How to Get Rid of Chafing Naturally

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

There is a myriad of skin problems one can suffer from. Some may be caused by an allergic reaction to something, while others may be genetic or hereditary. Some problems could last for only a few days, while others might last for a long time. Here are some of the chronic skin problems affecting millions of people around the world today:

  • Psoriasis – it is a common disorder that creates thick red patches of skin. Other types of psoriasis show up as small red spots on the scalp, face, torso and limbs. Erythrodermic psoriasis look like severe burns and may cover large portions of the body.
  • Acne – it is usually seen on the face and look like small red bumps due to infected hair follicles. Sometimes, it can be pimples with pus at the tips, or solid lumps that are painful when touched.
  • Cold sore – it appears as red blisters that are filled with fluid near the mouth. You might feel a bit of burning sensation on your lips before the sore is visible. The blisters could be painful to the touch, too.
  • Eczema – the term is generally used to identify any superficial inflammation on the skin, which is usually marked by itching, redness, oozing, crusting, weeping and scaling. Eczema is more common in places with dry climates.
  • Rosacea – this condition is characterized by small, red, liquid-filled bumps on the skin. It typically affects the skin on your nose, forehead and cheeks. And it usually occurs during flare-ups.
  • Hives – also known as urticarial, these are itchy, red welts found on the skin. They are usually raised and painful. They are often caused by an allergic reaction to food or medication. Most hives are acute, which may be treated by allergy medications. But there are cases where this condition is accompanied by a severe allergic reaction.
  • Vitiligo – people with this condition lose the pigment of their skin, which is replaced by white patches. These can occur on a small area of the body. But they can also cover 50 percent of the body, especially the face, feet, hands and arms.
  • Warts – these are raised bumps on the skin brought about by human papillomavirus (HPV). Although they are usually not dangerous, they can be painful and contagious. Warts commonly grow on your fingers and toes, face, arms, thighs, mouth, nose, neck, under your chin and even genitalia.
  • Carbuncle – it is a skin infection that occurs deep within and usually affect the hair follicles. It is often referred to as staph skin infection, which can cause scars and infect other parts of your body, as well as other people. A carbuncle is often characterized by a red, irritated lump, which is painful to the touch. Other symptoms include itching, fatigue, fever, skin oozing and body pains.
  • Candidiasis of the skin – this is caused by an overgrowth of the candida fungus on the skin. It appears as red, itchy rashes usually in the folds of the skin. It could affect other areas of the body, and symptoms may be irritating, such as intense itching and sores.
  • Shingles – this condition occurs when the dormant chickenpox virus is reactivated in your nerve tissues. Some of its early signs include localized pain, blistering rash, burning sensation, fever and blotchy patches on nerve pathways.
  • Dermatomyositis – it’s a rare inflammatory disease that appears as a skin rash. Other common symptoms include muscle weakness or inflamed muscles, which is caused by an autoimmune disease or viral infection. It is most common in adults between 40 and 60 years old, and affects more women than men.
  • Ichthyosis vulgaris – also known as the fish scale disease, it occurs when the skin doesn’t shed dead skin cells. Once the dead skin accumulates on your skin, it creates a fish scales pattern, thus the name. Most of the cases happen in specific areas of the body. But there are instances where this condition covers a large part of your body, including back, abdomen, legs and arms.
  • Chafing – this skin problem occurs after constant rubbing of the skin against your own skin or clothing. As a result, you get red sore patches on affected parts of your body, especially the inner thighs, underarms, the part of your upper body where your bra is, etc. This could cause doing everyday activities bothersome and painful.

When it comes to skin problems, one of the most annoying and easiest to treat is chafing. Read on to know more about this condition and to learn how to treat it naturally.

Chafing: What is it?

This abrasive skin condition is typically caused by prolonged friction between skin surfaces, as well as sweating and rubbing. People who are overweight and those who are always sweating it out at the gym often suffer from chafing. In other words, this skin problem is more common in people who experience prolonged or severe rubbing of skin against one’s own skin or irritants, like clothing or other materials.

Signs and symptoms

You’ll know you’re experiencing chafing when you feel a burning sensation on the affected area of your skin, especially when it gets wet. Aside from that, chafed skin may exhibit redness and swelling. You may also experience stinging, itching and excessive irritation, causing the skin to become extremely tender. Rashes could also be seen on the chafed areas.

If left untreated, chafed skin could start to bleed and become painful. It could also lead to blisters, rashes that are filled with pus, skin ulcers and formation of crusts.

Causes

Although rubbing of skin against skin or clothes leads to chafing, there are several factors that make this condition more likely. These include:

  • Accumulation of fats, causing folds to develop and resulting in constant rubbing against skin, especially in the groin and underarm area.
  • Excessive sweating due to physical activities, which could result in inflammation and rashes in certain areas, increasing the risk for chafing.
  • Specific exercise routines that requires you to get into positions that make your skin rub frequently against other body parts or clothing.
  • Synthetic clothing materials that irritate the skin. Also, clothes and shoes that are too tight may cause friction every time you move.
  • Heat can contribute to the possibility of chafing. When it’s too hot, your skin becomes dry or you sweat too much, increasing your susceptibility to experience chub rub.
  • Accidents that cause you to rub against highly abrasive surfaces, such as gravel, concrete, asphalt, etc.

Areas affected most

The most sweaty body parts are particularly prone to chafing. These include groins, thighs, underarms, as well as under the breasts and even the nipples (due to tight clothing). If you are overweight and have developed skin folds in your body, these may also be susceptible to chafing. Your feet could also suffer from rubbing, especially if you’re wearing tight shoes.

Chafing: How to treat it naturally?

Chafing

This is done as a first aid to chafed skin to minimize redness, relieve irritation and soothe the affected area. The first thing you need to do is take a thin towel made of cotton and wrap some ice cubes in it. Place it over the chafed area for five minutes. Avoid rubbing the skin to prevent the problem from getting worse. Repeat this several times a day, depending on how bad the chafing is.

  • Neem

This plant has always been used as an Ayurvedic remedy for skin problems. It is especially used to treat eczema, irritation, dry sin and psoriasis. To use this herb, take a half measure of neem paste and mix it with equal part rose water. Combine well and gently massage on the affected area. Leave it on for half an hour or until it dries. Rinse with cold water. Do this again every day until the chafing is gone.

  • Aloe vera

One of most popular herbs used to cure all sorts of skin problems, including chub rub. The first thing you need to do is to grind aloe vera leaves. Then, apply on the chafed skin directly.

Alternatively, you can use aloe juice and mix it with one cup green tea and four spoons lavender essential oil. Mix everything well and apply on affected area carefully.

  • Oatmeal

Oatmeal has lots of medicinal problems. It can help soothe chafing, as well as cleanse and moisturize the skin. In fact, a study published in 2007 found that it is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent that soothes and protects the skin.

To use oatmeal to naturally treat chafing, mix one to cups oatmeal powder in a bathtub filled with lukewarm water. Soak your whole body in it for about 20 to 30 minutes. Then, wash your body with lukewarm water. Repeat this procedure at least once a day until the chafing is gone.

  • Baking soda

Baking soda helps soothe the pain and itching associated with chafing. It has healing properties that can treat this skin problem and prevent infection.

Mix one part baking soda and three parts water. You may use a few drops of lavender oil, too. Combine everything well and apply on the affected area. Wait for at least five minutes before rinsing it off with cold water. Repeat these steps at least once a day until the chafed skin has completely healed.

  • Olive oil

This essential oil has powerful moisturizing agents that can help treat chafed skin. It’s also rich in vitamin E and antioxidant contents, which help speed up the healing process.

After taking a shower or bath, put a few drops of olive oil in your palm. Apply it on the affected area directly. Do this several times a day for a few days or until it is healed.

  • Honey

Honey has always been used as a natural remedy for many conditions. For one, it can work wonders for skin rash caused by chafing. But don’t apply honey directly on the chafed body part. You will need to dilute it with lukewarm water first. Use a cotton ball or clean cloth to apply the solution on the affected skin.

  • Calendula oil

This natural plant extract has anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties that can effectively heal chafed skin. Apply directly to the affected portion of your body. Do this at least once a day until the problem is completely gone.

  • Turmeric

Although turmeric is more popularly used as a spice, it has also been considered a wonderful natural remedy for treating skin disorders. It has an active ingredient called curcumin, which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also believed to reduce the time it takes for wounds to heal.

To use turmeric to treat chafing, mix one teaspoon of water and three teaspoons turmeric powder. Combine well until you get a paste. Apply the mixture on the affected area. Cover it with a light cloth and let it sit for 30 minutes.

  • Tea tree oil

This plant extract can protect against infection and speed up the healing process. To use it to treat chafing naturally, dip a clean cotton ball into water and then add a few drops of tea tree oil to it. Gently press the cotton ball onto the affected area. Repeat this several times a day until the chafing has reduced.

  • Chamomile tea

Chamomile has been used traditionally to cure rashes. To treat chafed skin with chamomile tea, soak a piece of clean cloth in it. Use it as a compress and apply on the affected area directly. Do this for five to seven minutes.

  • Peppermint leaves

Peppermint leaves are a natural remedy for soothing itching in chafed skin. Take out a clean cloth and spread crushed peppermint leaves on it. Then, soak it in cold water and apply on the chafed skin. This should soothe the inflamed area immediately.

  • Basil leaves

Basil leaves are rich in thymol, an oil substance that helps reduce rashes.

First, you will need to grind basil leaves. Second, mix it with glycerin or rosewater or lavender oil to make a paste. Lastly, apply on the skin.

  • Almond oil

This plant extract is one of the best natural remedies for treating diaper rash. Apply almond oil directly on the chafed portion. Rub thoroughly and let sit overnight.

  • Castor oil

It has powerful healing properties for all kinds of skin and hair problems. Use castor oil on chafed skin regularly to reduce rashes more quickly.

  • Cornstarch

Cornstarch absorbs moisture, which causes chafing as sweat contains minerals that irritate the skin. By using cornstarch, it will reduce friction, thus getting rid of chafing.

To use cornstarch, clean the affected portion of your skin with a mild antiseptic soap and lukewarm water. Pat dry the chafed skin with a soft towel. Then, dust cornstarch over it. Do this two to three times a day.

Other things to do to treat or prevent chafing

treat or prevent chafing

  • Determine what the real cause of chafing is. If it’s your clothes, avoid using them for the meantime, or until the chafed skin has healed.
  • Use calamine lotion to soothe itching and let it heal faster.
  • Avoid wearing overly tight clothing, especially when exercising or doing physical activities. You can opt for spandex cycling shorts, athletic tights and compression shorts.
  • If you’re going to use talcum powder to keep your skin dry, be sure to use an unscented kind to avoid irritation.
  • Eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and whole-wheat grains to prevent excessive weight gain and obesity, which can lead to chafed thighs. Also, add more foods rich in vitamins A and C, as well as zinc and beta carotene.
  • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Give your skin some time to heal before engaging in physical activities again. Continued friction can make the problem worse and lead to an infection.
  • Use proper-fitting shoes. Also, opt for those that are made of genuine leather or of a breathable material to avoid over-sweating and friction.
  • Wear socks to protect your skin from rubbing against the inside of your shoes. Acrylic socks are proven to be more effective in protecting against chafing and blisters than cotton socks.
  • Wash the chafed area properly and pat dry before applying any treatment. This is to ensure that it is free from disease-causing germs.
  • If you are to engage in physical activities, choose a time that is not too hot to avoid irritating your skin. This can be early in the morning or late in the evening.
  • Apply petroleum jelly or Vaseline on areas that are prone to chafing. This lubricates the skin, preventing friction that can cause chafing and irritation.
  • Reduce friction by wearing clothing items that protect your skin. For example, you can wear tights under a skirt or dress to prevent your thighs from rubbing against each other. Moisture-wicking fabrics are also best when exercising or keeping yourself active.
  • Avoid soaps that are too harsh as these will only make the problem worse. If you don’t know which soap to use, consult a dermatologist to ensure that you do not cause further irritation.
  • Always use a soft, clean towel to dry the affected area. Be sure to gently pat dry your skin to prevent the soreness from getting worse.

Just like any other condition, if symptoms persist after administering first aid or home remedies, be sure to see your doctor immediately.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.