Check Up: Having a problem with chafing

February 21, 2018
Painful shoes

Aileen asks how to deal with her leg chafe. She has gained weight and now her legs rub each other until the insides near the crotch are darkened and have a rash.

It pains her to walk at times, but wearing tights has helped a bit.

Chafe is a really common occurrence among people who are inclined to be chubby or outright fat. It tends to be even worse during hot times when the inner thighs repeatedly rub against each other.

Sometimes rashes and blisters occur and it can become painful to walk! Also, if the area is not treated it can become infected. It is preventable! Chafing doesn't only occur between the thighs, another common area for women is under the breasts where the breasts are 'sizable' and tend to hang down. It can also occur at the bra line when the bra is tight. Chafe tends to affect moist areas where there is both friction and sweat. As sweat dries it crystallises, and the salt crystals cause further damage and pain as it gets rubbed into the already abraded area.


You are at risk from chafe if:


- Your clothing has bad seams or is worn-out in areas.

- If you have sensitive skin.

- If you sweat a lot of salt.

- If you are physically active for a prolonged time in wet or humid conditions.

- If you are obese.

Prevent chafing by lubricating the troubled area with powder or aloe vera gel, or even Vaseline. Help the thighs to slide past each other without creating friction. Also stay well hydrated and keep dry. Change off moist damp clothing, especially shorts and underwear.

Avoid using soap on the chafed area but wash with warm water. Dry the area thoroughly and apply a topical cream or antibiotic ointment if the area looks a bit infected.

Reduce your physical activities and stay dry and cool until the chafe heals. Practise the following:

- Wear loose cotton pajamas at night or short gowns to allow natural circulation between the legs.

- Keep cool. Avoid the midday sun.

- If sweating excessively, take a cool bath.

- Use baking soda in a paste with water on the rash between the legs.

- Use talcum powder between the legs to absorb excess sweat.

- Apply antiperspirant deodorant, where possible, to prevent excess sweating.

- Sit in an air-conditioned room.

- Use aloe vera gel as a cool compress.

- See a doctor if the rash between the legs doesn't settle.

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