What is the dreaded "chub rub"? Feminine inner thigh chafing and how to avoid it
Posted by Jack Miller on 11th Nov 2020
It’s whispered in hushed tones in women’s restrooms from Melbourne to New York… the dreaded “chub rub”. That sore, itchy red rash that appears on your inner thighs and lower buttocks to ruin your day (and make you beg for a bit of baby powder in a public bathroom) is simply run-of-the-mill skin chafing.
Both men and women get it, but a larger proportion of women experience inner thigh chafing more often.
Does inner thigh chafing mean I’m overweight?
Despite the chub rub moniker, women of all shapes and sizes can find chafing an annoyance, or even an extremely painful problem.
You might think that losing weight will cure your chafing dilemmas. It can help greatly, but even slim, athletic women get struck with skin chafing, especially from vigorous activity.
It is true thigh chafing is more likely to affect overweight women – they’re actually among the largest groups of people doing something about it!
If you’ve recently lost a lot of weight, you might have loose skin around the legs which has a tendency to chafe quite easily.
Why do women experience inner thigh chafing more than men?
More women complain about thigh chafing, whether from exercise, or just going about your normal day. Why is that?
Anatomy: A big part simply comes down to anatomy. A normal female build has more fat around the thigh area compared to a male, and it’s usually the fatty part of the upper thigh that ends up becoming chafe city.
Hair: Women tend to remove hair from their legs (and have less or no hair on the inner thigh naturally). Hairy man legs are somewhat more protected from the friction caused by bare bits of skin sliding against each other.
Clothing: Especially in summer, more women tend to wear short pants that expose the upper thigh and cause skin-to-skin contact.
Tight skirts and dresses, slightly abrasive materials (eg. denim) and fabric that doesn’t breathe well and let moisture evaporate easily (eg. most synthetic materials, like polyester and rayon) can be an issue since chafing rash is the result of friction plus moisture (eg. sweat).
Conversely (although this applies only to exercise), clothes that are too loose may flap around instead of forming a barrier to stop skin from slapping together.
Because women are more susceptible to thigh chafing, it’s more likely to result not just from exercise alone. Chub rub from hell after a night out dancing? Yep, you’re not alone.
How to Stop Feminine Thigh Chafing
The right solution (or combo of solutions) for you can depend on your body shape and size, the kinds of activities that cause skin chafe to flair up or more become aggravated, and the types of clothes you wear.
- Consider what you wear doing certain activities:
Short shorts that ride up when you’re exercising won’t protect your bare skin when it’s at its sweatiest. Going for a quick bicycle ride up to the shops? It may only be a short trip, but best get your butt in those Lycras just in case.
Denim isn’t great for vigorous walking, and polyester and nylon (despite their popularity) aren’t ideal for exercise. These fabrics might be fine in cooler weather, but for summer activewear, better choices include cotton, silk and breathable synthetic blends like Tencel.
- Don’t rely on anti-chafing creams or powders:
Creams don’t work if you slather them on then slide pants or jeans over the top. In fact, they can make things worse by creating more moisture, plus leave an embarrassing residue in the crotch zone.
Talcum powder or baby powder are often suggested. They can be helpful in a pinch since they can easily be carried around, but watch for getting white powder everywhere! If you’ve got a bad case of the chub rubs coming on, creams and powders will likely not be enough to prevent chafing altogether but can help stop it worsening and reduce the pain somewhat.
- Wear a fabric barrier such as compression bands, anti-chafing underwear or pants, or a thigh guard:
There's now a wide range of chafe prevention clothing on offer. These clothes are usually made from soft, smooth, form-fitting, and flexible semi-synthetic fabrics with good ventilation for keeping your skin cool. There are both underwear and overwear options, and quality varies greatly, so shop around.
Somewhat like a sporting compression band, but much more comfortable and versatile, are No More Chafe Thigh Guards. Created for both men and women, they’re made from a synthetic fabric blend that’s super grippy yet comfortable, flexible and made to keep skin cool – great for Aussie summers!
Thigh guards are a shield designed to be worn discreetly under your clothes, and virtually eliminate inner thigh chafing, whether you’re getting your fitness on, or just doing your daily thing.
So, don’t be ashamed of your “chub rub”, but don’t put up with it either! Take our advice and snub the rub!