What's it Like to Chafe Going for a Walk?
Posted by Jack Miller on 29th Nov 2021
Going for a walk is a vital activity for anyone with the capacity to do so, but experiencing chafe can be very off-putting to the walking plans of even the most dedicated fitness enthusiast. Chafed skin can be annoying, painful and may lead to hyperpigmentation in the chafed areas over time. Chafing can also have a major impact on your quality of life. In this article, we're going to explore what happens to your skin when you go for a walk without anti-chafing shorts or thigh bands.
Getting skin deep
When thinking about chafing, it's important to understand that your skin has five layers in the epidermis - the outer, keratin filled cells that protect the more sensitive dermis, where you'll find more nerves (ouch!) and blood vessels. The pain that we feel when we end up with a chafing rash is a sign that the dermis has been damaged by friction, and this is where you may also be at risk of infection.
Forces can be against you
Most specifically, friction. As each foot moves forward, your thighs rub against each other, not only in a back and forth pattern, but also up and down. This circular motion acts like a buffing pad of sandpaper. These are large friction forces, but there are forces between cells in your skin as well (which influences where blisters or rashes might appear). Friction forces such as these can be managed by creating a protective layer over the skin, as with anti-chafe underwear or with a thigh compression sleeve.
Corneum and Lucidum
These are the two outermost layers (or strata) of the skin, and the ones able to withstand the most chafe. The Corneum is made of skin cells that no longer use oxygen as they move towards the outside world. These skin cells move because the new cells created by the Lucidum push them outwards. These are the cells designed to cope with friction - by sacrificing themselves. If these layers begin to chafe all that is likely to happen is redness, and perhaps some irritation.
If your walk has been long enough that the previous layers have been damaged, the Granulosum will be where your walk will become uncomfortable. These granular cells trigger inflammation, telling your body that something has broken through your protective barrier, and the immune cells must arrive quickly. Of course, this inflammation brings fluid to the area, which will make the thigh rub even worse. This is similar to a first-degree burn, and if you don't treat it with care, it can lead to even more pain and a chafing rash very quickly.
Inner thigh chafing is a daily struggle for many Australians. An ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure, and our anti chafing shorts aim to allow you to live the life you deserve without worrying about chafing. The combination of non-slip grippers and a compensation system prevents friction forces between your skin and the thigh guard, creating the best thing for chafing, a second skin!