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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 rubbing causes skin irritation, these tips may help:

  • Avoid coarse clothing. Wearing 100% cotton fabric against your skin may help.
  • Reduce friction against your skin by wearing the right kind of clothing for the activity you are doing (for example, athletic tights for running or cycling shorts for biking).
  • Avoid activities that cause chafing unless they are part of your typical lifestyle, exercise, or sports routine.
  • Wear clean and dry clothing. Dried sweat, chemicals, dirt, and other debris may cause irritation.
  • Use petroleum jelly or baby powder on chafed areas until the skin heals. You can also use these before activities to prevent chafing in easily irritated areas, for example, on your inner thighs or upper arms before 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: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 88.


Review Date: 8/14/2015
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, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, 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 physician 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. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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