Chafe During Exercise: Where and Why?

Chafe During Exercise: Where and Why?

Posted by Jack Miller on 22nd Jul 2021

Whether you're an exercise addict or just looking to get back in shape on a casual basis, we can all be prone to chafing. Chafe, a common form of skin irritation caused by prolonged friction against the skin, is typically caused by moisture or fabric. But where does chafing tend to occur most often during exercise, and why?

The two types of chafing

Before we delve into the areas of the body that commonly suffer chafing during exercise, it's important to note that chafing is generally categorised in two ways; skin on skin rubbing and fabric on skin rubbing. Moisture, such as sweat, can affect both types of chafing depending on the fabric, but in most cases will worsen skin to skin rubbing.


When you think of chafing, it's likely that thigh chafing is what springs to mind. Unless you're wearing exercise attire like cycling shorts that leaves the thighs exposed, it's probable that chafing on the thighs is caused by fabric to skin rubbing.

As expected, chafing legs to occur mostly when you're doing lower body orientated exercise; this could be hiking, running, cycling, or even prolonged speed walking.

There are measures you can take to help prevent thigh chafing, including investing in thigh guards, anti-chafing thigh bands, and more.


Chances are, your armpits are one of the sweatiest areas of your body. This makes the area prone to skin to skin rubbing, especially when partaking in upper body excises such as bicep curls, arm circles, tricep dips, and similar.

There are plenty of methods you can employ to minimise the risk of underarm chafing, such as the application of chafing treatment prior to exercise. You can also reduce the chances of your underarms chafing by wearing loose clothing, applying appropriate antiperspirant, and removing wet clothes as soon as you can.


The area around your groin is incredibly sensitive - this makes it prone to chafing. And, when your groin area does chafe, it can be incredibly painful.

Groin chafing will most commonly occur as a result of fabric to skin rubbing - unless you're working out in the buff, of course - so it's important to choose underwear and leisurewear that doesn't constrict your movements or put extreme pressure on the groin area. Luckily for those that do suffer from groin chafing, you can get anti-chafing underwear designed to minimise the risks.

Under breast

Despite what many people may think, under breast chafing isn't limited to the ladies - men of certain body types and builds can also experience under breast chafing. Most commonly, under breast chafing is a result of skin to skin rubbing, but can also be caused by fabric to skin rubbing if your sports bra or workout attire is ill-fitting.

Similar to anti-chafing underwear, you can buy specialist sports bras and upper-body garments designed to stop chafing.

Don't let the worry of chafing put you off exercise - there are plenty of measures you can put in place to protect your body from chafing. And, if you do suffer from chafed skin, it isn't the end of the world; there's a plethora of chafing remedies out there to soothe and protect. Shop No More Chafe's range of anti-chafing clothing today.