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Chafing thighs are caused by friction between your inner thighs, which damages your skin. You may notice red, blister-like lesions that may burn. The condition is both treatable and preventable.
Thigh chafing is perhaps one of the most common thigh-related skin problems.
While it’s true that thigh chafing can be worsened by humidity and by workout-related sweat, you don’t want chafing to keep you away from your favorite activities.
The treatment is usually a combination of home remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
Thigh chafing occurs along your inner thighs after they rub against one another. You might be dealing with chafing if you notice the following symptoms in the area:
- blister-like lesions or boils
- a flat rash
- burning sensations
- itchiness as the skin heals
If you have frequent chafing, you may start to notice brown spots on your inner thighs. These form when your skin heals after a chafing episode, but they may recur if you have continuous chafing.
Thigh chafing is caused when your thighs rub against each other and cause friction, similar to wearing tight shoes that cause blisters on your feet. You may be at an increased risk for thigh chafing due to:
- sweating, either from exercise or from everyday activities
- walking or running
- wearing thin leggings, skirts, or shorts that don’t provide enough barrier between your thighs
- heat and humidity
- wearing cotton or other fabrics that don’t absorb enough moisture
- trapped moisture between skin folds
Thigh chafing can come on quickly. To help treat and prevent the resulting rashes, consider some of the following measures. This includes a combination of OTC treatments as well as specialty clothing.
It’s important to treat thigh chafing so the rashes don’t worsen. See a doctor if you suspect an infection, which may include symptoms like swelling, pus, and excessive tenderness. If you don’t already have a dermatologist, the Healthline FindCare tool can help you find a physician in your area.
Thigh bands are small elastic accessories that you wear around the width of your thighs to help prevent chafing. These work particularly well if you’re wearing a skirt or a dress where your thighs come into direct contact with one another, but you can wear them under shorts, pants, and athletic wear, too.
As a bonus, you can slip on thigh bands even if your thighs are already chafed to protect your skin from getting even more injured.
Thigh chafing shorts
If you’re looking for thigh bands with a little extra coverage, then thigh chafing shorts may be a more suitable option. These work the same way as thigh bands, with the added bonus of absorbing extra sweat. Thigh chafing shorts work particularly well under dresses.
Compression shorts, as well as other tight-fitting athletic shorts, can work well in preventing thigh chafing.
Thigh chafing cream or balm
When it comes to treating newly chafed thighs, you might need more than shorts or bands to treat the symptoms. This is where thigh chafing creams and balms can come in handy.
Specialty chafing creams and balms come in easy-to-use stick applicators. They’re formulated with lubricants that help prevent your skin from sticking together, reducing the risk of subsequent chafe-causing friction.
One product used by athletes is BodyGlide, which contains allantoin to help protect the skin from chafing.
Baby powder has a variety of uses for moisture prevention, including thigh chafing.
For best results, apply baby or body powder to the inner thighs before getting dressed, and then reapply throughout the day as needed. Look for cornstarch-based formulas that absorb moisture naturally. You may consider staying away from talc-based products.
Petroleum jelly is best-known for its lubricating effects. However, it can creating a barrier to prevent friction and chafing. You may also apply petroleum jelly chafed thighs for burn relief.
Petroleum jelly works just as well as specialty chafing balms in terms of chafing prevention. While you might find it messy to apply, this option is more affordable.
When you’re on the go and you don’t have any anti-chafing products on hand, your favorite lip balm can save the day. Lip balm contains protective layers for your sensitive lips, and this can also protect the delicate skin of your thighs.
Add on a layer of lip balm to the area as often as you need it.
Lip gloss won’t work the same way as lip balm, so use stick versions only.
There are steps you can take to prevent it from occurring in the first place:
- Wear spandex bottoms during your workouts, as these provide more room for movement to prevent inner thigh friction.
- Wear polyester or spandex blends for more breathability instead of cotton, which traps sweat.
- Wear loose pants and shorts to prevent inner thigh constriction and sweat.
- Dry off your skin regularly when you sweat, especially after being outside in high heat and humidity.
- Stay hydrated to lower your body temperature.
- Add powder to your inner thighs to prevent moisture accumulation.
- Change your clothing often, especially after working out or being outside in the heat.
Thigh chafing can be painful and it may keep you from your favorite activities. You can help prevent chafing by decreasing friction and moisture in the area, which you can do by wearing special undergarments or using OTC products to reduce friction.
Talk to a dermatologist if you continue to get thigh chafing despite preventive measures. You may need a prescription topical steroid to alleviate your symptoms.