The 10 Best Chafing Creams That Actually Work

What is chafing and what are its causes?

“Chafing is the term for irritant dermatitis that occurs on the skin after repeated friction. It tends to occur most commonly in the skin folds and mid-thigh, where friction, heat, and humidity combine to wreak havoc on your skin barrier,” says Maguness. Paik notes that tight or rough clothing can also lead to chafing.

How can people prevent chafing?

“To prevent chafing, it’s important to focus on optimizing your skin barrier in those areas. Using moisturizer in these locations right after you shower or shower can help lock in water and restore and strengthen the skin barrier in place,” says Maguness. “I would recommend a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer or ointment for these areas.” Maguiness and Paik also recommend choosing clothes that are weather-appropriate and avoiding fabrics that can cause additional friction.

What ingredients should you look for in an anti-cracking cream?

“Since the goal is to help moisturize the skin and reduce friction, you want something thick. My preference is to find ointments or balms for these areas. Maguiness says ingredients like lard, glycerin, coconut oil and sunflower oil are great for this purpose. She also recommends avoiding formulas with fragrances or oils, as these can worsen irritation.

If someone experiences chafing, how should they treat it?

“If the skin is red or itchy, an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can help,” says Paik. Maguiness also says applying “a simple lubricating ointment, such as Vaseline or Aquaphor” can help treat irritation. However, if you develop blisters, swelling, or crusting, see your doctor as these could be signs of a secondary infection.

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