Let's talk about chafing.

Feel The Chafe: It's not just a satirical slogan for a seldom-remembered presidential candidate. Listen, it happens to all of us. Especially here in the humid, sweaty South, if you're active in summer it's almost a guarantee that you have, at some point, felt like someone took a cheese grater to your inner thighs (or somewhere equally intimate and uncomfortable). Chafing happens anywhere on the body where skin rubs against itself or your clothing, most commonly on thighs, underarms, nipples, or under the band of a sports bra. It's usually not something you think about until it happens, and then oh boy do you think about it. So, how do you prevent it?

1. Avoid cotton.

Your favorite cotton t-shirt might not be your favorite after you finish a long run and your nipples are rubbed raw. Cotton, while airy and breathable, will absorb sweat and hold all that moisture against your skin where it rubs and causes friction. Good athletic apparel will be made from synthetic material that wicks sweat and keeps you dry.

2. Make sure the fit is right, and replace old apparel.

This is particularly important when it comes to sports bras, but the rule applies to other apparel too. Aside from the fact that a too-large sports bra isn't doing what a bra is supposed to do, ill-fitting clothing in general is likely to move around on your body, irritating your skin. It's also important to replace old bras and apparel regularly, because clothes stretch and bodies change, and your favorite pair of shorts from three years ago probably don't fit the same.

3. Hydrate.

There are countless reasons to drink more water during the day, but did you realize hydration can help prevent chafing? Sweat is obviously salty, and that salt is like sandpaper on your skin. Staying hydrated will decrease your sweat's salinity and reduce the amount of salt on your skin.

4. Create a barrier.

If you're doing everything else right, and still can't escape the chafe, it's time to grease up or cover up. Body Glide is a trusty old favorite; non-sticky, plant-based, and swipes on like deodorant. A newer option, Sport Shield, is a silicone-based option that rolls on. Both are non-toxic, free of animal derivatives, and can be applied to sensitive areas. For men who experience nipple chafing, NipEaze is a great option (although plenty of guys get by with plain ol' Band-Aids!).


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