After a tough run, gym workout or bike ride, nothing sounds as soothing as a long shower. And nothing ruins that hard-earned shower more than the feeling of hot water hitting chafed skin!
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Chafe happens when parts of your body rub together, leaving your skin sore and irritated. But chafe doesn't need to ruin your workout (or day-to-day activities). Today you can find plenty of products that combat friction and even help heal chafing.
Browse these five must-try anti-chafing products and learn how to find the best chafe-fighting balm, cream or spray for you.
1. Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm
With more than 18,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, Body Glide is one of the best-known chafe balm products out there. And for Brad Whitley, DPT, a Washington-based physical therapist and former NCAA long-distance runner, it's a must-wear.
You can put glide anywhere your skin chafes during exercise or as you move about your day. It works great in hot or humid weather and lasts through even super-long workouts, he says.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $8
2. Old Spice Below Deck Anti-Chafe Stick
Although Old Spice mostly advertises to men, their chafe treating stick is a gender neutral product that anyone can use, explains Whitley.
And no, it doesn't smell like Old Spice. This one is actually fragrance-free, which is a plus for anyone with sensitive skin.
Buy it: Walmart.com; Price: $2
3. SBR Skin Slick Continuous Spray Lubricant
Most anti-chafing products come as a cream or stick you apply to your skin, but this spray goes right on your clothes. Just spritz this clear, quick-drying lubricant on the inside (and seams!) of your clothes to provide extra friction protection.
Whitley recommends cyclists try this one to prevent irritation and blisters from friction caused by the bike seat.
Buy it: Walmart.com; Price: $16
4. Megababe Thigh Rescue Anti-Chafe Stick
This stick doesn't just prevent skin irritation, it soothes with aloe and vitamin E oil.
And unlike some other products on the market, this one doesn't leave any sticky residue, no matter where you use it, according to Whitley.
Buy it: Ulta.com; Price: $14
5. Blue Steel Sports Anti-Chafe Cream
Blue Steel Sport's cream is made specifically for those in endurance sports including swimming, cycling and running, Whitley says. It helps prevent chafing, skin rashes and bike saddle sores. This one is long-lasting, too, so it'll stay in place during a long training session (or if you move from water to land).
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $17.99
3 Tips to Find Your Perfect Anti-Chafing Product
1. Test It Before a Long Workout
The best anti-chafing products come in all kinds of forms, including sticks, balms, creams and sprays. Although they all essentially do the same thing, different forms work better for different people. Especially if you have sensitive skin, Whitley recommends testing a few different options before a long workout.
Try a balm while running a few quick errands or test a spray while cleaning the house. If a product doesn't prevent friction on your skin, then you won't have to suffer from a bad reaction or worse chafing.
2. Look Out for Oils
A lot of anti-chafe products are made with skin-soothing oils, like tea tree or aloe. For most people, that's a good thing, giving your skin extra relief while you move. But those who have sensitive skin may have unwanted reactions from oils and fragrances, Whitley says.
Avoid any oils or ingredients you know your skin doesn't like. If you're unsure, test a small area on your body with a little bit of product. If your skin gets more irritated or breaks out in a rash, stop using the product, clean the area and (if necessary) and talk with a dermatologist to find the best option for you.
3. Take Your Activities Into Account
Most creams and sticks work for all kinds of activities. But if you're a long-distance athlete or like to move from water to land during your workouts, look for a product that's long-lasting and water-resistant (kind of like sunscreen).
Also, think about what form of product you're most likely to feel comfortable using. Chafing creams work well but can be messy on-the-go. Sprays are convenient, but if you plan to reapply in a windy area, they can be tricky. So, try a few different options before committing.