Chafing is a skin irritation that can occur when clothing rubs against the skin or skin rubs against another part of the body. Exposure to moisture and irritating fabric also contribute to chafing. Let’s talk about the symptoms of chafing as well as prevention and home remedies.
Signs and symptoms of chafing
Chafing is often characterized by the onset of skin rashes that can be:
- Red and inflamed
- Burning sensation
- A stinging sensation when the affected area comes into contact with water
- Sensitive and sore patches
In severe cases chafing can make your skin:
Causes and risk factors
Some of the common causes of chafing include:
- Carrying extra weight: increasing the risk of skin rubbing against itself and causing irritation
- Breastfeeding: from the nursing bra and moisture on the nipples
- Running: chafing is common in distance runners because of the repetitive motion of skin rubbing against itself combined with sweaty skin and the clothing rubbing on the skin
- Bicycling: when the thighs and buttocks repetitively rub against the seat
- Tight clothing: repeatedly rubbing on the skin
- Diapers: wet or tight diapers can cause chafing in babies.
Home remedies for chafing
Keep the area clean and dry
Sweat can further irritate the skin so it’s critical to keep the area dry. You can use talcum powder, or corn starch to keep it moisture free. Concerns have been raised about talcum powder making cornstarch a better option. Cornstarch absorbs extra moisture from the skin reducing itching. It also creates a silky feeling on the skin that may help prevent further irritation. Just clean the area as you would during a shower then dry the area and apply cornstarch. Repeat two or three times daily,
Plant oils include coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil, almond oil, and other vitamin E-rich oils. They help moisturize the skin and reduce inflammation. Coconut oil helps reduce inflammation, promotes wound healing, and prevents the growth of potentially harmful bacteria on the skin. Just apply your preferred plant oil directly on the affected area after a shower.
Natural fats such as shea butter, cocoa butter, milk cream, and avocado butter can moisturize the skin. Natural butter restores the water content of dry skin thus aiding recovery. Shea butter in particular has anti-inflammatory properties which promote skin healing. Shea butter is high in fatty acids which soften and nourish the skin.
Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and soothing properties. It also binds moisture to the skin and helps strengthen the skin barriers. Apply a fresh extract of aloe vera to the affected area then rinse after 15-20 minutes. Alternatively, you can mix ¼ of aloe vera juice with 1 cup of green tea and lavender essential oil. Spray this mixture on the affected area twice a day. Green tea has polyphenols that help reduce itching. 5 Benefits Of Aloe Vera Gel
Here’s Why You Should Consider Using Aloe Vera Oil On Your Skin
Petroleum jellies like Vaseline keep your skin moisturized. It also forms a protective layer on the skin preventing further infection in the affected area. Apply a little petroleum jelly to the affected area after cleaning the area. Reapply as necessary.
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Chafing most commonly happens around the underarms, thighs, nipple area and groin. Here are some ways to prevent chafing:
- Apply balms or creams or powders to the areas prone to chafing
- Wear protective covers or nipple shields while running
- Wear protective shorts made of soft elastic that reduces friction when exercising
- Wear moisture-wicking clothing like cotton which absorbs moisture and keeps the skin dry
- Wear properly fitting clothes
- Switch to slightly larger diapers for babies
- Use air-drying and nursing pads if you’re nursing
- Take off wet clothes immediately
The chafing should heal within a few days. If the area seems overly irritated or is showing signs of infection, consider seeing your doctor.
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