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Health & Fitness

Keep your thighs chafe-free with these tips and tricks

No "chub rub" here!

Person rubbing cream on their thigh Credit: GettyImages / Drazen-Zigic

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Almost everyone has dealt with chafing at one time or another. And because in between the thighs is a common area for chafing, it’s cheekily called “chub rub.” When your thighs rub together for long periods of time, you can suffer extreme discomfort and skin irritation. This can happen if you’re going for a run, swimming, or even just taking a walk in thigh-exposing clothing. Here are some ways to prevent chafing before you wind up walking like a crab for days—including product solutions I’ve tested.

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1. Bike shorts

Two women wearing bike shorts of varying colors
Credit: Old Navy

Bike shorts are the easiest method of preventing thigh chafing though they may show underneath whatever you're wearing, depending on the length.

The simplest way to prevent chub rub is also the most obvious: Don’t let your thighs rub together. Wearing bike shorts alone or under a dress or skirt can help prevent skin on skin friction. Depending on the length, the bike shorts may be visible under your clothing, but, if this bothers you, you can snag ones that match your skin tone or opt for a shorter length that’ll still cover the areas you chafe the most.

Everyone’s body is different—a 3-inch bike short may sufficiently cover what you need it to while someone else may prefer an 8-inch inseam. For me, I find the 6-inch shorts seem to be the perfect length for avert irritation.

2. Thigh bands

Credit: Bandelettes

Thigh bands help to protect just a small part of your thigh from chafing—but it's more subtle than bike shorts.

For the same reason bike shorts work, thigh bands can, too. These are stretchy, circular straps that slide up your leg and sit around the thickest part of your thigh. This way, the fabric takes the heat and prevents the skin on your thighs from rubbing together.

Some companies like Bandelettes make “sexy” ones out of lace to try and turn this frustrating problem into a flirtatious secret, but after testing them, I’ve found that the lace ones don’t prevent chafing—they hurt in a different way because the fabric was scratchy all over. Instead, I recommend you get ones that are made of a soft microfiber material, like Bandelette’s Unisex bands, which are made of a nylon and spandex blend. This way, your thighs will be protected as you sashay your way through the day.

3. Anti-chafing balms

BodyGlide sitting next to a backpack
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Anti-chafing creams help to prevent chafing on thighs, although I haven't found it as effective as some of the other methods listed.

Anti-chafing balms are lubricants specifically designed to reduce friction. Most of them come in deodorant-like sticks and you glide the formula onto your skin in any areas that you experience discomfort.

Some people recommend products such as BodyGlide or Megababe to rub on the thighs before heading out. I’ve tried BodyGlide before and didn’t have as much luck with it as a former coworker who swore by it for her runs. It worked for about 10 minutes but soon, I found my thighs began chafing again—as if the BodyGlide gel had rubbed off. If you don’t mind reapplying or don’t have very thick thighs, anti-chafing balms may be a great solution for you.

Some find slathering petroleum jelly between their thighs also works just as well as a prevention method. It may be too greasy and messy for an everyday solution, but if you’re in a pinch or you want to see how a lubricant may work without buying an anti-chafe balm, this could be a good hack to try.

4. Body powder

Talcum powder on hands
Credit: GettyImages / ThitareeSarmkasat

Body powder helps to prevent moisture which causes chafing.

Another thing to consider is eliminating all moisture from the areas where you typically chafe, as excess moisture can increase friction. The best way to do this on the thighs is with a body powder. Though you'll likely need to apply powder several times a day for proper chafing prevention, particularly if you live in a hot or humid climate. Although it may work, reapplying is a pain when you’re out in public and powder can make a big, obvious mess.

If that sounds like too much fuss for you, you’re in luck. There’s also baby powder lotion that applies like any other lotion but dries into a moisture-absorbing powder. The compact packaging makes it easy to carry on your person and reviewers say it kept them chafe-free in the summer months.

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