Let’s talk about chafing, shall we?
More like EW. And ouch!
But it’s a real issue for runners- male, female, fast, slow, big, small. Chafing can affect us all!
Chafing does not discriminate.
Let’s start with the WHY.
Why does chafing happen? Basically its caused by repeated motion- that motion being skin rubbing against skin or skin rubbing against fabric. It can happen in all kinds of places…including some unmentionable places that I’ll just go ahead and skip on the blog here.
Personally, the most common place that I get it is on the bra line and the under arm. In fact, I feel like I’m on a continuous quest to find the perfect sports bra that never chafes. Though I feel like I have come THISCLOSE to perfection (for me) with the Moving Comfort Serena bra and the lululemon Bitty Bracer, I still encounter occasional issues.
While we’re on the topic, don’t forget that the elastic in your sports bras wears out too. Did you know that your sports bras are not supposed to celebrate a birthday- i.e. you should be replacing them every year! All kinds of Fit Tips today! I am also always on the look out for tanks that don’t cause underarm chafing- whenever I find one that works, I snatch it up in other colors so I have plenty to rotate in.
Back to chafing- So, other than the bra line and the underarm, its also common to get it on the inner thighs. Then of course for men, it can happen on the nipples. Moisture, either from sweat or rain, can worsen chafing. This is why its usually worse on a very hot or rainy run.
So, how do you prevent it?
- Stay dry…as much as you can!
- Stay hydrated! As you run, your body expels salts through your sweat. Salt exacerbates chafing. It dries and then basically acts a layer of sandpaper between your skin and clothes.
- Before you head out for a run spread BodyGlide or Vaseline on vulnerable areas.
- Bonus Tip: You could carry a sample-sized container with you on long runs to reapply if necessary.
What to Wear to Prevent Chafing:
- Wear running attire made of synthetic materials that wick moisture away (Do not wear cotton!)
- Select gear (particularly bras) that are seamless.
- Less is more when it comes to dressing for exercise. I would never tell you this when it comes to fashion, but when it comes to chafe-prevention, it’s true. Less is more.
- If you wear panties during your run (New post idea- Fitting Debate: should you wear panties with your running gear?) you may want to invest in some quality running specific ones.
Oiselle has these fun “rundies” that I am a fan of. Patagonia and lululemon also make running specific panties.
How to treat chafing after the damage has been done…
Trust me, you’ll know if the damage has been done the minute you hop into the shower. Uff da! If you know before hopping in the shower, you should coat the affected area with Aquaphor so it doesn’t sting as badly in the shower. I have also heard that diaper rash ointment will help with recovery and pain relief. You can apply a medicated powder like Goldbond’s on it as well.
“Nip” chafing in the bud…
Men, for the nipples, I had to outsource a bit.
- One guy told me the key is to go shirtless.
- If that’s not an option, band-aids!
- You can also try a Dr. Scholl’s product called “Corn Cushions,” which offer good protection from friction and peel off easily after your run.
For super serious chafing, you can also try…
These products are also anti-microbial and anti-fungal.
There you go- Fit Tip Friday- all you ever wanted to know (and more)-about chafing!
There is a product called Nip Guards that has worked really well for me. They are sticky (but not too sticky), and smaller than a bandaid. You can get them affordably on Amazon. Nice post today!
Thanks for reading and commenting Eric! Great tip on the Nip Guards. You’re right, they are super affordable ($13/for 10 pair on Amazon!)
Yikes… I definitely have sports bras that are waaaaaaaaaay older than one year! I can think of two that are still in my drawer that I bought when I still lived in Iowa, which makes them at least 7 years old. However, I don’t seem to have issues with chafing. Maybe I would if I ran longer distances…? Either way, I enjoyed your post and appreciate how you took what could be an uncomfortable issue to talk about and made it funny and educational to read about! Thanks again!
Thanks for reading Katie- I have received feedback that this probably was a little graphic, but I tried to keep it light! It is a real issue for a lot of runners, no matter the distance. You’re very lucky that you haven’t experienced it! I will be honest that I do not replace my sports bra after a year either…that’s just what they “recommend” but if they’re still getting the job done, it’s not necessary.
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