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9 Tips for Dealing With and Preventing Chafing

Chafing can be a runner’s worst enemy!

When you’re trying to run long distances — 5K, 10K, half-marathon, Ironman, or triathlon — chafing can stop you in your tracks far faster than exhaustion or thirst. That irritating, painful rubbing of your skin can get so bad it will mess up your concentration and cause you to quit your run.

Don’t let that be you! Here are some tips to help you prevent and deal with chafing before, during, and after your run.

Chafing Prevention Tips

Powder Up

A sprinkling of baby powder on your thighs can help to absorb excess moisture and stop those sweat salt crystals from rubbing your skin raw. If you’re running long distances, powder up beforehand — and keep a small container handy to apply throughout.

Wear the Right Clothes

Avoid cotton at all costs — the fabric absorbs water and gets very saggy, bunched up, and sweaty. Use synthetic fibers that wick moisture (and salt crystals) away from your skin, as well as quick-drying fabrics that will encourage sweat to evaporate quickly. The right clothing can make a world of difference!

Lube It

If you’re running long distances, consider applying a small dollop of lubricant (Vaseline, for example) on the skin most likely to chafe (inner thighs, primarily). Your skin will be far less likely to rub, pull, and grind if you’re lubed up.

Try a Bandage

There’s a reason marathon runners wear bandages (or medical tape) over their nipples: to prevent chafing! Your feet and nipples are the two most common places to expect to chafe, so consider using a bandage or medical tape to cover those trouble spots.

Know the Weather

Keep an eye on the forecast so you know what sort of heat and humidity to expect. If possible, try to run in the cooler parts of the day — less sun and heat = less sweat = less risk of chafing.

Tips for Dealing with Chafing

Change Immediately

The longer you walk around in those sweat-soaked clothes, the higher the chance of chafing. Get out of the clothes as soon as possible and into something dry, clean, and very soft.

Wash Thoroughly

Once the run is done, wash thoroughly to get any salt crystals off your skin. Avoid strong soaps, which could irritate the sensitive skin. Dry thoroughly, but pat your skin dry with a towel rather than rubbing it.

Soothe the Burn

Use aloe vera gel, Vitamin E, or coconut oil to soothe the pain in your chafed skin. Aloe vera is the most effective option, thanks to its ability to reduce irritation and calm the discomfort.

Protect the Area

Your skin is going to be tender for a few hours, possibly even a day or two. Use well-fitting clothing with soft, elastic fabrics (like Spandex) to protect the chafed area. Prevent any further rubbing and irritation as the skin heals.

Follow these tips to prevent and treat chafing like a boss!

[Image via Shutterstock]

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