Thigh chafing and the joys of summer

iz needs talc powder   mai thighs are chafing

Warmer weather is here. Spring! And soon, summer! I can put away my black tights and wear cotton dresses and mini-skirts. I can stop wearing running tights. But of course, much as I love all those things, there’s the problem of thigh chafing.

“At first thigh chafing is annoying, then it’s embarrassing, then it’s painful, then it’s ugly (all that friction causes little red bumps to pop up on my inner thighs–so not cute). My solution up to now has been to wear spandex shorts underneath all my dresses. This combats chafing and serves the secondary purpose of preventing me from flashing the whole neighborhood whenever I get out my car. Every time I pull on those shorts, though, I feel a little sad and a little resentful: for once I’d just like to throw on a sundress and some comfy undies and be done. This hot, binding extra layer kind of defeats the purpose of the easy, breezy summer outfit.” from the Horrors of Thigh Chafing, The Frisky.

For active women, out deliberately pursuing sweaty activities in the heat it can be especially difficult. While it’s ridiculous looking you can get the sense the lengths people will go to to avoid thigh chafing. It’s a serious problem. A blog reader sent me the link along with a note saying that people were mocking both the product and the problem If only you had a thigh gap, like reasonable, thin women, you wouldn’t have this problem. (For more on thigh gap, see Tracy’s post, Thigh Gap” Makes Me Sad.)

To that I have two things to say. First, for me, my thighs have always made contact and it’s been a summer issue no matter what I’ve weighed. Second, it in no way follows from something being a problem for fat women that the answer is shame. Oh right, they could diet and lose weight? And even if that did work, which it doesn’t mostly, surely we don’t deserve pain and suffering when we exercise?

For non-workout occasions I have friends who swear by bandelettes. They’re lacy thigh bands, sexy is the idea, with the added benefit of helping with chafing. Me? I’d never be quite sure where to put them and they aren’t quite in my everyday repertoire. Maybe for fancy nights out but fancy nights out don’t usually involve a lot of walking.

I’ve tried various lotions and creams but with no great success. Bodyglide works well for making it easy to get your wetsuit off but it’s not something I want to use for a run on a warm day. There is specific anti chafe cream for runners but again I haven’t had great luck with it. Baby powder works but never lasts long enough. For workouts I never wear traditional baggy running shorts. Instead, I wear tighter fitting reasonably long bicycle style shorts.

I discovered my answer for regular day to day skirt wearing when I started riding to work in dresses with bike shorts underneath. If I forgot undies I’d just keep the bike shorts on and that had the added benefit of no thigh chafing. It also meant I didn’t worry about modesty at all.

These days when I’m not riding I wear bike short style undies, like these by Jockey. Is this a summertime issue for you? Does it affect your exercise plans? What solutions have you found?