WHAT IS CHAFING?
It’s when skin rubs against skin or against clothing. If you’re an exercise lover or overweight, then you’ve probably endured chafing. And it’s not fun!
It commonly occurs under the breasts, in the groin area, under the feet and armpits, and can be caused by bras and now face masks.
It’s more common in summer because of the heat, and skimpier clothing means more skin is exposed. The skin becomes red, peels or gets rubbed off. There are ways of preventing, soothing and treating chafing, but first let’s unpack the different types.
TYPES OF CHAFING
The constant moving and pressure of the foot inside a shoe causes friction and is exacerbated by sweat – and chafing occurs as a result. This happens under the feet, between the toes and on the heels. Runners experience this a lot. Sometimes shoes that do not fit well also cause chafing.
2. Underneath the breasts
If you have large breasts and don’t often wear a bra, you are likely to experience chafing. This type of chafing occurs when the bottom part of the breasts rubs against the rib area or the top part of the stomach area.
3. Bra straps and underwire
This is common and is especially a bugbear for women who are overweight. If your cup size is big, then you may have experienced chaffing under the bra straps and where the underwire rubs up against your skin.
This is the most common form of chafing if you’re overweight or have knock-knees. It gets worse in summer when your inner thighs rub together. Wearing clothes that do not absorb moisture and reduce friction will add to chafing.
The skin on the neck rubs against itself (especially if there are rolls in the neck). This one is common in babies and people who are overweight. Swimwear tied around the neck can also cause chafing if it’s tied too tightly.
Perspiration mixed with skin rubbing against itself causes chafing, especially in people who are overweight.
For doctors, face masks are an occupational hazard but for the rest of us, the new normal caused by the pandemic is taking a bit of getting used to. If you’ve had to wear your mask for prolonged periods, chances are you’ve had chafing behind the ears, on the bridge of the nose or on the chin.
Keep the area dry where chafing is likely to occur. Chafing is exacerbated by sweat so wearing clothes that absorb moisture will reduce sweat and, as a result, unwanted rubbing.
Wear breathable and comfortable clothes. If you wear clothing that traps heat and causes you to sweat, then wear an undergarment that will serve as a drying barrier.
Apply talcum powder. It absorbs moisture and will help keep you dry.
Wear a mask that goes over your head and not behind your ears to prevent friction. Make sure it fits well so the bridge of your nose doesn’t get irritated.
Apply petroleum jelly to the area where the chafing is likely to happen. This is a good tip for runners and walkers. A cream containing zinc oxide also works just as well.
Put a plaster or any other form of barrier on sensitive areas to prevent friction.
Apply barrier-repairing cream to the affected areas. Always clean the areas and allow the affected parts to dry first before applying any product.
See a doctor if you’re bleeding where the chafing occurs or if you’re in pain.
1. Vaseline Journey of a Jar KZN 250ml R24,95
2. Avène Cicalfate Restorative Cream 40ml R210
3. SVR Topialyse Barrier Cream 50ml R212
4. Noreva Exfoliac Repairing Cream 40ml R239,95
5. Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream 400g R199
6. Dermalogica Barrier Repair Cream 30ml R775