A version of this story originally appeared on the Strategist U.S.
Thigh chafe, often known as “chub rub,” can cause scorching pain that shouldn’t be underestimated. For some, it may be an uncomfortable friction, but for others it can sting or even turn into a wound. “Thigh chafing is one of those things that everyone’s embarrassed to talk about, which I get — humans are generally embarrassing,” says writer Amelia Diamond. “But I’d bet the majority of us have experienced fire thighs at least once.”
Perhaps the one and only upside to such a common issue is there are now a variety of ways to deal with it — and plenty of people who actually aren’t ashamed to talk about it. “It’s just sweat and friction on your body,” says Katie Sturino, the founder of Megababe, a product line dedicated to “addressing and destigmatising women’s comfort issues,” including thigh chafe. To find the best ways to prevent and treat thigh chafe, we spoke to Diamond, Sturino, and 11 more experts, including dermatologists, stylists, fashion bloggers, and Strategist writers, all of whom told us about some tried-and-true tricks. Below, their favourite stuff —from anti-chafe body products to clothing and accessories — for preventing and soothing thigh chafe.
Best body products for preventing and soothing thigh chafe
Best overall anti-chafe body product
Among those who suffer from thigh chafe, one clear crowd favourite emerged: Megababe’s Thigh Rescue, a moisturising stick that looks like an especially pretty stick of deodorant and contains aloe, pomegranate oil, and grape-seed oil. “Before Thigh Rescue, I used Dove deodorant on my thighs because I saw Michael Cera do that in Juno,” Diamond says. “And because his character was a runner, I figured that was a thing runners did, and if it was good enough for Michael Cera as a cinematic athlete, it had to be good enough for me.” One of the writers of this story (Dominique Pariso) is also a big fan: “I broke down and bought it after I had a case of thigh chafe so gnarly it left scabs on my legs. Aside from its chafe-fighting properties, I appreciate the fresh scent.” Other things our experts like about Thigh Rescue: It packs easily in a bag, according to Colu Henry, the author of the Back Pocket Pasta cookbook; the glide goes on smooth and lasts for hours, according to Curvily clothing-line founder Sarah Chiwaya; and the packaging is so good-looking, it deters women from feeling like they have to hide it, according to Lindsay Schallon, a senior beauty editor at Glamour.
Best anti-chafe lotion
It’s a less specialised, not as portable way to tackle the problem, but Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist at Mount Sinai, recommends something as simple as a lotion with skin-protecting ingredients like triple-purified petrolatum. He says this basic one from Vaseline will do the trick. “Enriched with cocoa butter, it can help hydrate and repair dry, cracked skin,” Zeichner explains. “The protective seal it forms over the skin can help minimise your risk of chafing.”
Best anti-chafe powder
Dr. Noelani Gonzalez, the director of cosmetic dermatology at Mount Sinai West told us that a simple baby powder “does a great job at absorbing moisture and can help with sweating to minimise and prevent chafing,” but acknowledges that many powders can be messy. That’s one reason why Strategist writer Nikita Richardson prefers to use this powder from Megababe to prevent chafe, because its packaging has a pump that allows for more precise application. “Though Megababe’s Thigh Rescue is the prescribed treatment for thigh chafing, I much prefer using the Bust Dust (which is technically made for preventing underboob sweat) on my thighs,” says Richardson, who adds that she personally prefers “the drying quality of the powder,” which contains soothing aloe and chamomile, over the balm.
Best lotion for soothing chafe
For soothing raw skin that’s already chafed, Zeichner recommends slathering something heavy on the wounded, raw area. “Thick ointment provides a barrier between the skin and the environment,” he says. “Ointments seal in raw skin, hydrate, prevent infection, and enhance the skin’s ability to heal itself.” He recommends CeraVe’s healing ointment for inner thighs that feel like they’re on fire.
Best clothing and accessories for preventing thigh chafe
Aside from body products, there are plenty of accessories you can wear under your clothes to create a physical barrier to protect against chafing. When wearing short dresses or skirts, Liz Black, a writer and the creator of the P.S. It’s Fashion blog, swears by Bandelettes, a garter-belt-like device made expressly to prevent thigh chafing. “They’re little bands that look like the top of a thigh-high stocking,” Black says. “Measure your thighs where they touch to get the right size, slip on the silicone-backed bands, and you’re all set.” While Chiwaya likes using Megababe’s Thigh Rescue on a daily basis, she says that, on more rigorous, active days, she also relies on Bandelettes. “I took a few pairs with me on a trip to Europe and had them under every dress: Despite walking even more than I do at home, I didn’t chafe once,” she says. The women who recommended Bandelettes also mentioned that they feel so light and airy that they’ll often forget they’re even wearing them. The bands are available in a lingerie-esque lace and lace-free microfibre.
Marie Denee, the creator and editor-in-chief of website the Curvy Fashionista, pointed us to these shorts that she “will happily rock” if she doesn’t have an anti-chafe stick handy. “They help keep my thighs covered and protected without overheating me,” she says of the shorts, which are specifically designed for plus-size women and are available in sizes ten through 24. Anyone who’s constantly tugging their bike shorts down will appreciate that these also have leg bands to keep them in place (and that those bands don’t dig in). The shorts are also completely seamless, making them harder to detect.
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