While chafed skin seems like a minor irritation, it can become a big nuisance. Dry chafed skin happens when your skin constantly rubs against skin or other materials, like your clothing. Over time, this friction makes your skin peel or even bleed. If you frequently experience chafing from athletic activities or you only occasionally have it, learn to treat the skin and prevent chafed skin in the future.
EditTreating Chafed Skin
- Clean the area. Carefully wash the affected area with a mild cleanser and rinse with water. Pat the skin dry with a clean towel. Washing the chafed skin is especially important if you’ve been exercising or sweating a lot. You’ll need to wash away the perspiration before treating the skin.
- Avoid rubbing the skin hard with a towel. You don’t want to further irritate dry, peeling skin.
- Apply powder. Sprinkle powder over your skin. This should help to reduce your skin’s friction. You can use talc-free baby powder, baking soda, cornstarch, or another body powder. Avoid talcum powder, since some studies show it may be a carcinogen.
- Apply an ointment. Use any kind of petroleum jelly, body balm, diaper rash cream, or product designed to prevent chafing over the skin to reduce your skin’s friction. Several products are specifically designed to prevent chafing for athletes. Once you’ve applied an ointment, you may want to cover the area with a bandage or sterile gauze pad.
- If the area is very painful or bleeding, ask your doctor for a medicated ointment. You’ll be able to spread it on the area much like petroleum jelly.
- Apply ice packs. Cool the chafed skin by applying an ice pack right after you finish exercising or begin to notice irritation. Make sure not to apply ice or an ice pack directly to your skin, since this can further damage your skin. Instead, wrap the ice pack in a towel or cloth and keep it near your skin for 20 minutes. This cooling sensation will give you immediate relief.
- Apply soothing gels or oils. Spread natural aloe vera gel directly from the plant onto the chafed area. You can also purchase aloe vera, but make sure it has as few additives as possible. This will calm your skin. You may also want to drop a couple of drops of tea tree oil onto a cotton ball. Then, spread it over your skin. This can fight infection and help your skin heal faster.
- Take a soothing bath. Create a soothing mixture of 2 cups baking soda and 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Then add this to a running bath of lukewarm water. Avoid soaking in very hot water, which can dry out or further irritate your skin. Soak for at least 20 minutes and then get out and pat yourself dry with a clean towel.
- You can also make a soothing tea to add to the tub. Boil 1/3 cup of green tea, 1/3 cup of dried calendula (marigold), and 1/3 cup of dried chamomile in 2 quarts of water. Let the tea steep until the liquid cools, then strain it and pour into your tub.
- Know when to see a doctor. Chafed skin can become infected and need medical attention. If you notice an infection or scaly red rash, go see your medical practitioner. You should also see your doctor if the chafed area is incredibly painful or debilitating and sensitive.
EditPreventing Chafed Skin
- Keep your skin dry. If you know you’ll be exercising and perspiring, make sure to apply talc-free and alum powders to the areas that usually get the sweatiest. Wet skin will make chafing worse, so get out of wet clothes as soon as you’re done exercising.
- Wear the right clothes. Clothes that are too tight fitting can irritate your skin and cause chafing. Wear synthetic clothes that fit snugly. Clothing that sits close to your skin will prevent the friction that causes chafing. If you’re exercising, don’t wear cotton and try to dress as minimally as possible.
- Make sure you don’t wear clothes that have seams or straps that rub. If you notice rubbing or irritation when you first put it on, the rubbing will only get worse after several hours of wearing it. Better to choose something more comfortable that doesn’t chafe your skin.
- Drink more water. This is especially true if you’re exercising. Drinking lots of water will let your body sweat easier, which prevents salt crystals from forming. Salt crystals on your skin can be a source of friction, causing chafing.
- Make your own preventative lubricant. You’ll need A & D ointment, which is usually used for diaper rash, and petroleum jelly. Combine 1 cup of each in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup of vitamin E cream and 1/4 cup aloe vera cream. Stir the mixture well. It will be pretty stiff, but you can spread it on chafed skin.
- Spread the lubricant on areas that usually chafe before you plan on exercising or sweating. It can also help heal chafed skin and prevent blisters.
- Lose weight. If you’re overweight, you may notice more chafing. This is especially true if you notice chafing on your thighs. Losing some of the weight will help prevent excess skin from rubbing together in the future.
- Start by exercising and incorporating healthy food into your diet. You can do an exercise that doesn’t cause significant chafing, like swimming weightlifting, or rowing.
- When skin becomes infected and begins to bleed, clean the area first with anti-bacterial soap. Apply Neosporin onto the infected area. Wait a few days to place any other natural treatment to this skin until the bleeding subsides and the area begins to heal.
- See your doctor if the area does not improve in a few days or gets worse.
EditSources and Citations
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