The myths around thigh chafing are aplenty, and if you grew up in the 90s and early aughts, you’ll know one of them intimately: thigh chafing only happens when you’re fat and the only preventative measure that exists is weight loss. Spoiler alert: you don’t have to lose weight to prevent inner thigh chafing.
While we’ve slowly begun to shed the rhetoric that weight loss is in the answer to literally anything, the belief that the dreaded chub rub only happens in fatter folks remains. And we don’t blame you. After all, we’ve all grown up in the same world that demonizes fatness and blames us for the red, raw, irritating inner thigh pain it puts us through, rather than the lack of tools or products offered to help us live comfortably in our bodies.
Maybe you, too, have walked silently with horrendous thigh burns, ashamed to say anything because you thought it was your fault. That if only you were smaller or more disciplined, this wouldn’t be a problem. Wrong.
Inner thigh chafing happens to everybody and every body, and here’s the how and why of it.
What causes inner thigh chafing?
1. Body shape
It doesn’t matter what your body looks like—thigh chafing can happen to anyone. While certainly having a higher volume of skin that touches means more opportunity for friction and inner thigh chafing, living in a larger body is not the only cause. It also comes down to your pelvic structure, which often dictates how close your legs are together, and where you carry fat on your body. We’re saying it louder for the folks in the back: you don’t have to lose weight to prevent thigh chafing and your body is not the problem.
This is one reason why inner thigh chafing is so common in the summer months. Simply put, sweat causes friction because it makes our skin sticky. Once it dries, it leaves a layer of salt on the skin, literally adding salt to the wound and causing the worst kind of exfoliation. It makes us cringe just thinking about it. You can avoid this by using body-safe powders or wearing anti-chafe shorts.
3. Dry or sensitive skin
Like rubbing sandpaper against wood, dry and sensitive skin is unfortunately way more prone to inner thigh chafing. Keeping your skin moisturized and prepped for a day of walking by opting for anti-chafe shorts is the best way to prevent it.
4. Irritating fabric or clothes that don’t fit right
Certain types of fabric that are rough or don’t breathe well can definitely cause inner thigh chafing. Similarly, clothing that is either too small or too big is also a major culprit, as they can either dig into skin or rub against it if they’re too loose. Pay attention to seams: if they lay where you experience the most rubbing, chances are you’ll be feeling it later (which is exactly why the seams on Thigh Society shorts are positioned to the front!). We give you permission to go shopping for new clothes that fit your body as it is now.
There’s a reason why there are so many products on the market targeted towards runners! Movement causes sweating and often comes with limbs moving against each other at higher speeds than when walking. This additional friction, combined with the sweat, can lead to chafing, not just on your inner thighs but also in the underarm area, on your heels and underneath breasts. Consider that your movement gear might need switching up if what you have right now isn’t working for you.
How do I prevent inner thigh chafing?
Using products designed to prevent inner thigh chafing is the best way to avoid it. While some—like powders, creams and ointments—are more of a last-resort solution, options like anti-chafe shorts or bands are both sure-fire ways to prevent the dreaded chafe absolutely.
And remember: you don’t have to change your body. You deserve to live comfortably in the one you have right now.