One of the most common problems for runners and cyclists is the issue of chafing, which occurs when the clothing you wear persistently rubs against your skin. This might not seem like much of a problem to non-runners or explosive athletes; but is significant to distance athletes. Whether you’re cycling on a trail, or going for miles on your home-based exercise bike, chafing can become a big problem if you don’t take proper precautions against it. Here – you’ll learn how.
First: What is Chafing?
Chafing is simply an irritation of the skin caused by friction.
The effect though can range from slight irritation to unbearable pain, so its important that you spot the early signs, and treat it quickly.
Remember, prevention is better than a cure, so here are some top tips to prevent chafing in the first place. If you have gone beyond prevention, read on to see how best to alleviate the symptoms and treat your chafing quickly and comfortably.
Best clothing to prevent chafing
Clothing makes a huge difference in prevention of chafing.
First and foremost, you must ditch the long-sleeve cotton shirts. Cotton, although soft and comfortable, is one of the worst fabrics for long-distance cycling or running – whether you do this outside or on an exercise bike. When it gets wet, it clings to your skin and rubs it raw after a prolonged period of time.
Best alternative to cotton shirts for Running:
Polyester: Cheap and effective
There are plenty of alternatives; one of them is polyester. Polyester will dry quickly, but on its own its not particularly comfortable.
Technical T-Shirts – the choice to prevent Chafing
When you combine the simplicity of polyester with other materials you can open a huge world of comfort, soft and well fitting clothes. Our choice are technical t-shirts made from a mix of lycra and polyester.
The advantage of materials such as Lycra, which wick away sweat and dry much faster although they do retain a bit of water. They also make clothes stretchy and will contour to fit your body shape.
Watch out for T-Shirt Logos!
The nipple region is especially sensitive for men; and under the breast for women. If you’ve ever exercised for a long time and taken a shower afterward, then the results of chafing probably hit you like a painful slap – there are actually micro-tears all along your skin, and the water irritates them.
The most common cause of “Runners Nipple” are logos on the chests of t-shirts. when you choose a T-shirt for running check that there is no logo in the area of your nipple. this simple tip will remove half of male runners nipple problems.
Prevent chafing between the legs
For your lower extremities, it makes more sense to wear longer shorts than normal, so that the bottom of the shorts extends beyond your knees and doesn’t creep up constantly while you’re biking. For extra protection, consider investing in some compression shorts to keep any inter-thigh friction to a minimum – in fact, you’ve surely seen professional cyclists wearing these kinds of shorts, so you know they are effective.
In fact, super-producers such as Nike and Lululemon make specialized compression clothing that preferentially wicks away sweat from the noted problem areas for chafing – in both men and women. It might be worth it to you to invest in a few of these to wave your days of chafing away forever.
NIKE Men's Pro Shorts, Black/Dark Grey/White, Medium Review Summary:
- Dri-FIT Technology helps you stay dry and comfortable
- Mesh gusset adds ventilated support for cool comfort
- 6-inch inseam for locked-down coverage under your uniform
- Compressive fit provides support
- Elastic waistband stretches for comfort
Oil and Talcum Powder to prevent chafing
Another option is the use of lubricants before and even during your workout. Talcum powder has the same effect as when weightlifters and gym – it absorbs moisture, which will reduce the skin-to-fabric irritation that rubs the epidermis raw. Lubrication is even better, as it allows the fabric to slide to-and-fro without the ravishing effects of friction. There are several good brands to look for on store shelves, and this will save you a lot of unnecessary pain if you use it before and during your workout session.
Alternatives to Talc to prevent chafing:
Some people have issues with talcum powder; the good thing is that alternatives such as cornstarch exist. Manufacturer Jack Black produces a friction-free cornstarch application that scoops up moisture all through a long workout. It is a truly robust solution, as it also has organic compounds that soothe irritation and assuages inflammation of the skin.
Jack Black Dry Down Friction-Free Powder, 6 oz. Review Summary:
- Ultra-fine, talc-free formula quickly absorbs moisture to offer exceptional protection from friction and irritation, for refreshing comfort in the most demanding environments
- Pure Cornstarch, Certified Organic Green Tea and Lavender soothe and refresh skin
- Pure Cornstarch offers exceptional moisture absorption and helps prevent friction for maximum comfort
- Organic Green Tea is a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties
- Dry Down Friction-Free Powder is also great for using in shoes and as a dry shampoo
Old-fashioned Vaseline is all you really need, in case you don’t want to go shopping for upper-tier lubricants. Whichever one you choose, just remember – once the chafe sets in, you’re in for a long week of irritation since your thighs and other parts will rub against each other in the days to come.
Don’t let chafing interfere with your fitness goals this year; it’s all in the preparation. Get out your exercise bike, and start shaping your way to the body you want in just a few months of dedicated, scheduled work.
So that’s it:prevent your chafing in just three simple steps:
- Stay dry.
- Dress right.