Chafing is irritation caused to the outer layer of the skin due to repeated rubbing. This is a common occurrence in men and women. The armpits, thighs, and the groin are the regions that are frequently affected as they are close together. This irritation is caused when the skin rubs against skin or clothes. There are many ways to prevent as well as treat chafing.
Athletes and overweight people, essentially people whose skin extensively comes in contact with skin and/or clothes, are more prone to chafed skin. Excessive sweating, chemicals, dirt, tight clothing, synthetic clothing, wet clothing, all cause the skin to become chafed. Due to the repeated rubbing of the skin, the skin layers wear out due to the friction between the two surfaces. This results in excessive irritation and itching, followed by inflammation. The area becomes red and very painful. It needs to be treated promptly in order to avoid further skin damage and infection. Generally, it takes two to three days for the skin to heal completely. If the problem persists, it's recommended that you visit your doctor for proper treatment. Let us now look into some relief measures.
- Apply some petroleum jelly on the area to soothe the inflammation on the skin.
- Baby oil and baby powder helps to reduce the irritation on the skin and also helps heal the skin.
- An elastic wrap prevents the skin on skin friction. Use these wraps if you tend to have chafed skin between legs. You can also cover the chafed area with bandages or gauze till the chafing reduces.
- After your bath, apply some zinc oxide on the area affected. Use olive oil to remove the zinc oxide.
- Drink plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated. This will reduce the chances of chafing.
- Avoid doing things that cause you to sweat profusely. Sweating makes the skin worse by increasing the inflammation.
- Wear cotton clothes so that your skin breathes freely. Avoid wearing synthetic and tight clothes.
- Don't wear tight underwear as it is the main reason for chafed skin near the groin area.
- If you are overweight, reduce your weight so that your problems reduce significantly. Indulge in water exercises like swimming and water aerobics, as this will not only stop your skin from chafing, but will also reduce your weight.
- It is advisable for the athletes to apply some protective substance like skin creams with aloe vera, aloe vera gel, or petroleum jelly before starting their workout.
- Natural and herbal over-the-counter medicines are available, however, do not take any of these unless they have been prescribed by a doctor.
- Applying calendula ointment or oil on the chafed area will help provide relief.
- Make an ointment by mixing petroleum jelly, aloe vera gel, and vitamin E cream, and use it after your bath, daily.
- Massage your body with almond oil to moisturize it to avoid skin chafing.
- Applying lavender and tea tree oil are also well-known home remedies.
- An inexpensive and quick way to get relief is by applying cornstarch to the affected area. The cornstarch absorbs the moisture and leaves the skin clean and dry.
- You can also apply rose oil/water to the area after thoroughly cleaning it with warm water and antibacterial soap.
- Increase the amount of vitamin C in your diet so that your immune system gets a boost and helps in repairing the damaged skin rapidly.
- Add ground oats into a bathtub full of warm water and take a relaxing bath. This is a good way to relieve the soreness and inflammation.
- Wash the area with warm water and apply some lemon balm on it to soothe the irritation.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.