Chafing is a common problem of the skin that results from a combination of moisture, friction and irritating cloth. It causes damage to the skin by prolonged and repetitive rubbing and friction. The skin reacts to this by developing a mild, red rash and in severe cases, chafing include swelling, crusting and bleeding.

Chaffing can actually occur anywhere in your body but the more vulnerable places are the thighs, groin, underarm, and nipples. It gives you a painful sensation when your sweaty skin has rubbed against your clothing or against itself. A predisposing factor for chaffing is during hot weather when you sweat, but your skins can also chaf in cold or dry weather.

Causes of Chafing

The skin is the largest organ in the body and it plays an essential role in protecting the internal organs and maintains your health. It is strong and flexible, protecting the organs in your body from the outside environment where you have germs, heat, or injury. The skin needs to be kept clean and dry as well as being well moisturized to prevent prolonged friction and rubbing. The causes of chafing include:

  • Repeated rubbing in the presence of moisture which lets the skin breaks down.
  • Exercise and sports. Most common when running along with other activities that causes sweat and repeated motions of the body.
  • Being overweight
  • Nipples can be chaffed when breastfeeding.
  • Prolonged use of soaked diapers can cause chaffing on bottoms
  • Ill-fitting clothing like tight straps from your bra causing repeated rubs on your skin.
  • Walking around in skirt, you can develop inner-thigh chafing when wearing a skirt.


Of course, skin chaffing at any area of the body can be treated so, do not ignore it.

  • Promptly stop any action that causes rubbing and irritation on your skin. This can be done by putting on clothes that are comfortable for you. If you discover chaffing, carefully pat the skin area dry, and apply petroleum jelly there.
  • Avoid the cause of friction
  • Apply a soothing balm, lotion or oil to keep the area away from moisture
  • Allow fresh air to the area.
  • You can use a prescribed topical steroid.
  • Give the skin some time to heal from chafing before being active again as continuous friction will make it worse predisposing to infection.
  • When your skin is recovering, do not try to clean with any irritant as it can hinder the healing process but preferably with water and a mild soap.
  • You can use ice or cold pack for a period of time to relieve pain but ensure you pat dry the area when you are done


A break in the skin’s continuity has interfered with the protective function of the skin and can introduce germs and infection. You need medical attention if the chafed area of your skin shows signs of

  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Crust and
  • discolouration


  • How to prevent chafing appears simple but it requires tie and effort from you. Though it might necessitate that you regularly participate in activities that cause chafing but there are still ways you can prevent it to reduce its severity on your skin.
  • Stay dry. Having a wet skin can make chafing worse. You can apply a talcum powder before you head out daily as the powder can help take moisture away from the skin.
  • Put on a comfortable cloth. When you exercise, wear proper-fitting clothes made with synthetic fibers and ensure you are comfortable in the outfit.