What is chafing?

Chafing is a skin irritation caused by intense rubbing between body parts or another surface, such as clothing. Inner thigh chafing is a common side effect of walking or running. The risk is often higher among those who are overweight, or have particularly well-developed muscles such as long-distance athletes. Similarly, armpit chafing can also occur from similar activities and sources.

Chafed skin can also result from friction between the skin and clothing. For example, runners often suffer from nipple chafing, which can lead to severe pain and suffering. Chafing can also be prominent in areas with a high degree of moisture, such as the thighs, groin and underarms, as this causes the skin to stick to itself more than when it is dry. 

Furthermore, sand and other particles which get into clothing or stick to the skin can quickly and easily worsen chafing. After prolonged rubbing, the skin begins to sting which causes a mild, red rash. Sometimes severe cases of chafed skill will swell or bleed.
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How to treat chafed skin

You should give your skin time to heal before exercising again, because further friction will make the chafed skin worse, risking infection.

Luckily, chafing treatments are simple. Gently apply the Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment regularly once or twice a day. It creates a thin, breathable, protective layer that supports the healing of your skin.

Packshot of Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment

In case a superficial wound was created as a result of chafing, start by cleansing the wound using the Elastoplast Wound Spray, to prevent infection before you apply the ointment. You can also protect the wound by applying an Elastoplast plaster such as Sensitive.

While your chafed skin is recovering, be sure to follow this advice:

  • Ensure your shower is set to a lukewarm - not hot - temperature and avoid using harsh soaps which can make the burning sensation worse.
  • Avoid cleaning chafed skin with hydrogen peroxide or iodine, which can delay the healing process, and use mild soap or water instead.
  • After bathing, be sure to pat skin dry, as rubbing will make the chafing worse.
  • Wear comfy, loose and thin clothing to allow your skin to breathe.
  • Ice or cold packs can be used for short periods of time to reduce the pain.
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How to stop chafing

As chafing is caused by friction in general, always avoid rubbing and make sure you use specific clothing for your activities. Follow these tips to prevent future chafing:
  • Use sports-oriented clothing made from special breathable material, such as anti-chafing shorts or compression shorts. Do not exercise in cotton because this can worsen the likelihood of irritation.
  • Prevent nipple chafing by using patches or tape on the nipples, to reduce friction.
  • For women, wearing a skirt in the summer months when the weather is hot or humid can lead to chafing between the legs, but talcum will help protect the skin from perspiration.
  • Apply an anti-chafing cream or ointment for chafed skin such as the Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment to the places most likely to become irritated by skin-on-skin contact.
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Always see a doctor if the wound is deep, bleeds heavily or shows signs of infection like reddening, swelling or warmth. Although compiled with great care, please note that the tips and advice given on this website by no means substitute medical advice and treatment. If you have or suspect a health problem, consult a doctor and follow medical advice regardless of what you have learned on this website. Always read carefully and follow the instructions for use or the leaflets of our products.

For further information about Elastoplast products, please contact us at consumer.relations.uk@beiersdorf.com