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Chafing is skin irritation that occurs where skin rubs against skin, clothing, or other material.
- Alternative Names
Skin irritation from rubbing
When skin becomes irritated because of something rubbing, there are several things you can try, including:
- Avoid coarse clothing. Wear 100% cotton fabric against your skin.
- Eliminate friction against your skin by using appropriate clothing for the activity you are involved in (for example, athletic tights or cycling shorts).
- Avoid activity that is causing chafing unless it is part of your typical lifestyle, exercise routine, sporting, or other activity.
- Wear clean and dry clothing. Dried sweat, chemicals, dirt, and other debris may actually be causing the irritation.
- Temporarily use petroleum jelly or baby powder as a lubricant on chafed areas of your skin. You can also use these agents before activity to prevent chafing in easily irritated areas -- for example, your inner thighs or upper arms while running.
Mailler-Savage EA, Adams BB. Skin manifestations of running. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006;55:290-301.
Review Date: 8/8/2009
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.