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Understanding And Preventing Chafing, A Common Yet Unspoken Skin Issue Among Women

Chafing is a result of increased friction from skin-on-skin or skin-on-fabric contact. This becomes worse during summer as the skin traps more moisture due to excessive sweating.

Today, on the occasion of International Women's Day, we take a look at a common, painful and, yet, mostly ignored skin problem that can make life difficult for all women.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : March 9, 2022 11:28 AM IST

When we say skin care, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is facial skin and associated problems like allergies, acne and sunburns. Unfortunately, skin irritation and chafing in armpits, breasts, groin, buttocks and other intimate areas are never paid enough attention. Most women put up with the discomfort and go about their daily life without realizing there are effective measures to prevent and reduce skin irritation.

Chafing is a result of increased friction from skin-on-skin or skin-on-fabric contact. This becomes worse during summer as the skin traps more moisture due to excessive sweating and wet skin is always more susceptible to chafing. Blister-like boils, a burning sensation or redness are all symptoms of chafing that all women need to look out for. With the onset of summer, your skin is likely to experience more skin irritation and it becomes all the more essential to have a healthy skin care routine during warm weather. This article will shed light on a few common causes of chafing in women so you can take a proactive approach to prevent such skin issues from aggravating into more serious conditions.

Ill-fitting lingerie can cause chafing

Wearing an ill-fitting bra and underwear is one of the most important reasons for under-bra and rashes in the rib area in women. Especially women who engage in intense workouts experience chafing more often due to the constant rubbing of skin on clothes. The lack of air circulation, humidity and sweat makes your skin a hotbed for bacterial and yeast infection. If left untreated, these rashes under bra and from bra straps can make it extremely uncomfortable for women to wear a bra or engage in workouts as usual. It is important to choose lingerie that fits well and allows your skin to breathe. Wearing cotton panties, well-fitted bras and changing right after a workout session could help prevent chafing.

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Chafing could also be a result of obesity

Obesity is also one of the reasons why women experience chafing in the inner thigh regions. This doesn't mean that thigh chafing affects only overweight women. The anatomy of the woman is responsible for inner thigh rashes. Women naturally have more fat around the thigh area compared to men. Plus, the extra weight and muscles from being obese could lead to thighs rubbing each other when walking. Shedding a few extra pounds could help decrease friction and resultant chafing to an extent. Note that excess and rapid loss of weight could lead to loose skin which further increases the risk of chafing.

Sanitary pads and chafing

The menstrual phase is an unpleasant experience for most women with bleeding, period cramps and the mood swings arising from fluctuating hormone levels. While a majority of women resort to sanitary pads during their menstrual days, they also suffer from sanitary pad rashes and skin irritation, which unfortunately remains a persistent problem in women. The quality of sanitary pads could be one of the reasons behind these rashes in intimate areas. The presence of chemicals in pads may irritate sensitive skin and cause intimate area rashes. Plus, there are several types of scented pads that unfortunately don't go well with certain skin types. The combination of moisture and heat contribute to painfully chafed skin. Use pads free of chemicals and change them at frequent intervals to avoid prolonged contact with moisture.

Chafing due to hair removal

Waxing and shaving are the go-to hair removal methods for most women. Yet again, skin irritation is an unavoidable side effect of waxing and razor burn. Both waxing and razor shaving around the bikini line and other sensitive areas of the body can lead to redness of skin and inflammation. If left unattended, hair follicles can become fully inflamed leading to itchy red and pink skin. The skin will eventually peel and blister if the condition is too severe.

Dealing with the problem

Women deal with a host of skin conditions with chafing clearly being one of the most common, painful and yet mostly ignored and unspoken of, among them all. While the causes of rub rashes and chafing discussed here will help you identify symptoms early on, it's possible to prevent chafing before they start bothering you. Barrier creams are an effective remedy to prevent chafing and maintain intimate hygiene. Use a barrier cream free of chemicals to ease bra-strap rashes, waistline rashes, groin rashes, inner-thigh rashes and sanitary pad rashes. Barrier creams fight friction by forming a protective layer around the skin and are proven to be effective against chafing-induced skin irritation. With the right skincare products to prevent chafing, intimate hygiene need not be so stressful for women!

(This article is Authored by Maharukh T Rustomjee, Managing Partner, Amaterasu Lifesciences LLP.)

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