Chafing & Exercise



The ‘just in from a run’ look can go one of two ways. A dewy forehead and flushed cheeks or a violent shade of red and dripping with sweat. Two skin reactions from exercise that at first may appear very different. However, they can have something in common - an inflamed itch underneath clothes, known as chafing.

Commonly occurring in areas you can’t exactly itch in public, chafing can leave you feeling uncomfortable, irritated, and awkward. We understand. Here’s how to stop it.
What Causes Chafing on Thighs?
Chafing is caused by friction against the skin, especially when combined with moisture. That’s why you may notice it in particularly warm environments. Think of irritated armpits on holidays or Ross’ leather pants dilemma in Friends. However, the biggest concern for most is how to stop chafing on the thighs. There are two types of chafing on the thighs: Skin-on-skin chafing and fabric-on-skin chafing. For example, when wearing a skirt during the summer, the inner thighs rub together. With no material to separate them, there is nothing to prevent skin-on-skin friction.

On the other hand, wearing loose-fitting trousers, particularly those made of cotton, is an example of fabric-on-skin chafing and a recipe for disaster.
Chafing on the thighs can also be caused by endurance sports.. Biking and running are two examples of problematic exercises. No surprise, as both involve a lot of rubbing of the inner thighs, either against a saddle or each other.

How To Stop Your Thighs Rubbing

The best cure is to avoid the cause - understandably - but that shouldn't mean throwing out our skirts. Fortunately, there's another way to stop your thighs rubbing against each other. To end chafing during the warmer months, keep your legs well moisturised. Thank Goodness Anti-Chafe provides a layer of protection over the thighs. The anti-friction, moisturising ingredients will allow the legs to glide off each other, preventing redness and irritation. There’s no need to avoid shorts and skirts entirely, just be prepared. For additional protection, you could try wearing a pair of bike shorts or tights underneath but that can be hot and unsightly.
How to Stop Chafing When Running
With endurance sports, we’re more concerned about fabric-on-skin chafing. Unlike skin-on-skin, the material that you’re wearing is responsible for irritating the skin. Exercise gear should be lightweight to let the sweat evaporate off your skin. In other words, avoid cotton and instead, opt for specialised gear that wicks moisture away from your skin.
If you have existing chafing from running or endurance sports, the first thing to do is wait until it heals. Ignoring it and going for a run regardless can escalate the irritation from a minor inconvenience into an angry infection or bleeding.
If you’re addicted to the runner’s high, don’t worry -it won’t be a long break! If you treat the chafing carefully, it should heal within a few days. Gently clean the irritation in lukewarm water. Avoid soaps with harsh ingredients and opt for one which is hydrating and encourages cell renewal. Once healed, then take actionto prevent chafing when running again. Similar to skin-on-skin friction, skin-on-fabric friction is easily prevented by hydration and protection. Although applying a layer of Thank Goodness Anti Chafe may feel as though it will make matters worse, it does the opposite. The anti-friction protective layer means that your skin will stay soft and smooth.
Top Tip: Make sure you layer up with tight layers. The tighter the clothes you are wearing, the less room they have to move against your skin!
How to Stop Chafing When Cycling
Lastly, we have chafing from cycling. Similar to running, cycling is notorious for breaking down the skin on your inner thighs. Again, if you already have chafing, unfortunately, you’ll have to take a few days of a break to avoid further damage. While waiting, assess what could be causing the chafing. Is the bike seat fitted correctly? Are your bike shorts the real deal? If neither is the issue, it’s time to take action with the Thank Goodness Anti-chafe Balm.

A point to note: - if you’re shaving your legs to the tops where the skin is rubbing off the saddle, make sure you are doing so properly to prevent ingrown hairs and bumps. You want the skin to be as smooth as possible, so no further friction is caused.

Warm weather and exercise shouldn’t have to come with irritation and discomfort. Chafe-proof your skin and be free to wear whatever skirt, cycling shorts or leather pants you please.
Credit: Josie Wilkins
Adapted from

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