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Chafing

Definition

Chafing is skin irritation that occurs where skin rubs against skin, clothing, or other material.

Alternative Names

Skin irritation from rubbing

Information

When skin becomes irritated because of something rubbing, there are several things you can try, including:

  • Avoid coarse clothing. Wearing 100% cotton fabric against your skin may help.
  • Eliminate friction against your skin by using appropriate clothing for the activity you are involved in (for example, athletic tights or cycling shorts).
  • Avoid activity that is causing chafing unless it is part of your typical lifestyle, exercise routine, sporting, or other activity.
  • Wear clean and dry clothing. Dried sweat, chemicals, dirt, and other debris may actually be causing the irritation.
  • Temporarily use petroleum jelly or baby powder on chafed areas of your skin. You can also use these agents before activity to prevent chafing in easily irritated areas -- for example, your inner thighs or upper arms while running.

References

Cole MB, Smith ML. Environmental and sports-related skin diseases. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 88.


Review Date: 8/11/2013
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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