Ahh summer. It’s the season for shorts, skirts, skorts (thank you Gen Z) and unfortunately…thigh chafing. While rocking your favorite daisy dukes (or maxi dress) will have you strutting like Jessica Simpson in 2006, that icky burning sensation will always bring you back to reality. Luckily, Dr. Brooke Jackson, board-certified dermatologist and owner of Skin Wellness Dermatology Associates in Durham, North Carolina, is giving us tips for treatment, prevention and more.

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Kaitlyn Collins

So, what causes thigh chafing in the first place?

According to Dr. Jackson, friction is the top culprit. “Friction can be due to many things—when your thighs rub together or they’re being rubbed by something, if you’re wearing leggings that are made of a material that’s a little bit rough (like jean material) on your skin or if you’re a runner and your shorts get a little bunchy that your skin is rubbing then irritated by sweat, that’s going to cause chafing,” she explained.

The irritation is amplified during the hot summer months because of the sweltering heat and profuse sweating that follows. And if you’re at the beach, the salt water can also contribute to the dryness of your skin and cause more friction when your thighs rub together. The runners among us are also training and getting sweaty for fall marathons, making our skin even more susceptible to chafing.

What are some signs symptoms of thigh chafing?

  • Redness
  • Burning sensation
  • Flat rash
  • Blister-like lesions
  • Itchiness when healing

7 Ways to Prevent Thigh Chafing

1. Ditch the rough fabrics

“If you notice your chafing is due to a certain cloth that is an irritant, stop wearing it,” advises Dr. Jackson. “For example, some of my teenage patients want to wear these super skinny leggings. Don’t wear the jean fabric, wear the cotton. It’s a lot softer and gentler on your skin.”

2. Slather on some Vaseline

If you don’t want to get rid of the short shorts, Dr. Jackson says Vaseline is the way to go. “I call it the wonder jelly because not only is it affordable, but it is the runner’s best friend. You can put just a little bit of Vaseline on the inside of both thighs and that will decrease the friction.” Oh, and unfortunately, regular lotion doesn’t do the trick because it’s so easily absorbed into the skin.

3. Powder up

Much like under boob sweat, thigh chafing can be prevented by zapping moisture in the area. A talc-free powder like MegaBabe’s Bust Dust or Burt’s Bees Baby Dusting Powder will keep your inner thighs nice and dry.

4. Try anti-chafing balms

Powders can easily get messy, so if you’re not one for all the extra clean up that comes with applying an anti-chafe powder, try an anti-chafe balm. Gold Bond’s Friction Dense Stick has over 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and Dr. Jackson recommends Body Glide for Her, which you can easily apply before a run.

5. Invest in anti-chafing bands

If you’re going to be wearing any skirts or dresses, you can also opt of thigh bands. These nifty under garments will provide a barrier between your thighs, combating friction. These lacy bands from Bandelettes look more like garters than boy shorts, and come in a variety of colors.

6. Opt for slip shorts

Anti-chafing bands not quite getting the job done and you need an option that gives you a bit more coverage? Go for slip shorts. This Easylite Smoothing Slip Short from Bare Necessities doubles as a thigh shaper and it’s made with moisture wicking fabric. Win-win.

7. Go for no-chafe workout shorts

Check out the comprehensive list here. From biker shorts to running shorts to shorts for any high-impact activity (or just a lazy day of running errands) these picks will let you live your best life chafe-free.

How to Treat Thigh Chafing

So you forgot to take precautions and now your inner thighs are all bumpy and irritated. Don’t sweat it. First, Dr. Jackson recommends you take note of what made you react in the first place so you don’t find yourself in the same situation. Second, per WebMD, be sure to carefully clean the area with water and dry it thoroughly. And if you're an athlete, it's important to give the area adequate time to heal before you go for another intense sweat session.

If you’ve tried everything and don’t see any improvement, it’s time to see your doctor. “Sometimes the irritation is exacerbated, and you need prescription medication to calm it down,” Jackson says. “Depending on what else is going on [in your body] there is potential for infection. Let’s say you’re diabetic. You’re already prone to infection and if your skin is chafing, you might end up with a [bigger issue] because the skin—which is your barrier—is not intact.”

For most people though, thigh chafing is just an annoying by-product of the hot summer months and nothing to stress over. Just try one of the prevention methods above and you can sip your tequila cocktail by the pool or take a hike without worrying about it.

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