
  1. Dress according to the weather. Keep away from sweat, remember?

When preventing comes a bit late and treating is necessary, here’s some steps you can follow:

Step #1: Cleanse the chafed area with water and mild soap.

Step #2: Pat it dry.

Step #3: Use a chafing cream to relieve the pain and avoid skin infection.

Step #4: Apply glide-ons and balms to the affected area to reduce the occurrence of friction that can aggravate the wound. Lubricants also help lessen further infection.

Step #5: Let the chafed skin breathe and heal. Do not use inappropriate clothing. If the chafed area is on the groin, you can use shorts with spandex material to protect the wound while it is healing.

Step #6: If the condition persists, consult your doctor right away to avoid further infection.

Chafing creams are proven to relieve the chafing and the pain that goes with it. They are widely available in the market nowadays and are a great skin investment. For a maximum effect, follow the instructions that are usually indicated on the packaging.

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