Did you know that between 200,000 and 250,000 people participate in triathlons annually? Triathlons are vigorous athletic events that include a 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike ride, and 10 km run.
You don't have to be a triathlete to experience chafing, although this is one group that is prone to it. Buying anti-chafing products can help swimmers, runners, and even weekend warriors. Before you dive into your internet searches, you want an anti-chafing product with all-natural ingredients that effectively treat and prevent chafed skin.
Luckily, you don't have to go any further. We have put together a complete guide that will go over the causes of chafing, how to prevent it, and how to find the best anti-chafing products today. Keep reading for more information!
Causes of Chafing
Most people think of chafing from running, but it can happen with any activity, including cycling, hiking, and swimming. In general, exercise is one of the top causes of chafing, but here are some of the other leading reasons why you may experience chafing:
- Sweat or moisture build-up
- Heat or high humidity levels
- Clothing materials
- Sensitive skin (e.g., shaving or waxing)
- Increased musculature
Let's break down some of the reasons why you may start experiencing chafing. Some of the items on this list you can't avoid. For example, people with larger thighs may inevitably be more at risk of having their legs rub together while running, walking, or hiking.
Some people also sweat more than others, which increases moisture and the risks of skin breakdown. Sweat is your body's natural way of cooling itself down, and certain people are more prone to it than others. And surprisingly, it has nothing to do with gender.
Hyperhidrosis is a medical diagnosis that affects nearly 5% of the population and causes you to sweat nearly four times more than normal.
Before diving further into anti-chafing salves and other product options, it helps if you take into account when you notice chafing. For example, is the chafing every time you run? Bike?
Is it when you wear certain clothing? Here are some helpful tips from Squirrel's Nut Butter to help you purchase better anti-chafing clothing:
- Synthetic fabrics
- Purchase the correct size
- Clean your skin before
Synthetic fabrics like polyester are excellent options. It is durable, moisture-wicking, and lightweight. Nylon, spandex, and merino wool are all other clothing options you could check out.
Signs and Symptoms of Chafing
The most apparent sign of chafing is a burning sensation. You may also have swelling, itchiness, or redness. As you keep exercising, these symptoms can worsen and make it more problematic to treat in the long term.
Your best solution is to stop exercising and apply anti-chafe salves or sticks to the area. Where does chafing occur?
Chafing can technically occur anywhere on the body, but your thighs, groin, nipples, and armpits are the most common regions. Chafing happens when your skin rubs together, or your skin rubs against clothing, causing irritation. After considering new clothing materials, what else can you do to combat chafing?
What Are Anti-Chafing Products?
Anti-chafing products use substances designed to prevent chafing or manage current symptoms. It also works concurrently as a blister prevention treatment and can be applied anywhere on your body!
Anti-chafing products include tubs, sticks, salves, and tubes. You can purchase larger products to keep at home and small sticks that pack easily into your hiking, running, or cycling bag.
Buying Anti-Chafing Products
Let's break down some of the different products and ingredients when you buy anti-chafing products. You should apply these products before starting the activity and take a small tube or stick on the go. Once you start noticing problematic chafing areas, reapply as needed.
Keep these products out of direct sunlight and avoid storing them in warm temperatures. Anti-chafing ingredients are only designed for external use.
If you have an open wound or blister, do not apply the product over the top. Instead, consult a medical provider about what topical cream is safe for your skin.
These tubs are excellent options for after shaving or taking in your day pack. It is an easy-to-use salve that may harden under cool weather. As temperatures warm, it is expected that the oils may separate.
The anti-chafe ingredients are all-natural and safe for topical use. Some of the ingredients include:
- Coconut oil
- Cocoa seed butter
- Vitamin E oil
How should you use this product? First, let the salve soften in your hands if it has hardened. You can apply this product under your pack straps, nipples, groin, thighs, and underarms. If you have dry or cracked skin, use a generous amount.
These ingredients work together to create a slick barrier on the skin and retain moisture. The combination helps clothing and skin glide over chafing prone areas while preventing drying out.
Anti-Chafe Sticks have the same ingredients in a different format. You won't need to warm up this product before use. The deodorant stick works best in cooler temperatures, and you can apply it on any body region you notice chafing.
It also works well for people with eczema, cracked skin on the hands, and dry facial regions.
All-Purpose Tubes require you to push up the salve from the bottom. While using it on similar body parts, you can easily apply this all-purpose tube to your face, lips, hands, and over any rashes.
It is vegan friendly, weather-resistant, and comes in a compostable container. What ingredients are in this product?
Along with coconut oil, cocoa seed butter, and vitamin E oil, the All-Purpose Tubes include candelilla wax.
Who Can Use Anti-Chafing Products?
The benefit of anti-chafing products is that anyone can use them, from golfers to swimmers. Purchasing weather-resistant tubes will ensure that you are covered in the water or under high humidity levels.
Many of the ingredients on anti-chafing products serve skin health purposes other than preventing chafing during exercise. For example, vitamin E oil also helps patients dealing with dry or cracked skin, itchiness, eczema, and psoriasis.
It can reduce the appearance of scars and even shows some benefits in preventing wrinkles and fine lines. While the primary purpose of anti-chafing ingredients isn't cosmetic purposes, vitamin E is an excellent skin protectant and natural antioxidant.
Antiperspirants vs. Deodorant
When talking about sweat and chafing, antiperspirants and deodorants inevitably come up. These are different from anti-chafing product options. Antiperspirants help reduce sweat, whereas deodorant helps manage body odor.
Antiperspirants are actually a drug regulated by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means more regulations and policies are in place on products that contain antiperspirants. These are great products for underarms, but it doesn't fully treat all causes of chafing.
What Happens When You Ignore Chafing?
If you think you can tough out chafing, think again. Ignoring skin breakdown and chafing can cause various skin irritation complications, such as:
Intertrigo can progress to a yeast or bacterial infection and is a more severe form of chafing. Unmanaged chafing can cause small satellite lesions that can lead to:
- Skin discoloration
You may need medical treatment if it progresses to an infection or becomes extremely painful. As an athlete, this can keep you out of the game for much longer than anticipated. Instead, take precautionary steps to prevent chafing.
Skin Restoration Solutions
If you are late to the game on anti-chafing products, you may already be suffering from damaged skin. Skin restoration salves help with dry and cracked skin. You can use it directly on damaged skin and reapply it as needed.
Even anti-chafe tubs can have dual purposes as a skin restoration solution and anti-chafing product. Happy Toes Foot Salve is a specific product designed for irritated or damaged skin between toes and also helps with:
- Bacteria prevention
- Skin fissures
- Regenerating skin cells
It includes kokum butter, peppermint oil, and tea tree oil.
Start Managing Chafed Skin During Exercise
Nothing is worse than starting a morning run and sensing the all-too-familiar burning sensation around your thighs or underarms. Maybe you packed the wrong clothes or chose a humid morning to go out on, but that shouldn't limit you from exercising.
Instead, buying anti-chafing products ensures that you are ready to tackle your morning run or other exercise programs without hindrance. Whether you are jumping into the water, cycling for miles, or summiting a peak, Squirrel's Nut Butter has your back.
Shop all our products and find an anti-chafing product to take on the go!