When someone mentions chafing to you, what do you immediately think of? Groin chafing or thighs rubbing together? Unfortunately, chafing can also occur in areas like the underarms. Most runners and fitness enthusiasts experience chafing in many areas; feet, groin, thighs and especially their armpits. Armpit chafing can become a problem due to the repetitive motion of moving your arms back and forth. This, in combination with sweaty skin and damp clothing, can create a huge amount of friction. Armpit chafing can cause uncomfortable rashes, pain and even infection as armpits can be a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria.
The good news is, chafing is highly treatable. Here are four ways to prevent armpit chafing and avoid having to deal with anymore raw, painful underarm skin when exercising.
1. Understand what is causing armpit chafing
The main cause of armpit chafing is friction, however, it can also be caused by a variety of other factors such as skin conditions, types of fabrics, clothing and frequent shaving. Everyone is different, so it is important to get to the source of what is causing your chafing rash in the first place.
2. Lube up your armpits
Lubricating your armpits is by far one of the best things for chafing under the arms. This is because the number one cause of chafing is friction. Using an anti-chafing lubricant before you exercise is the easiest way to stop armpit chafing.
3. Stay hydrated
It is important to keep hydrated during exercise by drinking plenty of fluids. This will help to prevent any chances of skin irritation. When you become dehydrated, your body cannot easily flush salts away from your skin. This means more salt will dry on your skin and clothing, increasing your chances of friction and a build-up of yeast and bacteria.
4. Choose appropriate clothing
You may have noticed that you tend to chafe more than unusual in certain workout attire. Firstly, it is important to wear breathable fabrics like cotton. Secondly, look for clothing which includes ‘moisture-wicking mesh’ which can be found in many workout clothing products. This type of clothing helps to draw the salt and sweat away from your armpit skin, thus protecting you from armpit chafing. Thirdly it is important to opt for seamless fabrics. If you have an underarm seam which continues to rub you, this will cause irritation that can lead to chafing. Finally, light and airy clothing will allow more air to flow to the armpits, thus reducing friction and chafing.
Unfortunately, wherever there is sweat and friction, chances of armpit chafing are high when exercising. However, opting for a preventative routine and following the four anti-chafing treatments mentioned above will definitively reduce the chance of you suffering from armpit chafing. This includes understanding the root cause, using lubrication, staying hydrated during exercise and wearing appropriate clothing. However, if these chafing treatments don’t seem to do the trick, it is important that you seek the medical advice of your doctor.