Chafed skin, which can be caused by many factors, is extremely uncomfortable. It often appears as a raised red rash or even blisters, which hurt as though the skin has been burned. It can occur in just about anyone, and anyone who has it is immediately interested in finding ways to relieve it.
First off, it is best to try to prevent skin chafing rather than to develop it. You may want to start by wearing clothing that is well fitting, but not too tight, and is made of natural fibers so that the skin can breathe. Sometimes, people recommend loose clothing to avoid skin chafing, but this can actually make matters worse. Skin can chafe against looser clothes, especially at seams, and create the problem.
You’ll also want to make sure that areas prone to skin chafing, like between the upper thighs, are protected from each other. Choose pants instead of short shorts or a skirt so the legs are not rubbing up against one another, and use a protective ointment like petroleum jelly or a lotion with Micatin, an antifungal agent used to prevent chafing of the skin in areas where it has been a problem.
If you already have chafed skin, focus should be on protecting and treating the skin as soon as possible. You can treat skin chafing with either of the lotions mentioned above, or you can use cornstarch powder. Lotions tend to be preferable to powder since they help provide a protective barrier which guards against further chafing.
You’ll also want to do what you can to keep the chafed area of skin dry. This may be difficult in hot weather, but do try for well-ventilated clothing and wear those items in your wardrobe that don’t seem to exacerbate the condition. If you are overweight, chafing can occur along the skin folds and is much more prone to causing yeast infections to develop. In addition to using an anti-chafing ointment with an antifungal, you’ll want to be sure to shower once daily, and allow chafed skin to completely dry before dressing.
Sometimes skin chafing becomes so severe that you’ll need to see a doctor. If the above methods don’t treat the condition within a couple of days, do see your physician. Occasionally, hydrocortisone cream is needed to clear up the problem, since it can help reduce inflammation. However, if the chafing has occurred over a large area of skin, you should not use hydrocortisone treatments without a doctor’s advice. At other times, a yeast infection has developed, and may need a stronger antifungal medication available by prescription only.
People are more prone to chafing if they are athletes, when the weather is hot and they are sweating, or if they are overweight. Not all “cures” work for every person, so it’s important to evolve your own methods of dealing with skin chafing. For one person, looser clothes and petroleum jelly is the answer. For others better fitting clothes and Micatin works best. Just remember to keep an eye on skin chafing for signs of oozing, or if the problem doesn’t resolve. Though this condition can be very minor, it can develop into more serious infections that will require a doctor’s care.