BY CYNTHIA WAIRIMU
Skin chafing happens when there is so much friction on the skin against skin or clothes, from which it tears, forms blisters, bleeds and becomes itchy and uncomfortable. The discomfort is worse when sweating. Often times, this happens if you work out a lot or are overweight. Chafing can happen to any body type. It can also be caused by straps such as bra straps and belts.
With the sun shining bright these past couple of weeks, chafing is bound to happen. However, there are ways to fix this as well as prevent it. First , identify areas of the skin that are prone to chafing and protect them in situations where it could happen such as running, walking, and exercising. The thighs, groin area, underarms and the area surrounding the areola are the most commonly affected.
So how do you protect your skin from chafing?
Proper attire – When exercising, less is more. Wear clothes that are fitting and that will wick away moisture. It is also advisable to be wary of badly placed seams in the clothes such as work out bras and leggings and not wear them. Look for clothes that will give you a layer of fabric protection between your skins. Invest in undergarments that are meant to protect you from chafing.
Lubricate – Assuming you are not going to have a very active day, but the weather is hot, it is advisable to use lubricants such as Vaseline over prone areas. This serves to reduce friction when rubbing occurs. It can also be used during exercise but not too much as sweating may counter the effects or make it uncomfortable
Keep dry – Use an absorbent powder, cornstarch or potato starch on areas with crevices in the body such as under arms, groin area, under the bust and areas where the skin rolls over on itself. Be wary of talcum powder, as there have been questions raised on its role in uterine cancer and ovarian cancer especially for the groin area.
Avoid staying in wet clothes as well as wet areas.
Hydrate – It is advisable to take lots of water before an activity so that when you sweat, there are not too many salts as would cause chafing.
If you have chafed skin, it requires care and treatment. Clean the area well with lukewarm water and a mild soap. Pat dry and do not rub. Use a petroleum jelly on the affected area to keep it moist and if necessary, use gauze to cover it so that it is breathable. If you notice that it is not healing, there is an infection, or you have diabetes, it is advisable to seek medical help.
Avoid friction or activity that could make the chafing worse until recovery.