As a sports physiotherapist who works with athletes of all levels, I spend a lot of time rehabilitating injuries and improving fitness. However, a big part of my job is also maintaining the health and functionality of athletes' skin. From blister management to athletic tape cuts and grazes, skin care is a crucial aspect of injury prevention and overall performance.
Thigh chafing is a common skin issue that can greatly impact an athlete's comfort and performance. That's why I prioritize prevention over treatment whenever possible. If you're looking to avoid the discomfort and irritation of chafing, here are my top five tips:
1. Build the skin’s resilience
Building up your skin's resilience is an essential step in preventing thigh chafing. Healthy skin is strong skin, so it's important to take care of the skin in the groin area. One way to do this is by hydrating the skin from both the inside out and outside in. Drinking water is a great way to keep your skin hydrated from the inside, while applying a moisturizer or recovery cream, such as Premax Recovery Cream, can help hydrate and nourish your skin from the outside.
By keeping your skin hydrated, you can improve its elasticity and reduce its susceptibility to shear forces. This will not only help prevent chafing but also make your skin more resistant to other forms of irritation and injury. So, be sure to prioritize skin care as part of your routine for preventing thigh chafing.
Photo: Premax Recovery Cream
2. Choose the right fabrics
Choosing the right fabrics is crucial when it comes to preventing thigh chafing. Opt for moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics like polyester, nylon, and tech fabrics, which can help keep sweat away from your skin and reduce friction. On the other hand, avoid cotton, as it tends to retain moisture and can exacerbate rubbing and irritation. This includes avoiding wearing cotton underwear under chafe or bike shorts, as it can create a breeding ground for chafing in the most unpleasant of areas.
3. Watch those seams
Don't overlook the impact of seams, tags, and bunched up clothing when it comes to preventing thigh and groin chafing. These small factors can make a big difference in your overall comfort during physical activity. To avoid chafing caused by clothing, invest in high-quality apparel that fits well and has seams in the right places. Test out new clothing during training to ensure a smooth and comfortable fit before racing or completing.
When it comes to seams, flatlock seams or seamless designs can be particularly effective in reducing friction and irritation. Additionally, consider removing tags or cutting them out of clothing to prevent them from rubbing against your skin. By paying attention to these small details, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing thigh chafing and enjoy a more comfortable and enjoyable experience during physical activity.
4. Apply anti friction balm
Using an anti-friction balm can be a lifesaver, or rather, a chafe-saver when it comes to preventing thigh chafing. Look for a long-lasting and skin-friendly option, such as Premax Anti Friction Balm, and apply it correctly and in the right areas. To reduce friction and irritation, rub the balm between your thighs, around your perineum area, and anywhere else where your clothes might rub and cause chafing. Don't be shy about where you apply the balm - many people experience chafing between their butt cheeks, so be sure to apply the balm where it's needed (no one will see!).
Photo: Premax Anti Friction Balm
5. Watch the salt
Don't overlook the impact of salt when it comes to preventing thigh chafing. Whether it's from swimming in the ocean or from sweat, salt can significantly increase rubbing and friction, leading to uncomfortable and painful chafing. Dried sweat can be particularly problematic, as the minerals left behind can exacerbate the friction.
To prevent salt-related chafing, it's important to take steps to reduce sweat and moisture buildup in the groin area. If you're exercising for long periods, be sure to take breaks and change gear as needed to stay dry and comfortable. You can also clean and dry the groin area, and reapply anti-friction balm or powder to help reduce friction.