Experienced marathon runners famously put petroleum jelly on their nipples before they set-off on the road. It’s a well-known trick to prevent chafing. And it’s not just long-distance athletes who are at risk - chafing affects everyone. A busy day shopping or a gentle amble around the park may still cause enough friction to leave you in discomfort.
- Sore skin
- Stinging skin
- Open sores
What causes chafing?
Chafing occurs when skin repeatedly rubs against skin or clothing causing friction.
How to treat chafing
Once you are chafed, treat the area like you would an open wound. Wash and clean it with antiseptic to prevent infection, and then cover it with a sterile gauze pad which allows it to breathe until it is fully healed.
Alternative Remedies & Self-help:
- Keep well hydrated: drink lots of water before, during and after exercise. This will allow you to perspire freely. A lack of hydration causes sweat to form into salt crystals on your skin which makes chafing more likely.
- Stay dry: Use talcum powder (you can use this on top of a deodorant) to ensure your skin isn’t sticky and prone to chafing.
- Lubrication: Walkers and runner use lubricants to keep skin gliding rather than rubbing raw against itself or clothing. Apply petroleum jelly or a designated chafing cream liberally to the parts of the body most vulnerable to friction.
- Clothing: Use appropriate sports clothes to help prevent chafing. Bike shorts give a skin-tight fit to prevent chafing down below, while tight-fitting lycra tops can work for the upper body.
- Protect your nipples: It may sound funny but nipples are particularly vulnerable. If you are worried that a lubricate will not do the job then consider a nipple guard or adhesive bandages for more protection.
- Lose weight: Obese and overweight people are more likely to chafe due to excess skin. Extra skin on the thighs can easily rub together even during a light walk, preventing air from circulating and creating a greater risk of chafing.