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There are few things worse than wearing a super cute dress, skirt, or shorts during the summer months—only to feel your thighs chafing. Chafed skin is no joke. Not only can chafing be a total downer that doesn’t exactly contribute to a perfect beauty look, but it’s also seriously uncomfortable. If you’re still wondering “what is chafing,” skip the Google search and keep reading. Below, we’re detailing everything you need to know about this common skin concern, including how to prevent chafing with a few key tips.
Before we dive into how to prevent chafing and take care of chafed skin, let’s cover what exactly chafing is. Chafing happens when friction is caused on your skin, resulting in it becoming irritated. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) states that chafing, if not properly treated, can result in blisters—painful skin irritations that can occur anywhere on your body where skin rubs together or rubs against clothing. Yikes! Luckily, there are precautions you can take to avoid ending up with chafed skin—so there’s no need to skip wearing your favorite outfits in order to sidestep thigh chafing.
Chafing doesn’t have to be a given. Take note of the following four tips to prevent chafed skin.
Chafing Prevention Tip #1: Dress right. The Mayo Clinic recommends wearing clothing that fits correctly and avoiding tightfitting clothes, as these can rub and chafe your skin. And since chafing and summer seem to go together like no other, it’s actually a bit of a blessing that wearing loose clothing can be a method of prevention. It’s just one more reason to break out those breezy pants and flowing dresses! In addition to wearing clothing that fits loosely, you’ll want to choose moisture-wicking materials during physical activity, per the AAD, and avoid clothes made of cotton. Why are your cotton pieces a no-go? They soak up sweat and moisture, which can lead to friction and chafing.
Chafing Prevention Tip #2: Protect problem areas. Certain areas, like your thighs and feet, are more prone to chafing. The AAD recommends using adhesive moleskin or other soft bandages to protect the area, making sure the bandages are applied securely. As an alternative, you can apply powder or petroleum jelly to specific areas, which will help reduce friction when your skin rubs together or rubs against clothing.
Chafing Prevention Tip #3: Don’t test the waters. If you notice your skin turning red or you start to experience discomfort, the AAD suggests stopping what you’re doing ASAP. Now isn’t the time to see if you can outsmart chafed skin—rather, give your skin a break to prevent further irritation!
Chafing Prevention Tip #4: Maintain a healthy weight. We’re sure you know by now that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can have an array of benefits, and helping prevent chafed skin happens to be another one. According to the Cleveland Clinic, obesity can be a cause of skin chafing. This is because folds of excess body skin can rub against each other and cause skin irritation and chafing.
If it’s too late for you and your chafed skin, there’s no need to fret. Just be sure to take care of chafed skin properly to avoid further irritation. Here are a few skin care tips for treating chafed skin.
Chafed Skin Tip #1: Cover the area. First thing’s first—keep your chafed skin covered and unbothered. You can do so by loosely placing a bandage over the affected area. This will help prevent further irritation.
Chafed Skin Tip #2: Avoid tight clothes. To continue to avoid irritation, wear loose-fitting clothes, just as you would when attempting to prevent chafing. The last thing your chafed skin needs is a tight pair of skinny jeans rubbing against it!
Chafed Skin Tip #3: Leave it be. Most importantly, you’ll want to leave your chafed skin be and give it time to heal on its own. As long as you avoid further irritation, chafed skin and blisters should heal on their own in one to two weeks, per the AAD.
Next up: Learn about another popular skin care concern. Click through to our article, What Causes Eczema?
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