Protecting Yourself From Chafed Skin
You don't have to be a marathon runner to have unpleasant experiences with chafing skin. If you've ever experienced this uncomfortable problem, don't be afraid! There are several ways to treat your issue and protect yourself in the future. Here's a quick guide:
<h1>Why Does Chafing Happen? Is It Bad Karma? (Hint: No)</h1>
Chafed skin is an entirely natural phenomenon that happens when our skin is subjected to repeated friction. It can be caused by a variety of causes (from skin allergies to skin irritation caused as medication side-effect) but our clothes are very often the culprit.
<h2>Treating Chafed Skin</h2>
The best way to deal with a skin irritation like chafing skin is to prevent it from happening. Isn't that easy to say! In reality, of course, you often need to relieve the irritation caused by skin chafing after the fact.
Your first line of defense is cleaning the affected area with a general, mild soap. Something with moisturizers in it is ideal. (Make sure you're using a product that doesn't trigger skin allergies, though!)
You'll want to wear a lubricant on the chafed skin in order to prevent it from getting worse. Petroleum jelly is the classic standby, but many other products (e.g. talcum powder and specially-made anti-chafing lubricants) are also useful. Look for products that are fragrance-free and non-staining. Not only are they cleaner, they're also less likely to interact with a skin allergy.
<h2>The Role A Skin Allergy Can Play</h2>
Skin allergies often play a significant role in skin chafing. It's easy to mistake one cause of skin irritation for another, and sometimes the new products you introduce to handle chafed skin can trigger brand new skin allergies. If treatment measures seem to do nothing for your skin chafing or even make it worse, try different products. If switching to something different causes the problem to go away, you may well have a skin allergy.
<h1>Chafing Solutions: For Athletes</h1>
Important note: Athletes aren't <i>that</i> special. Any of the other ways of dealing with chafing skin described here may work for athletes too. The below concerns are particularly important for those who experience skin chafing due after working out.
As noted above, clothing is often the prime suspect in cases of skin chafing. When you're working out, clothes become much more restrictive and likely to cause chafed skin when they get soaked in sweat. This is one place where cotton is not your friend! Wear synthetic fabrics (skin allergies permitting) that wick sweat away from your body.
The other major factor to watch out for is keeping your workout gear clean. The excessive sweat stains that build up on exercise clothes can work just like sandpaper on the tenderer parts of your skin. Launder frequently!
<h1>Chafing Solutions: For The Rest Of Us</h1>
<h2>Good Fit, Good Material</h2>
Clothing that is snug without being constrictive can go a long way towards curbing chafed skin and other forms of skin irritation. Cotton is your friend here if you're not sweating in your clothes. Besides being exceptionally comfortable, it's also very friendly to possible skin allergies.
<h2>Stay Hydrated And Moisturized</h2>
Dry skin chafes much more easily than properly moisturized skin. Apply a moisturizing lotion regularly and make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day.