Have you ever gone for a long walk, cycled many miles or simply gone about your daily business and ended up with sore, raw patches at the top of your inner thighs? Known as chafing, this condition is extremely common and very unpleasant. Discover what chafing is, what causes it (and what doesn't - let's bust a few myths) and how best to avoid unwanted thigh rubbing.
What's it called when your thighs rub together?
Chafing is the common name given to the sore patches of skin at the top of the thighs, caused by repeated movement. When two skin surfaces are repeatedly brought into contact with each other, the friction causes cells of skin to be rubbed off. The amount of skin rubbed away increases as the number of repeated movements rises. As more skin is rubbed away, the affected area becomes increasingly uncomfortable. In cases of severe chafing, the top layer of skin (the epidermis) may be completely worn away. This exposes the spongy dermis beneath.
Individuals may suffer chafing occasionally (for example after completing a large amount of physical activity in warm weather and/or inappropriate clothing), or be vulnerable to regular instances of the condition, often due to the type of work they do.
What factors can cause chafing?
Numerous circumstances and factors may cause chafing. Some of these are detailed below.
• Physical activity: especially large amounts of walking, running or cycling.
• Moist skin: failure to dry off properly after a shower, clothing that allows perspiration to build or simply significant perspiration during activity may be enough to dampen the skin surface, increasing friction levels.
• Poorly fitting clothing: chafing may be caused by an item of clothing rubbing against the upper thigh, as well as the opposite leg.
Exploding the myths!
Thigh chafing isn't caused simply by being overweight or unused to exercise. People of all body types can end up with chafed thighs, especially if their job requires walking, standing or moving for protracted periods of time. Runners and cyclists are particularly prone to chafing because of the repetitive nature of their sport. Chafing is nothing to be ashamed of, but, if you're prone to chafing, for whatever reason, it's vital to take preventative steps to stop the issue from becoming a regular occurrence.
Preventing painful upper thighs
Chafing is uncomfortable and can severely restrict your ability to work, mobilise or even take a bath. Movement, changes in temperature or contact with clothing may all cause chafed skin to become unbearably painful. Prevention is better than cure! The following are all proven methods of chafe prevention:
• Keep the skin dry and practice good hygiene.
• Wear clothing that fits properly. Avoid fabrics that trap moisture close to the body.
• Consider a barrier cream (such as vaseline), but be aware that creams are messy, require frequent reapplication and are an ongoing cost.
• Invest in anti-chafing thigh bands or anti-chafing shorts. Discreet, hygienic and reusable, anti-chafing bands are a highly effective and versatile method of preventing unwanted inner thigh chafing.
Find out more about the relief anti-chafing bands can bring to painful inner thigh rubbing from the team at No More Chafe.