Chafing is the result of friction that occurs when skin from two parts of your body rub together. Read on to learn more about the symptoms of chafed skin, what it looks like and how to prevent it from happening.
Symptoms of chafed skin
Most areas of your body can be impacted by chafing. This includes the underarms, groin, breasts and thighs. Symptoms of chafed skin are often mild and easily treatable, without having to visit your general practitioner. However, in some cases, if the chafing continues, you can develop an infection.
We’ve categorised the symptoms of chafed skin into two types: mild symptoms and severe symptoms.
• A warm or hot sensation in the impacted area
When the chafing starts to heal, you’ll notice that the scabs from itching will repair themselves. This can take from one to three days if you treat it quickly. However, if you leave the area and don't apply any chafing treatment, it will likely get worse.
You’ll notice some of the more severe symptoms of chafing at the beach, after exercise or if you don’t treat the mild chafing symptoms quickly enough. Severe symptoms include:
• The affected area is swollen
• Broken or cracked skin
• Sores or blisters
Quite often, cracking or bleeding is a sign that your skin has been worn to a severe degree, so you'll probably need specific chafing ointments or creams. Likewise, the sores or blisters will need additional care, probably in the form of wrapping them up until they heal.
Causes of chafed skin
While your skin can tolerate a certain degree of friction from activities like walking, swimming or doing yoga, there is a limit. Below are some of the main causes of chafing:
1. Exercise such as running or biking could cause friction between your skin and clothes, with sweating making it worse.
2. Breastfeeding can cause irritated nipples which then catch on your underwear and clothes.
3. People who are overweight will find that their skin chafes and folds more frequently.
4. Tight clothes or shoes will rub against your skin and cause chafing.
5. Factors like hot weather, sweat and sensitive skin all also contribute to chafing.
How to prevent skin chafing
You’ll be pleased to know that it’s fairly simple to prevent skin chafing. All you need to do is keep the areas that rub against each other dry by using something that will reduce friction, like petroleum jelly. Additionally, wearing correctly fitted clothes will prevent irritation.
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