It may be the best season, but there is a very unglamorous side to those summer beach selfies and rosé brunches: the chance of chafe.
“Chafing is a burning sensation or painful stinging that comes suddenly without any warning,” says board-certified dermatologist Karen Hammerman, M.D., of Schweiger Dermatology Group. A common summer concern, chafing is beatable (and preventable) if you know what to do — and have the best products.
“It is caused by constant rubbing against another part of the skin and may also be caused by sweat,” adds Hammerman. “It can also be caused by irritants such as cloth and other materials that may come in contact with the skin.”
Hammerman says that chafing is more likely to happen to overweight people and athletes, but anybody can get it. And the most common is inner thigh chafing — it can also appear on areas like the groin, armpit and nipples.
“Mild chafing looks like a mild rash,” she says. “In severe cases, chafing can include swelling, bleeding or crusting.” Typically, chafing will last for a few days once treated, but she says if it continues for more than a week, it may be best to consult your doctor.
According to Hammerman, the best ingredients to help calm chafing are lubricants and powder — think petroleum jelly, talcum powder, and calendula oil. “If you have an area that is prone to chafing, or you are worried that activity may lead to it, apply a thin layer of deodorant to the area before the activity,” she says. “Wear breathable fabrics that allow sweat to evaporate off your skin. Clothes that are too big can move a lot and chafe skin by continuously rubbing.”
Ready to fight chafe? Check out our top picks for the best products on the market.
Chamois Butt’r Original Anti-Chafe Cream
Created for cyclists, the original cream was first developed in 1988. The non-greasy formula makes this lubricant easy to apply and loved by everyone — not just bikers. “Users love that it lasts for hours and doesn’t stain clothes,” says Hammerman. “It also contains no artificial fragrances or colors.”
Megababe Thigh Rescue
This anti-chafe stick is non-toxic and anti-friction. Known for their Rosy Pits natural deodorant, Megababe’s Thigh Rescue will save your summer. One swipe of this stick — ingredients include aloe, grapeseed oil and vitamin E — and you will be ready to conquer #shortsseason.
Petal Power Joy Ride Creme
Petal Power’s cream is designed by women for women — and it is gentle enough to use on more sensitive areas of the body. “This natural plant-based formula is extremely mild and contains no menthol, peppermint or tea tree oil, so it’s especially good for women with sensitive skin,” says Hammerman.
Body Glide For Her Anti Chafing, Moisturizing Balm
Chafing doesn’t just happen on the thighs, it can hit other sensitive areas, like under the breasts. Swipe one application of Body Glide’s For Her Anti chafing cream on before clothes (or sports bras) for relief. Plus, it will never be greasy — and will keep your skin hydrated.
Udderly Smooth Chamois Cream
Hammerman says this is the best budget-friendly chafing option. Developed with the help of elite women athletes, this chafing cream is formulated with shea butter, which is anti-inflammatory and has healing properties for the skin.