When sweaty skin rubs together, the result is chafing. According to the Mayo Clinic, chafing causes tiny breaks in the surface of the skin, leaving a red, uncomfortable rash. Chafing most often occurs in the groin area or thighs, but it can also occur under the breasts or anywhere skin rubs together. Chafing can keep you from participating in athletic activity, but you can take steps to stop the discomfort.
Wear the right clothes for your activity. MedlinePlus recommends cotton fabrics, or special fabrics designed to prevent chafing, such as cycling shorts. Closely fitting garments, such as cycling shorts and sports bras, don't rub against the skin, which can contribute to chafing. They also provide a protective layer between the skin.
Keep the skin dry by using baby powder or cornstarch to absorb sweat. Sprinkle the powder onto your skin before you dress.
Rub a lubricant on to eliminate the friction that contributes to chasing. Go Ask Alice, the health column produced by Columbia University Health Services, recommends that you apply a layer of petroleum jelly to areas prone to chafing. The petroleum jelly won't wash off when you sweat. You can also purchase special lubricants at sporting goods stores designed to reduce chafing.
Drink plenty of water. As you lose water through sweating, the salts in the sweat become more concentrated, according to Go Ask Alice. These salts irritate the skin and can contribute to chafing. Staying hydrated helps dilute the salts. Drink water before, during and after workouts.
- If the chafed area becomes infected, worsens or develops into a scaly rash, consult a physician. You may have folliculitis or another infection that needs to be treated.
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