Chafing: Shorts, creams and how to soothe the condition

Summer chafing, thighs pictures on beach. (Getty Images)
Don't let some pesky chafing ruin your summer. (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

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With extreme temperatures in the UK this week, it's likely that combating the chafing summer seems to bring with it will be even more of a challenge.

While we love having the opportunity to wear our favourite floaty dresses, for example, the mere motion of moving in the heat can cause our thighs to rub together and bring on the dreaded chafe.

Then there’s the under boob chafe (which is equally as annoying, and not to mention painful), or the chafe from exercise, such as cycling. The list goes on.

And if it isn’t dealt with correctly, the affected area can become quite sore and irritated – and we don't want our summer to be ruined by a pesky skin problem.

Read more: Heatstroke vs heat exhaustion: Signs, symptoms and how to prevent both

“The technical term for "chafing" is intertrigo,” says Dr Sanjay Trikha one of the Medical Directors of Trikwan Aesthetics.

“This word originates from Latin whereby inter (between) and terere (to rub) help explain the condition.

“This inflammatory skin condition is usually caused by warm temperatures, friction between skin surfaces, moisture (can be caused by sweat), maceration (softening of skin due to prolonged moisture exposure) and lack of ventilation.”

Dr Trikha explains that chafing is usually a clinical diagnosis that primary affects areas such as the armpits, skinfold creases or anywhere where an individual experiences frequent skin rubbing and irritation.

How to treat and prevent summer chafing

Adults running in the heat. (Getty Images)
Avoid tight fitting clothing for exercise and shower and dry off straight after. (Getty Images) (FatCamera via Getty Images)

It seems, overall, prevention is better than cure.

“To treat chafing, you need to be able to spot the underlying cause,” Dr Trikha explains, but acknowledges, “If the chafing causes a skin infection, this too will need to be treated with the correct antimicrobial agent.”

For simple chafing, Dr Trikha says antiperspirants can be used to minimise sweating and help reduce moisture.

“Showering and drying using a soft towel immediately after physical activity is also recommended,” he adds.

He also suggests trying to stay cool by wearing loose fitting clothing and trying to avoid over-heating by standing in shaded or air conditioned areas.

A simple trick used by runners is to stick some Vaseline in the problem area between your legs, but many find it melts off too quickly and feels a bit greasy and gross.

Then there’s the tried-and-tested talcum powder, which could work to dry up some of the sweat, but won’t keep the chafe at bay for long.

Some people have had success with special undergarments designed to prevent heat rub.

Read more: UK weather: What happens to your body when it gets too hot?

Couple in summer. (Getty Images)
What anti-chafing trick are you secretly using this summer? (Getty Images) (Moof via Getty Images)

In years gone, sales of anti-chafing bands have gone through the roof, while social media users came up with an alternative solution, which involves a product you likely already have in the back of your bathroom cabinet – roll-on deodorant.

People began rubbing the underarm pong protector onto their inner thighs to protect them from chafing.

The roll on deodorant acts as a sort of lubricant, meaning your thighs will simply glide past each other, without the friction that causes the chafing.

Plus, it's actually pretty soothing down there, which is heavenly in these hot and sticky times.

Read more: Why do I swell up in the heat? 5 ways to reduce heat oedema this summer

But while you’re no doubt eager to dig out the deodorant (wise to check it can be used safely in the area you need), or opt for some other anti-chafing products to go forth and enjoy a friction-free time, Dr Trikha has a word of warning for those who find their irritation is persistent.

“There are many potential skin issues which may present in a similar way to chafing,” he says.

“If prolonged symptoms persist or there are signs of infection, then one should immediately contact a healthcare professional to get it formally diagnosed.”

Shop top-rated anti-chafing products

Cool Comfort Anti-Chafing Shorts | £12 from Marks & Spencer

15 Denier Anti-Chafing Bands | £4 (was £8) from John Lewis & Partners

SIHOHAN Womens Slip Shorts | £16.99 (Was £33.99) from Amazon

BodyGlide For Her Anti-Chafing Balm | £26.87 from Amazon

Silky Underwear Dusting Powder | £10 from Lush

Gold Bond Friction Defense
| £12.75 from Amazon

Watch: UK heatwave: How to cope with extreme temperatures