During the summer, most women seem fated to experience an uncomfortable skin irritation called chafing. Read on to find out twelve (12) proven anti-chafing tips to prevent and treat this skin problem.
WHAT IS CHAFING?
Chafing is a skin problem that strikes in warmer seasons like summer. It is usually caused by friction, moisture (sweating) or irritating fabric, although any combination of these three can lead to this skin problem. The continued rubbing of the skin caused by any of these three makes your skin burn or sting. After a while, a mild, red blister forms on the affected area. Sometimes, chafing can worsen into bleeding, swelling, discolouration or crusting. You will need to see a physician when you experience any of these severe symptoms.
A person is likely to develop chafing at body parts that rub against each other or fabric. The thighs and buttocks are the culprits, though it can also occur on the nipples, feet, groin and armpits.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
Endurance sports like biking and running which involve repetitive body motions and often cause sweating are the usual suspects here. These two main activities make the body more susceptible to the causes of chafing (friction, sweating and irritating fabric).
Obese people are prone to sweating which leads to moist body parts, especially around the thighs. When these parts of the body rub against each other, it causes chafing.
Breastfeeding mothers also experience chafing around their nipples. Wrong positioning while nursing or difficulties with suction or latching on can cause nipple fissures or jogger’s nipple. Breast engorgement (when your breasts are so full of milk that it causes pain) is also another known cause. Loose tops or poorly fitting bras can rub against a nursing mother’s sensitive breasts and also cause chafing.
There are two ways clothing causes chafing. The first way is wearing inappropriate clothes for summer. Prancing around in a skirt or dress without wearing a pair of pants underneath to protect your thighs can make you develop inner-thigh chafing when the fabric rubs against them. Secondly, a person can chafe if their clothes like bra strap, sleeves or waistband are not the right fit and continue to rub against their skin.
Prevention of chafing is quite simple but requires a lot of attention and discipline. These tips can help prevent the occurrence of chafing or minimize its severity if it does occur.
- Use deodorants or antiperspirants to prevent sweating and to protect areas prone to chafing. Deodorants contain moisturizers that protect the skin, and they are not only for your armpits. You can apply a deodorant around your inner thighs to prevent chafing.
- There are a lot of lubricants you can buy to combat chafing. Most of these are anti-chafing creams and oils made to form a protective layer over your skin and prevent friction. They are also sweatproof and waterproof, so you don’t need to reapply because they won’t wear off when you sweat or go for a swim.
Avoid using powder as it can clump and make chafing worse.
- Wear ‘breathable’ or moisture-wicking clothing that lets sweat evaporate from your body rather than being drawn into the fabric to sit on your skin. When you are exercising, wear running tights and sports-specific clothing made of polyester. Avoid fabrics like cotton that retain moisture, making your skin damp and more prone to rubbing. If you are going to wear a skirt or dress, wear it over bike shorts so your thighs are protected.
- Wear clothes that are the right fit. Ill-fitting clothes rub against your skin.
- If you are a nursing mother, keep your nipples clean and dry and away from any irritating fabric. Wear padded nursing bras made of soft material, or insert reusable pads into your bras to absorb extra moisture.
- Change out of any wet clothes into dry ones after a workout, swimming or when you get drenched.
- Plan your work out for the mornings or evenings when it's cooler outside, so you sweat less and remain dry.
- If chafing does occur, immediately remove the root cause. If your clothing is rubbing against your skin, take it off and change into something more comfortable.
- Pat the affected area dry and gently apply petroleum jelly, soothing balm or oil.
- Get some fresh air.
- Avoid the root cause at all costs.
- Use a topical steroid prescribed only by a physician.
While the affected area is healing:
- Always pat the skin dry. Do not rub as this will make it worse.
- Use ice or cold packs to relieve pain. Pat dry afterwards.
- Do not shower with hot water or harsh soaps, which will worsen your chafing.
- Do not use harsh chemicals like hydrogen peroxide or iodine. This will hinder the healing process. Use mild soap and warm water instead, or some saline solution.
Disclaimer: The information shared by this post is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be professional medical advice nor a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician concerning anything you have read here.
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
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