What is it? Who has it? How can I prevent it?

Chafing is a skin irritation caused by friction that happens when rubbing skin on skin or skin on fabric. Factors such as humidity and sweat increase this friction. Chafing can also be caused by wearing tight, restrictive clothing in the heat.

chafing - understance

Dispelling Misconceptions:

  • “Only thighs chafe!”
    • Chafing can occur on many parts of the body, most commonly but not limited to the thigh, breast, foot, and groin areas.
  • “Weight = Chafing”
    • There is a misconception that only weight impacts chafing. Yet, this skin irritation is common and happens to people of all sizes. Body shape, pelvic alignment, and movement type can all contribute to chafing.

If you have experienced chafing, you’ve likely felt the pain that comes with it and have endured the long healing process. With continued rubbing and chafing, you may even develop dark, discoloured spots, especially on sensitive skin like the inner thigh. So, how can we stop chafing, help the healing process, and get back to enjoying our summers?


1: Use a barrier  

The best way to prevent irritation is to use a barrier to protect the affected area. For example, decreasing the friction between thighs stops chafing before it has a chance to start. We recommend ourSoft Contour High-Rise Bike Shorts  for this purpose. While acting as a barrier, these undershorts are also light and breathable, adding no unnecessary heat. 

bike shorts - understance

Many people also struggle with chafing in their underarm area, which is why choosing the right bra is important. We make sure to use natural fiber stitching and velvet-like elastic on our bra wings to help combat irritation. Some of our bras even feature entirely mesh paneling — talk about breathability! Finally, we suggest learning your root shape and choosing a compatible underwire shape to protect against digging or poking that may cause friction. A bra should be comfortable, even when it’s warm out.

chafing - understance

2: Space out

Another way to prevent skin from rubbing is to add space in sensitive areas. For instance, we recommend trying a bra that creates separation between your breasts if you experience cleavage chafe. Our firmest bra, Quinn, provides great separation and lift while remaining light-as-air. Alternatively, Cate has a non-stretch mesh panel that separates your breasts without an underwire!

3: Stay hydrated!  

One of the many benefits of proper hydration is that it helps regulate your body temperature. Make sure you are drinking enough water to meet the recommended daily amount! Staying hydrated will lessen excess sweat and heat that contribute to the friction behind chafing. 

4: Cleanse gently

While cleansing won’t stop chafing, it will lessen its impact. A build-up of bacteria can damage your skin’s barrier and create deeper wounds if any friction occurs. Exfoliating can be too harsh for these irritated areas and may increase bacteria production. We recommend sticking to a gentle cleansing routine with soap and water instead of physical exfoliants. Keeping your body clean will help protect it from additional pain!

5: Soothe with Aloe

Already irritated? You can apply some aloe vera for immediate relief and a cooling sensation.

chafing - understance

6: Brighten up!

Not emotionally, of course! We mean using skincare with brightening ingredients like Vitamin C or Niacinamide to help the discolouration that can be created after extended periods of chafing. Another great ingredient is Vitamin E as it can help reduce the appearance of scars and hyperpigmentation. Be sure to only apply these active products once the skin is no longer raw and has healed completely.

Looking for something more accessible? Brightening masks with honey, lemon or turmeric can be made at home to help heal these dark spots.

We hope that with these tips and recommendations you’ll be able to be chafe-free this summer!