One easy way to ruin a nice summer day is with good ol’ fashioned chafed skin. Whether the chafing happens between your thighs, around your armpits, or on your nips from going braless, one thing remains the same: It freakin’ sucks. And it can happen to any human who has skin, since chafing is caused by normal rubbing and friction combined with moisture (like sweat), leaving you with red, inflamed skin. In other words, just being a person who moves around during hot summer months is enough to cause it. Cool. Thankfully, with the help of a few anti-chafing products and dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, you’ll be back to frolicking chafe-free in the sun in no time.
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Best Anti-Chafing Spray
SBR Skin Slick Continuous Spray Lubricant
Whether you’re looking to prevent blisters, chafing, or even just the annoying rubbing from your bra straps, this easy-to-apply spray works as a shield against all kinds of painful friction. It’s also waterproof and sweatproof, so you don’t have to worry about reapplying it on particularly swampy days—a major plus.
Best Ointment for Chafing
CeraVe Healing Ointment
While some anti-chafe products are specific to just chafing, you’ll want to keep a tube of this stuff close by for any kind of compromised skin. Cosmo eds are already big fans of CeraVe moisturizers, but this occlusive ointment, in particular, contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid to lock in all the hydration and moisture your chafed skin needs to stay healthy.
Best No-Show Anti-Chafing Shorts
Jockey Women’s Underwear Skimmies Short Length Slipshort
Unlike restrictive shapewear, these lightweight, stretchy shorts are so comfortable you could nap in them (seriously, try it). They’re made from a blend of mostly nylon and spandex, are available in extended sizes, and come in both a mid-thigh length and a shorter version (as shown here) for wearing under mini skirts and dresses to keep thighs from rubbing together.
Best Mid-Thigh Anti-Chafing Shorts
Undersummers by CarrieRae Classic Shortlette Anti-Chafing Slipshort
Loose cotton activewear has all the hype right now, but when trying to avoid chafing, Dr. Engelman says to forego the fabrics that trap in moisture (aka all your favorite loose cotton stretch pants) and instead go for something snug and made from moisture-wicking materials, like these polyester and spandex slip shorts. The seam goes down the front of the shorts instead of along the inner thigh, which makes for better construction (no more frayed seams, tyvm) and comfort.
Best All-Over Anti-Chafe Balm
Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm
If you’re the athletic type who loves long-distance activities, like running or hiking (hi, can’t relate), Dr. Engelman says to create a barrier between your skin and workout clothing with a hypoallergenic balm to reduce friction. Before your next outdoor venture, smooth a stick like this over your neck, arms, thighs, feet — just about anywhere you might have a little extra rubbing.
Best Anti-Chafe Stick for Inner Thighs
Megababe Thigh Rescue
A few swipes of this stick balm, which contains aloe for cooling and grapeseed oil for hydration, is all it takes to protect your inner thighs (one area that seems to get it the worst) from painful rubbing.
Best Cornstarch-Based Product for Chafing
Lush Cosmetics Silky Underwear
The internet loves a good beauty hack, and one of its favorites for anti-chafing is corn starch. But unlike the stuff sitting in your kitchen cupboard, this one is way more luxurious. Made with a blend of cocoa butter, kaolin, and—you guessed it—corn starch, this velvety powder creates a silky smooth barrier on the skin to prevent painful friction. And it smells like jasmine and vetiver.
Best Anti-Chafing Bands for Thighs
Bandelettes Elastic Anti-Chafing Thigh Bands
Try these lacy anti-chafe bands as an even lighter, more breathable alternative to slip shorts. Each band fits comfortably around your thighs to protect them against friction, and thanks to small strips of silicone, they don’t slip or slide no matter how sweaty you might be. This pair gets bonus points for also looking like lingerie.
Best Relief for Chafing
Monistat Care Chafing Powder Gel Relief
This skin protectant looks like a gel at first, but once you rub it in, it transforms into a soft, velvety, almost powder-like finish—just like a makeup primer, which is why it’s also a favorite dupe of the skin prep product. This gel also helps to reduce the redness of irritated skin, making it perfect for both treating and preventing chafed skin.
Best Product for Healing Chafing
Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil
If you’re looking to treat already mildly chafed skin (for more serious cases, consult your doctor), Dr. Engelman suggests washing the area with gentle soap and then, while the skin is still damp, applying Bio-Oil to area. Packed with ingredients like vitamin E, lavender oil, chamomile, and calendula, this quick-absorbing oil can help to improve and soothe the skin.
Best Soothing Cream for Chafing
Weleda Arnica Intensive Body Recovery
After washing and moisturizing the chafed area, Dr. Engelman recommends following with a chafing cream to soothe your muscles and skin. This one from Weleda contains 10 percent arnica flower extract to potentially help with pain and swelling, which is why it’s one of her go-tos.
Best Anti-Chafe Protection for Nipples
Commando Low Beams Nipple Concealer Adhesives
Chafing might not be an issue if you regularly wear bras, but if you’re freeing the nipple and feeling the burn from it, you’ll be glad to have shields like these to protect you. Not only are they the perfect solution for a backless dress, but they work just as well under a swimsuit top. Which is great because water + fabric friction = no fun.
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