Broadly, chafing is a repetitive rubbing sensation caused by friction from fabric and/or skin. Perhaps you’ve experienced it in the form of thigh-swooshing as you’re strutting down the street, or maybe you’ve felt it in the sandy sting of your sports bra during the last loop of a 5K. Incidentally, sweating intensifies friction, and, in turn, exacerbates chafing. (Same goes for water; imagine rubbing your skin together after you’ve just gotten out of the pool.) For these reasons, summer is prime chafing season.
Uncomfortable? Certainly. Unavoidable? Not necessarily. Sure, sweltering temps may spur chafing for the reasons listed above, but luckily, anti-chafing products do exist. Below, five of our favorites—including skin-skimming shorts and a silky powder that feels surprisingly indulgent—so that this summer's hot nights will strictly bring the good kind of skin-on-skin friction.
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One of our writers swears by these lightweight bikeshorts-cum-chafeguard. (Read her full review.) What she calls the “Goldilocks” of chafe shorts, they strike the perfect balance of sturdy and breathable. At under ten bucks they’re a steal, too—especially since you’ll want to slip ‘em on under virtually everything you wear.
Have a penchant for punchy packaging? The exterior of this anti-chafe stick may seem, in and of itself, worth 12 bucks if so. Inside is where you’ll find the real treasure, though: a solid body balm that soothes existing irritation and prevents future chafing. Simply glide over any friction zones et voila! An invisible shield of coconut oil and aloe, among other no-nonsense skin-friendly ingredients.
With rave reviews and numerous awards under its belt, this glide-on chafe shield does, in fact, live up to the hype. Created by Megababe founder, Katie Sturino, who wanted a solution for her own chafing struggles, the formula is positively practical, invisible, and suitable for all skin types. Orange oil calms existing irritation, while coconut oil and aloe create a barrier that feels smooth, not slick.
Perhaps the only chafing solution that could be described as sensual, this sultry-scented powder (think jasmine, vetiver) leaves skin as silky as the product’s namesake. Cornstarch and kaolin (not talc) act as a moisture-wicking base, while whispers of cocoa butter promote suppleness.
If you need a chafing cream like, yesterday, pop on over to the nearest drugstore and snag this hardworking hero. Somewhere between a gel and a powder, the formula seems to melt onto skin and shield it from all forms of friction. Bonus: this stuff can be used on razor bumps and chapped skin, too.
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