Chafing is the result of friction that occurs when skin rubs against itself or clothing. Sounds painful and anyone who regularly exercises can only agree. Ever experienced thigh rubbing so painful you feel like being flayed alive? Or discovered after a long run your shirt is blood red ? Anyone who has endured an excruciating post-exercise shower on freshly grazed skin knows, prevention is all-important.
What is chafing?
In scientific terms, chafing is a friction-induced skin injury where the outer layer of skin (epidermis) is rubbed, creating microscopic tears. This exposes the skin layer below (the dermis), which becomes red, raw and irritated. The thighs, groin, buttocks, underarms, under breast, feet, nipples are particularly vulnerable, but chafing can occur on other parts of your body too.
Why are active people more susceptible to chafing?
Bike chafing usually is uncomfortable and maybe force you to rest a day or two, but when chafing isn’t taken care of properly, it can lead to saddle sores, which can then lead to infection. Saddle sores are raised, inflamed, pimple-like welts and they develop after many hours on the bike with lots of harsh friction between the saddle and your skin.
Runners for example, along with other endurance athletes, are more likely to experience friction due to repetitive movements, rubbing of skin on skin, especially when combined with sweat.. When athletes perspire, the salt aggravates the situation, as can sea water. It acts like sandpaper, grinding and irritating the skin. Excess moisture from sweating, swimming or damp weather conditions will increase the problem. So no matter how cheesy as it sounds: prevention is key.
How to prevent chafing?
In general some measures can be taken to prevent chafing in general.
What should you do to avoid chafing?
Fluids are so important to keep on top of. Not only to keep the body hydrated and functioning at its best, but also to reduce the risk of chafing. If you are dehydrated, your body is unable to flush salts away from your skin as easily. Drink lots of water before, during and after exercise, allowing you to perspire freely so the perspiration doesn’t dry into salt crystals that can enhance the chafing.
Apply NAQI AntiFriction Cream generously on all friction prone areas. Use the cream at least once a day to build up your skin barrier and start at least a week before a big race, walk or run.
It absorbs sweat and stays wet. Wear synthetic, sweat-wicking fabrics.
Avoid seams and tags:
Seams and tags on a T-shirt, shorts or bra can cause irritation.
Go for a proper fit:
not only for your kit, shoes, but also for the saddle and bike.
Protect your legs:
Compression shorts or running tights can protect your inner thighs from abrasions
- Remember: Prevention is key! -