The next day, a friend of mine’s mom threw a tube of ointment for the diaper rash when she noticed me periodically checking for my rash (which was not exactly easy to hide in a one-piece swimsuit). The cream relieved the sting, but somehow made the experience even more uncomfortable. Although I did not care to have the “gap in the thighs” that was popular among girls my age, when I later heard rashes called “chewing gum”, it made me feel sad and ashamed.
But here’s the thing: Thigh gaps are a toxic myth, as is the phrase “chewing gum” – rubbing is an indistinguishable skin rash that just needs rubbing and moisture to appear. In other words, if you have skin and sweat, you have the ability to crease, regardless of your size. Obese people can suffer in areas where thin people fray and vice versa. Rubbing is also not something that only happens between the thighs. Non-binary individuals wearing breast binders may suffer, marathon runners may experience friction in the nipple between their shirt and chest, and friction may occur in different areas based on posture, breast size and the size and shape of your genitals. In addition it depends on what you are wearing, the weather, how much you are sweating, and even your skin type.
As we head towards warmer temperatures, the combination of sweat and exposed skin creates a perfect thunderstorm for friction. Any body – but that does not mean it’s something you just have to suck and deal with. For a while, I would just try to ignore my suffering and my strength through the suffering until I ended up coming and going at home and winning with every step. But as I know it now, the stimulus is not something to be ashamed of, and if you ignore it it will definitely make things worse.
To prepare for the part of the year that is full of swimwear, sweat and minimal clothing, we spoke with professionals to give you a complete lesson in “Chafing 101” so you can get through the summer friction — and the pain — without pain. .
What is chafing?
According to Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, board certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology in New York, friction can occur wherever there is friction. It comes from rubbing the skin on the skin or fabric and usually occurs in wet areas such as between the thighs, near the genitals, under the arms, under the chest or along the belt of your clothes. Chronic rubbing breaks down the skin barrier and can cause inflammation, which can lead to redness and irritation. If you do not treat your swelling, it can even cause the skin to peel off, creating a stinging or burning sensation when the rubbing continues.
Because rubbing is a rash, it creates an open sore on your skin, which means you should not ignore it. Pushing the sting is not going to make it go away and it can really cause a lot of pain, so think of precautionary measures, your best friend against friction.
How to prevent friction
As I grew older, I realized that there were several ways to help me avoid friction – and none of them involved sacrificing my wardrobe or skipping activities where my skin could rub against each other.
Thanks to brands like Megababe, Body Glide and Hiki, there are now many options on the market that have been specifically designed to help you avoid skin-to-skin friction. A simple stroke of the anti-abrasion gels adds a smooth, dry barrier between the touching skin to prevent sticky, wet rubbing that causes painful rubbing. As a masculine person, I now have to stop squeezing around my chest instead of between my thighs when I wear a dress and Megababe’s Thigh Rescue ($ 14) changed the game.
If you want to avoid squeaking under a skirt or dress, wearing shorts can make a difference. When I first started doing it a few years ago, I remember feeling insecure that I needed an extra layer of fabric while everyone else was moving around effortlessly in their comfortable summer pants. But the reality is that no one will ever know that you are wearing clothes or cycling shorts under your clothes and it is more likely that more people are doing it than you can imagine. When choosing shorts, look for an elastic, non-synthetic material that has some ability to absorb sweat, which will help reduce the moisture that causes friction.
What to do after the onset of friction
Scratching is a type of open sore — especially if there is bleeding — so you will want to treat it as such. Start by wiping it gently with a damp cloth or first aid solution (just stay away from using an alcohol swab if you can, as this will make things more painful). Then apply diaper rash cream (because diaper rash is a form of rubbing) or an antibacterial topical ointment. It is possible for a rash to become infected without proper cleansing and care, so check the area in the days following its onset. While healing, make sure the skin is dry and avoid rubbing as much as possible.
At the end of the day, friction is extremely human, it can be prevented and treated. Going out and having fun this summer is important and a little friction does not have to stop you.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Every body is a beach body,” right? However, navigating in the summer can be difficult. This week, Well + Good publishes All Bodies Are Beach Bodies — A Realistic Guide to Preparing for Summer to help you maintain your confidence, embrace happy movement, manage sweat, create meaningful memories and to find great inspiration for swimwear all summer long.