Friction Between Legs

You’re on a relaxing walk in the park...then it starts.. First, the itching. Then the burn. And then, the waddle. 

Oop. Your thighs are chafed. 

If you're lucky, you have a soothing rash cream and a comfy chair reach. But , you could also be at the office or in a meeting. Even worse, you could be wrapping up the last few miles of your morning run -- ouch!

The infamous itching and burning go by many names: Thigh chafing, sweat rash, groin rash, etc. So how can you avoid it? 

In this post, we'll spill about everything you need to know about friction between the legs, including what causes thigh chafing and how to prevent it.


What exactly is Chafing?

Skin chafing is that it's what happens to the skin when it experiences increased friction. Basically, chafing is the repeated skin-on-skin or fabric-on-skin contact that can lead to irritation, blistering, dryness, or breakdown of the skin. 


Symptoms of Chafing

When you experience chafing, you'll know. But in case you need a few things to keep an eye out for, here's a list

With chafing, you'll most likely experience the following:

  • Redness

  • A burning sensation

  • A flat rash

  • Blister-like lesions or boils

  • Pain

  • Itchiness as the skin heals

  • Swelling


Causes of Thigh Chafing

Inner thigh chafing is very common. So don’t freak out.

Most people have thighs that touch or rub together when they move. This skin can get irritated by friction, moisture, heat, and repeated rubbing against clothing. 

Skin chafing is most common in the inner thighs, but it can also occur on other parts of the body, like the armpits and nipples. 

There are many causes of chafing. Here are some of them:

Our Bodies

Body fat can make it a little easier for your inner thighs to rub together and cause friction. However, it's far from the only cause. 

Exercise And Sports

People who play sports or work out often experience thigh chafing. 

The cause is repetitive actions, excess moisture from sweat, or loose-fitting workout clothing. In fact, resistance-trained athletes with muscular thighs are just as likely to have chronic skin chafing troubles as someone with a little extra body fat.

Wearing Skirts Or Dresses

For some people, dresses and skirts are often the items that result in discomfort from chafing. 

For hot girl summer, we all know that cute skirts, tiny shorts and floral dresses come out. With thighs exposed and no fabric barrier between the legs, sweat and heat can lead to thigh rubbing and pain.

Loose Skin

Loose skin after giving birth, or losing a significant amount of weight, can also contribute to thigh chafing. 

Poor Fitting Clothes

Clothes that don't fit you well can repeatedly rub and irritate your skin. Wearing clothes that are a little too tight can also result in rubbing. So, if you're wearing something tight, pay close attention to where the seams are. 

Seams located in areas that rub are a common culprit. Clothes that are too loose, on the other hand, can leave your thighs exposed to rub directly against the other, which can result in a painful rash. 

Sweat And Moisture

Sweat just might be the biggest cause of chafing -- especially when combined with any of the other factors listed above. Plus, in addition to the moisture-increasing friction, dried sweat tends to leave a layer of salt on the skin. 

This dried salt can ramp up the irritation immensely. Ugh. 


How to Treat Chafing

 Tip #1: Clean The Area With Care

Gently wash thigh chafing with a gentle body wash or lukewarm water to soothe irritation from dried sweat and help control fungal growth. 

Pat dry, don't rub. Then, if you can, let the skin air out for a few moments to make sure all dampness is gone. 

Tip #2: Calm Your Skin With Ointments

Treat your chafed skin twice a day with a zinc ointment or a balm to soothe the abrasion and restore damaged skin. 

You can also use Topicals Like Butter -- a thick, whipped mask packed with potent botanicals to help soothe and restore irritated skin while fortifying the damaged moisture barrier. Thank us later. 

Tip #3: Bandage The Area

If you have tiny blisters forming on your skin, you may need to use blister plasters.

For severe blisters, lesions, or experiencing bleeding, it is important to seek medical advice. You may need a medicated cream to prevent scarring or infection.


How to Prevent Thigh Chafing

Thigh chafing can make it really painful to walk, run, bike, and more. If it becomes intense enough, it may even cause you to stop exercising until your thighs are fully healed. Your body will love you for slowing down. 

Stay Clean

This is an easy one. Shower daily and wear clean undies. Daily activities will lead to a buildup of sweat, dirt, and salt in your thigh area. 

This "thigh grime" causes that sticky feeling which leads to friction and chafing between the thighs. If you can't shower after a sweaty run or an afternoon hike in the sun, use a shower body wipe to clean dirt and sweat from between your thighs and groin area. 

Interrupt The Friction

Applying a thick, slippery product like petroleum jelly on your chafed thighs can help to reduce friction and prevent abrasion. Products with beeswax, shea butter, or silicone provide the same benefit. 

Wear Moisture-Wicking Clothing

Materials like cotton retain moisture and sweat and keep your skin damp. This dampness will increase your risk of friction and -- you guessed it -- chafing. 

Wear clothes that "breathe" and let the sweat evaporate off your skin, especially while exercising. 

Compression shorts and other sport-specific clothing can protect skin when you are active. You can also wear bike shorts underneath a dress or skirt to prevent your thigh skin from rubbing together. 

Plan For The Weather

Consider workout out when it's a bit cooler outside -- such as evening or morning. That may help you to sweat less and keep your skin and clothing drier. 

Avoid Poorly Placed Seams

As mentioned early, seams in shorts or leggings can often be the biggest culprits of friction and chafing in the thighs. It's essential if you want to get through a run or workout comfortably that you take your apparel seriously and look for any functional hazards. 

To avoid chafing, choose clothing that is seamless or has flat seams in the leg area.  

Consider Medical Options

If your thigh chafing is due to excessive sweating, you may have a condition called hyperhidrosis. But don't stress -- it's totally manageable.

Talk to your doctor and discuss the best treatment plan for you. 


Bottom Line

The best treatment for thigh chafing is prevention. But even with the best prevention methods in place, it's still definitely possible to experience a little bit of chafing. It happens.

In those cases, dry off the area, stop the activity that led to chafing as quickly as possible, and apply petroleum jelly or lotion to help soothe and protect the affected skin. 

We love Like Butter from Topicals because its anti-inflammatory properties help with soothing sensitive skin and irritation -- exactly what you need to calm chafing. 

Here at Topicals, all of our products are research-backed and only contain ingredients that are scientifically proven to benefit the skin. Completely free of dyes and fragrances and never tested on animals, Topicals is more than beauty and more than skincare; we're a new standard -- medicated botanicals.

Whether you're looking to soothe and hydrate chafing skin or balance your spotty complexion, we've got your back.


5 ways to use petroleum jelly for skin care | AAD

What causes chafing rash? Remedies, treatment, and prevention | Medical News Today

Hyperhidrosis - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic