Dermatologist-approved tips and tricks to prevent and heal chafing

Say hi to happy thighs!

Harper's Bazaar India

Thigh chafing, medically known as "intertrigo", is a common skin concern that occurs when the inner thighs rub against each other, causing friction and irritation, which can result in redness, pain, itching, and sometimes even skin breakdown.

Prolonged chafing can also lead to hyperpigmentation, causing the affected skin to become darker than the surrounding area. In severe cases, chafed skin may develop small pus-filled boils, which can indicate a risk of infection or the chafed area can be extremely itchy and uncomfortable, causing significant distress.

However, there are effective measures you can take to prevent thigh chafing and maintain healthy skin, and here are a few expert tips to prevent it.

Moisturise well

Keeping the skin well-moisturised is essential to prevent chafing. Opt for a high-quality, fragrance-free moisturiser that's suitable for sensitive skin. Applying a thin layer to the inner thigh area can create a protective barrier that reduces friction. Look for moisturisers containing ingredients like ceramides, shea butter or glycerin.

Choose the right clothing

If you're prone to thigh chafing, consider wearing moisture-wicking shorts or bands specifically designed to prevent friction between the thighs. Avoid tight clothing, as it can increase friction and exacerbate chafing. Instead, wear loose-fitting clothing made from breathable fabrics like cotton which can significantly reduce friction and moisture built-up.

Use powder or anti-chafing products

Talc-free powders or anti-chafing creams can help absorb excess moisture and reduce friction. These products create a protective layer between the skin surfaces, minimising the risk of chafing. Make sure to choose products that are non-irritating and safe for sensitive skin.

Stay dry

Moisture can worsen chafing. After activities that make you sweat, gently pat the inner thigh area dry with a clean towel. You can also use a hair dryer on the cool setting to ensure the area is completely dry before getting dressed.

Maintain a healthy weight

Carrying excess weight can contribute to increased friction and chafing. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can reduce the risk of chafing.

Stay hydrated

Drinking an adequate amount of water helps maintain skin hydration and can reduce the chances of irritation caused by dry skin rubbing against each other.

Avoid harsh soaps

Using harsh soaps or cleansers can strip the skin of its natural oils, making it more susceptible to irritation and chafing. Opt for mild, fragrance-free cleansers when washing the inner thigh area.

If you experience severe or persistent chafing that doesn't respond to preventive measures, it's recommended to consult a dermatologist. They can provide personalised advice and medical-grade products or treatments to alleviate the issue.

With inputs from Dr Sujit Shanshanwal and Dr Vikas Panvelkar