“I honestly feel quite passionately about this topic,” Allyson Spungin, a certified personal trainer, nutrition coach and nationally qualified NPC competitor, says about thigh chafing.
Passionate feelings about thigh chafing? Yup! And Spungin isn’t alone: Style influencer and body acceptance advocate Katie Sturino is so passionate about thigh chafing that she created a product, Megababe Thigh Rescue, specifically designed to address this painful problem.
“I wanted something that felt celebratory and fun — there truly is nothing on the market like it,” she says. “There are other anti-chafing sticks, but they’re all formulated for men, for athletes. That’s the thread through our entire business, empowering women and destigmatizing things like sweat or chafing.”
But what is thigh chafing, exactly, and what is there to be done about it?
“Thigh chafing is essentially a type of irritant contact dermatitis that is exacerbated by moisture as well as skin-to-skin contact,” dermatologist Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky says. “Continuous rubbing in combination with moisture on the skin leads to small tears and shearing of the top layers of the skin, resulting in skin breakdown.”
Care Clark, a nurse and skin care specialist who offers tips on Instagram and TikTok, explains that chafing of the thighs is especially common because “the skin along the thighs is generally more thin and sensitive, so it is much more prone to irritation.”
Because thigh chafing is essentially a rash, there are a number of over-the-counter ointments and lotions that will help to reduce the redness and painful irritation.
Smile’s Drawing Salve
Casey Johnston, editorial director at Vice and author of the fitness advice column “Ask a Swole Woman,” recommends a product called Smile’s Drawing Salve to treat chafing, which she says “helps with the pain and isn’t sticky — though it can stain clothes and has a smell, so use it carefully.”
Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, 3-Pack & Neosporin Pain-Relieving Ointment
In a pinch, Johnston also uses Vaseline or Neosporin’s pain relief formula to treat chafe. Clark says to avoid “any scented lotions or balms that have added fragrance” when treating chafing too.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment & Desitin Diaper Rash Cream
Zubritsky, a dermatologist who also gives skin care advice on Instagram and TikTok, says, “I recommend zinc oxide or petroleum-based products to help heal the affected skin. I personally like Vaseline or Aquaphor or Desitin for a zinc product.”
She says to steer clear of DIY home remedies, “particularly food products, for addressing chafing. I especially do not recommend coconut oil or baking powder/soda.”
Wearing bike shorts under things like dresses and skirts where your thighs can rub together is an obvious way of preventing chafing, and Johnston has tips for finding the best type for you.
“If you’re not trying to hide them under a dress or something, it’s probably better to go on the long inseam side in order to stave off riding up,” she says. “Sometimes they’re in the activewear section, though you want to make sure they don’t have the built-in padding of actual bike shorts.”
Johnston specifically praises Lululemon and Aerie for offering inclusive, extended sizing, and these two below are her favorites. Check out more of our favorite bike shorts here.
Lululemon Align Short 8-Inch
We’ve gone long about how much we love Lululemon, and we’re no less passionate about these bike shorts. Buttery soft and the perfect length for wearing under skirts and dresses, these will easily prevent any chafing all day long, and don’t ride up.
Offline Real Me Crossover 7-Inch Bike Short
Another one of Johnston’s favorites, we dig the stylish waistband of these, and the muted colors. They’d look cute even when worn with just an oversized T-shirt.
Megababe Thigh Rescue
For her part, Sturino developed her thigh chafing balm to address a hole in the market that people had previously been filled with hacks of sorts, using everything from solid deodorant to personal lubricant to prevent the painful irritation.
“This is a product that people think that they can live without because they’ve been dealing with it on their own for so long,” she says. “They’re like, ‘Eh, I just do this, I just do that.’ And I’m like, no you don’t get it! It’s a game changer.”
We’ve tried the Thigh Rescue ourselves and can attest to its life-changing power to truly help you walk hours and hours without feeling like there’s sandpaper stuck between your thighs. Sure, sometimes you do have to reapply if it’s particularly hot and sticky outside, but it’s small enough to carry around in your bag too.
Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm
Johnston and Spungin, who
Struggle with chafing? These products are a game changer
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