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Chafing

Skin irritation from rubbing

 

Chafing is skin irritation that occurs where skin rubs against skin, clothing, or other material.

Information

 

When rubbing causes skin irritation, these tips may help:

  • Avoid coarse clothing. Wearing 100% cotton fabric against your skin may help.
  • Reduce friction against your skin by wearing the right kind of clothing for the activity you are doing (for example, athletic tights for running or cycling shorts for biking).
  • Avoid activities that cause chafing unless they are part of your typical lifestyle, exercise, or sports routine.
  • Wear clean and dry clothing. Dried sweat, chemicals, dirt, and other debris may cause irritation.
  • Use petroleum jelly or baby powder on chafed areas until the skin heals. You can also use these before activities to prevent chafing in easily irritated areas, for example, on your inner thighs or upper arms before running.

 

 

References

Cole MB, Smith ML. Environmental and sports-related skin diseases. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 88.

 
  • Chafing of the skin

    Chafing of the skin - illustration

    Chafing of the skin refers to red sore skin that has been irritated by something continuously rubbing against it. Wear appropriate clean clothes for activities like sports or exercise to avoid chafing. If chafing occurs, use petroleum jelly or talcum powder as a lubricant on the affected areas of the skin to temporarily alleviate the irritation.

    Chafing of the skin

    illustration

    • Chafing of the skin

      Chafing of the skin - illustration

      Chafing of the skin refers to red sore skin that has been irritated by something continuously rubbing against it. Wear appropriate clean clothes for activities like sports or exercise to avoid chafing. If chafing occurs, use petroleum jelly or talcum powder as a lubricant on the affected areas of the skin to temporarily alleviate the irritation.

      Chafing of the skin

      illustration


     

    Review Date: 8/14/2015

    Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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