The pain of chafing can be unbearable. What causes it? Is there underwear that can really prevent chafing?
Before resorting to powders and lotions, consider buying the right underwear to prevent chafing in the first place.
In this article, I’ll help you understand what causes chafing, give you some preventative tips and suggest ways to relieve the pain if you suffer from it – then guide you the best type of anti-chafing underwear.
It’s a Burning Problem
Chafing is a serious problem.
It can stop you in your tracks and make whatever you are doing unbearable.
Even basic movements like walking can be excruciating – and of course, marathon runners are all too familiar with the pain and discomfort of chafing.
Thankfully, chafing is relatively easy to treat and even easier to prevent.
What is Chafing?
Chafing happens when there is friction between your own skin that comes from your inner thighs rubbing together.
This friction damages your skin and causes a rash, pain, sometimes blisters and even bleeding.
You can also get red blisters or a rash from harsh, itchy fabrics rubbing against your skin.
Where Does Chafing Occur?
Chafing normally happens on your inner upper thighs, but it can also occur elsewhere on your body if you wear clothes that don’t fit properly.
Even though most people experience inner thigh chafing, some people also experience underwear line chafing or find irritated skin underneath their arms.
The symptoms are easy to recognize:
- Red skin
- A flat, hot rash
What Causes Chafing?
There are several common causes:
- Wet skin and trapped moisture between the skin folds after swimming
- Not drying off after a sweaty workout
- Extensive walking or running, causing the skin to rub together
- Wearing thin fabric on your legs which doesn’t create enough of a barrier between the fabric and your skin
- Heat and humidity
- Wearing non-wicking underwear that doesn’t absorb moisture
How to Prevent Chafing
Here are some easy ways to prevent chafing:
- Dry off your skin regularly. If you know that you sweat profusely on certain days, try to keep it dry. This will cut down on the redness and pain
- Wear loose clothes. If your tight clothes are causing you to sweat more, wear looser clothes to help your body to stay cool
- Keep your body temperature lower. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated and cool
- Powder your inner thighs (see products below). This can soak up the moisture and sweat and calm your inflamed skin. You can purchase specialty powder for this at drugstores or online
- Use an anti-chafing cream or balm. See Bag Balm below, a Vaseline alternative
- Wear anti-chafe underwear. The right kind of underwear will protect your thighs and genitals from irritation
Chassis for Men (Baby powder alternative)
Unlike baby powder, Chassis Body Powder was specifically designed to provide day-long protection against sweat, odor, and chafing. It does not absorb moisture like baby powder or other talcum powders. In fact, it contains no talc at all.
Where to buy: chassisformen.com
Ballsy Ballguard Ball Deodorant
What’s interesting about this product from Ballsy, is that it’s a liquid powder. So, instead of using an actual powder like talc or Chassis for Men, you could try using the Ballsy Ballguard Ball Deodorant on your inner thighs.
Where to buy: ballsybrand.com
Bag Balm (Vaseline Alternative)
Bag Balm was originally designed to help to keep dairy cows from becoming chapped as a result of the harsh Vermont Northeast Kingdom environment. Now people from all around the world use Bag Balm to treat chapped, cracked skin.
Bag Balm can also prevent chafing, and is less sticky than Vaseline. A landscaper by the name of Danny stopped by to share this little anti-chafing hack in the comments below. He said he applies it about two times per day on average, and he stays comfortable and chafe-free even after walking around for 6+ hours a day.
Where to buy: Amazon
How to Treat Chafing
If you already have chafing, here are some products that will help treat it:
Baby powder will soak up moisture and help keep you dry, preventing further skin irritations. Apply it to your inner thighs before getting dressed. Re-apply as necessary.
Baby Powder Alternatives
In addition to using them to prevent chafing, you can use the following baby powder alternatives to treat chafing as well:
See above for more information on both of these products.
Vaseline or any type of branded petroleum jelly works by softening and moisturizing your skin – and it creates another barrier to protect your skin from more irritations, soothing the pain almost instantly.
One potential downside to using Vaseline is that it may be a little too sticky. One reader wrote in stating that he had tried it, and it was a bit too sticky for him. If you’ve tried using any petroleum jelly product, let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Alternatively, you can use a Vaseline alternative product like Bag Balm (Amazon) mentioned above.
For additional information about treating chafing, please be sure to check out WebMD.
What is the Best Type of Anti-Chafing Underwear?
The best type of underwear to prevent chafing is boxer briefs, because they stay close to the skin with enough length to protect the inner thighs.
It’s also important to choose anti-chafe underwear with some moisture-wicking capability and stretch.
Fabrics that have moisture-wicking characteristics include:
- Cellulose-based fibers like Modal, viscose / rayon, TENCEL, MicroModal
- Nylon / Polyamide
When sweating occurs, the wetness is pulled away from the skin and it evaporates. Plus these fabrics will normally dry faster than 100% cotton.
To help keep the underwear & legs in place, I also recommend finding underwear with a good amount of stretch & recovery. So, focus on boxer briefs with around 3-15% of spandex (i.e. elastane, Lycra).
Best Fit for Anti-Chafing Underwear?
Choose close fitting underwear that will stay in place, especially in the inner-thigh region. That is where chafing occurs the most.
Exposed waistbands can roll over and/or move around on your body causing added bulk or unnecessary rubbing. Plus, they [exposed waistbands] tend to make your waistline look bigger (i.e. muffin-top), because they fit tighter than underwear with hidden waistbands.
So, underwear with hidden waistbands are a great choice, since they allow the underwear to stay in place, and don’t bind around the waist & love handle area as much as exposed waistbands do.
Also, make sure you have the right fit.
If your underwear rides up, twists, or causes wedgies it can rub against your skin and cause painful chafing.
Are There Anti-Chafing Boxers?
It goes without saying, wearing boxers instead of briefs will result in less thigh chafing. However, if the legs of your boxers fit too loose, it is possible that the boxers will ride up throughout the day.
If that happens, not only will it create unnecessary bunching within the legs of your pants, it could create an environment where chafing could occur.
This is why I typically recommend boxer briefs, since the legs on boxer briefs will fit closer and be less prone to move around.
If you prefer wearing boxers over boxer briefs, you can find some in my article about Made in USA underwear.
Are There Anti-Chafing Underwear Briefs?
Not really. Chafing usually occurs when the thighs rub together. Since underwear briefs don’t cover the thighs, it’s more likely that chafing will occur. Though, it depends on whether or not your thighs have tendency to rub together.
If you prefer underwear briefs, but are still looking for a solution to prevent thigh chafing, you may want to consider wearing anti-chafing thigh bands.
Anti-Chafe Underwear Recommendations
If you want to prevent the misery of painful chafing, invest in good quality non-chafing boxer briefs. It will give you a whole new level of under comfort. Here are some brands to consider.
Without a doubt, Tommy John offers one of the largest variety of anti-chafing underwear. They come in 6″ and 8″ lengths, different fabrics, lots of color combinations, and different pouch styles.
The main underwear lines include:
- Second Skin – Non-pilling, silky MicroModal stretch fabric
- Cool Cotton – Breathable, lightweight Cotton stretch fabric
- Air – Lightweight Nylon Mesh stretch fabric
- 360 Sport – Soft, moisture wicking 360 Polyester stretch fabric
The Made in USA G3 Boxer Briefs from RibbedTee are a fan favorite, and also one of my all time favorite boxer briefs. Flat lock seams, 3-dimensional X3 pouch, low-profile hidden waistband, and made from a nylon/spandex blend fabric that is odor & abrasion resistant.
The brand has recently gone on hiatus, but there are rumors they may re-emerge. Visit the site and be sure to jump on their wait-list.
Known for their crazy designs and in-your-face marketing, Shinesty’s Ball Hammock pouch boxer brief underwear are worth considering. Over 1400 reviews, with an average 4.25+ star rating.
Their boxer briefs are made with a 95% Modal / 5% Spandex fabric blend, and most reviewers state the underwear runs true-to-size.
They also have long boxer briefs that are 2.5″ longer than their standard boxer briefs
UFM is known for their adjustable pouch underwear, but did you know that their underwear comes in two anti-chafing lengths? Choose either 6″ or 9″ leg length and keep your thighs chafe free.
What Anti-Chafing Underwear Should Landscapers or People Who Work Outdoors Wear?
The best anti-chafing underwear for people who work outdoors, such as landscapers, farmers, construction/city workers, or even police officers would be mid-length boxer briefs made from polyester, nylon, or viscose (rayon) blends.
These fabric blends will wick and dry faster than their cotton counterpart.
Polyester will usually absorb the least amount of moisture, so it will dry the quickest. But, wearing polyester underwear may result in more sweat passing through to your pants or shorts — causing visible sweat marks on your butt and legs.
Underwear That Keeps You Feeling Dry
If feeling dry is your top priority, and you don’t care about visible sweat marks, then you may want to consider purchasing mesh polyester underwear such as:
- 360 Sport briefs from Tommy John listed above (tommyjohn.com)
- 90/10 Poly/Spandex Gen 5 Sports underwear from UFM listed above (ufmunderwear.com)
- DEVOPS Cool Dry Mesh Underwear – pictured below (Amazon)
- ExOfficio Give-n-go (Amazon)
- Duluth Bullpen (duluthtrading.com)
More Underwear Resources
If you’re curious about how to maintain good testicular health, be sure to check out my article that covers which type of underwear is best for men’s health in depth.
If you’re looking for domestically made underwear, check out my Made in USA Underwear article for a list of 20+ brands making underwear right here in America.
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