When your skin repeatedly rubs against other skin or clothing, it may become red, irritated and downright painful.
Known as chafing, this uncomfortable condition gets worse with constant sweating and excess body weight. The friction increases with excessive pressure, heat, humidity, excessive dryness and cold.
While chafing may occur anywhere on the body, the thighs, nipples, underarms, groin and neck are more susceptible to it. This problem is more common in people who are exercise enthusiasts, overweight and those who have sensitive skin.
The red marks or sore patches, rashes, pain and burning sensations are the main symptoms of chafing and will worsen if not treated timely. Also, the affected area stings when it comes in contact with water.
Though it is not dangerous at all, chafing is very unpleasant and can even lead to broken skin, which increases the risk of infection and other complications.
To ease the pain and burning associated with chafed skin, you can use some simple home remedies. Also, you need to determine the cause of the friction and stop it from occurring so the chafed skin can heal.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for chafing.
1. Cold Compress
You can treat your chafed skin by applying cold compresses over the affected area as soon as possible. It will reduce redness and relieve irritation.
- Wrap some ice cubes in a thin towel.
- Place it on the affected area for 5 minutes.
- Take a break and reapply.
- Repeat a few times daily for a few days.
You can even wash the affected area with cold water.
Note: Do not put ice directly on your skin.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera helps calm irritated skin to a great extent.
The glycoprotein in it helps reduce pain and inflammation, while the polysaccharides stimulate skin cell repair. It also speeds up the healing process and reduces the risk of infection.
- Slit an aloe vera leaf and scoop out the gel. Apply it directly on the affected skin, 2 or 3 times daily. If you don’t have an aloe plant, you can purchase 100 percent aloe vera gel from any pharmacy.
- Alternatively, mix together ¼ cup of aloe vera juice, 1 cup of brewed green tea and 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Transfer into a spray bottle and spray it on your chafed skin twice daily.
Oatmeal is full of medicinal properties. It can cleanse, moisturize and help soothe chafed skin.
A 2007 study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology suggests that oatmeal acts as an excellent anti-inflammatory agent to help soothe and protect the skin.
- Mix 1 to 2 cups of oatmeal powder in a bathtub filled with lukewarm water.
- Soak in it for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Rinse off your body with lukewarm water.
- Pat dry your skin with a soft towel.
- Use this remedy at least once daily.
Note: Do not scrub or rub the affected skin.
4. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a very powerful moisturizer, hence it can be used to treat chafed skin. Plus, it facilitates the healing process due to its rich vitamin E and antioxidant content.
After taking a bath, put a few drops of olive oil in your palm. Apply it directly on the affected skin. Reapply the oil a few more times throughout the day.
You can also use coconut oil or vitamin E oil to treat chafing.
5. Baking Soda
Baking soda helps reduce itching and pain associated with chafed skin. Its healing properties can help treat chafing quickly and even reduce the risk of infection.
- Mix one part baking soda and three parts water. You can also add a few drops of lavender oil.
- Apply the mixture on the affected area and wait 5 minutes before rinsing it off with cool water.
- Repeat once daily for a few days.
Note: Do not leave baking soda on your skin for too long, as it may cause further irritation.
Turmeric is rich in curcumin, believed to possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can protect your chafed skin from infections and reduce healing time. Furthermore, it reduces the risk of scarring.
A 2007 study published in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology suggests that curcumin works as a potent nontoxic agent for treating skin diseases. It protects skin by eliminating free radicals and reducing inflammation through nuclear factor-KB process.
- Make a paste by mixing 3 teaspoons of turmeric powder with enough water (about 2 tablespoons).
- Apply the paste on the affected area.
- Cover the area with a soft cloth and let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing it off.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times a day.
7. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an effective topical treatment for skin irritations, including chafing. It may offer protection against infections due to its antimicrobial properties.
- Dip a clean cotton ball in water. Sprinkle a few drops of tea tree oil on it. Press the cotton ball gently against the affected skin. Do this twice daily until your skin heals.
- Alternatively, add a few drops of tea tree oil to any unscented moisturizer. Apply it on the affected area.
Note: Do not apply undiluted tea tree oil directly on your skin, as it may cause skin irritation.
Calendula is found to be a safe and effective remedy for chafing, as well as diaper rash and skin inflammation. Being rich in flavonoids, calendula protects the skin from damage caused by free radicals. It even speeds up the healing process.
- Apply a few drops of calendula oil directly on the affected area, 2 or 3 times daily.
- Alternatively, boil 1/3 cup each of dried calendula flowers, green tea and dried chamomile in 8 cups of water. Allow it to cool, strain and add it to a lukewarm bath. Soak in it for 20 minutes, then pat dry your skin. Enjoy this healing bath once daily for a few days.
Excessive sweating can make chafing worse because sweat contains minerals that can further irritate the skin. Cornstarch absorbs moisture, so it will help keep your skin dry and reduce friction.
- Clean the affected skin with a mild antiseptic soap and lukewarm water.
- Thoroughly pat dry the area with a soft towel.
- Lightly dust cornstarch over it.
- Reapply 2 or 3 times daily.
Note: Do not apply cornstarch on moist skin, as it will increase the risk of fungal infections.
10. Indian Lilac
Due to its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties, Indian lilac (also known as neem or margosa) is highly effective in treating chafing.
- Simmer a handful of neem leaves in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Strain the solution and allow it to cool. Use it to wash the affected area, a couple of times daily for a few days.
- You can also apply neem oil, cream or lotion on the affected area a few times daily.
- Find out what is causing the chafing and adjust as needed to prevent it from recurring..
- Apply calamine lotion on the affected area to provide soothing relief from itching and speed up the healing process.
- When exercising, wear properly fitting clothes made with synthetic fibers. It will help reduce perspiration and dry faster than natural materials. Use compression shorts, spandex cycling shorts and athletic tights that stretch and cause no friction.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes. Belts, tight underwear and clothes can cause you to sweat, which can worsen your chafed skin.
- Use an unscented baby powder to keep your skin dry.
- Obesity can lead to chafed thighs. Eat a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole-wheat grains. Exercising regularly may help prevent excessive weight gain and aid weight loss.
- Incorporate more foods rich in vitamins A and C, zinc and beta-carotene into your diet.
- Drink enough water to stay hydrated and eliminate dryness that can lead to chafing.