The Hiking And Chafing Guide: Thighs, Butt, Groin, Chest (And More)


Love hiking but can’t stand the pain of chafing? Take a look at our tips to prevent chafing in the thighs, butt, groin, chest, and more.

Reduce chafing while hiking by using a skin lubricant such as Body Glide or adjusting the fit, material, and ventilation of your clothing. Other products and solutions exist depending on the area of the body that is chafing.

To avoid chafing in any part of the body while you’re hiking, try opting for synthetic clothing. You can also use products like Body Glide or baby powder to ease friction and reduce moisture just about anywhere.

While these are the simplest steps you can take to prevent chafing, they aren’t the only options you have. All hikers experience chafing differently and in different areas of the body. Those areas might require unique solutions in order to keep you comfortable no matter how long your hike is.

I’ve personally had to deal with chafing while hiking, but I know everyone is different, so I gathered useful information for hikers of all different sizes, shapes, and experiences, I reviewed posts made by several hikers online. These posts detailed their experiences with hiking as well as what areas gave them the worst problems with chafing. Following that, I looked through the responses and solutions given to them by other hikers, many of whom had found solutions for themselves.

Continue and you’ll learn how to prevent and treat chafing in multiple areas. Once you’ve found the right solutions for your body, the pain of chafing will be a distant memory.

Essential Products For Anti-Chafing

I was writing this article and I noticed that it’s really extensive. I had all these products sprinkled through the article, but I wanted to be upfront about the products that can really help you all in one place so you don’t have to comb through the entire article. I found all the products on Amazon to make it more convenient for you to get (non) chafe-ready.

  • Body Glide, Foot Glide, or Bag Balm: These are skin lubricants that many people use and love which will prevent friction and chafing. If you don’t have these on hand and you’re in a situation, using deodorant, lip balm or petroleum jelly if you have it in a pinch can work
  • Gold Bond Powder, or Monkey Butt Powder: If you prefer powders to creams, these are two very popular options. I’ve personally appreciated Gold Bond on many a hike.
  • Thigh Bands
  • Nipple Guards: Preventative–NipEaze; Treatment/protection–softshells
  • Sports Bras: Finding the right support can help with chafing issues
  • Anti-fungal powder, anti-fungal cream: If you have a fungal infection, these help a ton
  • Rash Cream: If you already have chafing, these can dehydrate and lubricate the chafing area and help you get home.
  • Moleskin: A moleskin can be used to protect an already skin-damaged area.

There are several tips that are a bit more complex than buying a product, so make sure to read on to find out what you can do in a lot of different situations.

How To Prevent Thigh And Butt Chafing While Hiking

What Causes Thigh Chafing?

Generally speaking, most instances of chafing are going to be due to the same factors. According to Healthline.com, these include moisture, heat, and humidity.

Thigh chafing is typically caused by friction that occurs when the inner thighs rub together during a hike. It doesn’t take long for the heat to follow, resulting in raw, red skin that is painful to the touch.

A lack of coverage is often the cause for thigh chafing, either due to wearing shorts that aren’t long enough to protect the thighs or clothing that is too thin to provide a solid buffer. The good news is that typically all you need is some thicker fabric to avoid the pain of thigh chafing.

What Causes Butt Chafing?

The main cause of butt chafing is very similar to the cause of thigh chafing. Essentially, skin rubs against skin until it’s raw and uncomfortable. We don’t always expect it in the butt area, but it can certainly happen with enough heat, moisture, and repetitive motion.

Another common cause relates to the kind of underwear a person is wearing. Many people often wear cotton underwear, which is perfectly okay for regular day-to-day use. However, when you’re working up a sweat out on the trail for several hours, cotton may not be the most friendly material.

If you want to learn more about how cotton behaves as a base layer, or what materials might be better choices, take a look at our article on the topic here.

Ways To Prevent Thigh/Butt Chafing

Change Up Your Clothing

When you’re choosing clothing for your hiking adventure, you have two main enemies to fight against. These are heat and moisture. The combination of those two things can result in not just chafing, but rashes, blisters, and pain that can go on for days.

Consequently, you’ll want to choose clothing items – in this case, underwear and shorts or pants – that will fight against those enemies.

For example, we might normally turn to simple, comfortable options like cotton when it comes to underwear. Oddly enough, cotton actually doesn’t hold up very well if your body starts sweating a lot. Instead, synthetic underwear options can be much more beneficial for keeping moisture at bay.

The clothing you choose also needs to be breathable. That means that it allows air to pass through, which helps with avoiding moisture and keeping the body at a comfortable temperature.

For male hikers, in particular, compression shorts are highly recommended for avoiding friction and keeping everything in place. Female hikers may not have as much concern for keeping things in place, but some spandex shorts can really be helpful for avoiding friction and chafing on the inner thighs.

From personal experience, I’ve tried compression underwear and it doesn’t always work for my body for exercise, but I know for some it really does. This is something that you’ll have to experiment with to find out what works best.

Many hikers also recommended shorts or pants that are relatively loose, to help with avoiding friction that can occur between the skin and the clothing itself.

In some cases, male hikers even opted to wear kilts on the trail. If that fits into your own personal style, that can be a helpful way to go–but you have to remember that you now have to spend more effort avoiding ticks (if they are in your area). No free lunches, I guess.

There’s a huge pants vs. shorts debate in the hiker community. I talk a lot about it including some pros and cons you may not have considered. Find out which one is better for you in our article on the subject here.

Stay Dry

I’ve already mentioned that moisture is the enemy, but what can you do to avoid it? After all, we all sweat at least a little while we’re out hiking.

In addition to the clothing choices I mentioned earlier, you can’t go wrong with bringing multiple sets of clothing. This goes double for underwear and socks. Anywhere you notice a lot of moisture buildup is a key place to focus on keeping as dry as possible.

Underwear can be a particularly tough area to keep dry, simply because you may not always notice a moisture problem until it has gotten really bad. That said, there’s no reason to be too hard on yourself. Just try to be aware, and bring along something to change into when you happen to notice that things are getting a little too humid down below.

Try Thigh Bands

Thigh bands are fabric bands made to wear on the upper thighs. They’re made with thicker materials, which allows them to provide a durable buffer between the legs.

These bands work for both men and women as an alternative to wearing spandex shorts or something similar. If for some reason you aren’t a fan of spandex shorts and just want something to protect your inner thighs from chafing, thigh bands can be found in multiple places online, including Amazon (such as right here).

What will be incredibly important is to make sure you get the correct size for your thighs. Otherwise, they may end up falling down, rolling up, or just generally making your hike uncomfortable.

Avoid Shaving The Area

Although some folks might be tempted to shave areas that are causing chafing problems, this can actually make the issues worse.

When you let body hair grow, it helps to create more of a buffer. This can apply to several areas, including the thighs, butt, and armpits. Skin-to-skin rubbing without a buffer is going to quickly result in red, angry skin. While you can make clothing choices and use products to aid friction problems, it can also be a good idea to just keep the natural buffer that your body creates.

Without going into too much detail, this seems to be true for me at least, but I know different people have different experiences, so you’ll have to experiment on your own on this one.

Try Anti-Chafing Products

If you’re tried other options without positive results, it might be time to add some products to the mix.

Generally speaking, there are two different kinds of products available to help prevent chafing. These include powders and gels or balms.

Powders are used to keep moisture out of the area. With less moisture, friction has less of an effect on the skin.

Gels and balms aim to create a smoother surface so that your body movements won’t cause quite so much friction.

When it comes to the thigh and butt areas, experienced hikers recommended Body Glide, Bag Balm, (see on Amazon) petroleum jelly, baby powder, deodorant, and even lip balm if you have nothing else on hand.

It may take a little trial and error to find the product that works best for you, but it’s sure to make a huge difference in your hiking adventures.

Treating Thigh and Butt Chafing

If you’ve already got some chafing going on, then the best thing you can do to allow it to heal is to rest the area.

Try to postpone any further hikes until your body has healed up, and keep the chafed region clean and cool in the meantime.

Use gentle, unscented cleansers to avoid irritating the skin further, and get an ice pack to cool the skin down.

In some cases, hikers also recommend this Lotrimin Powder Spray to aid in healing the area and keeping any potential fungal growth at bay. Remember that areas that are really prone to moisture and heat can also be more prone to infections It’s best to prevent too much chafing, or treat those areas as quickly as possible if they already are chafing.

I’ve used Lotrimin many times in rash areas that weren’t healing that well–I’m super grateful it exists.

How To Help/Prevent Groin Chafing While Hiking

What Causes Groin Chafing?

Just like with anywhere else on the body, sweat and friction are the primary factors when it comes to groin chafing. Repeated movements in that area can result in friction in heat in certain areas. Those areas might differ from person to person simply because we’re all built differently.

Most often, groin chafing tends to be applied to men, but it’s not impossible for women to experience it too. In either case, you can try out the tips below. If they don’t work for you and the problem goes on for too long, it may also be a good idea to see a doctor.

Preventing Groin Chafing

Be Careful With Hair In The Area

If you’re someone who prefers to keep things on the smoother side, it might be wise to consider just trimming hair in the area rather than getting rid of it entirely.

As I mentioned previously, hair works well as a natural buffer, so it can actually aid you in avoiding groin chafing while you’re out on the trail.

This isn’t to say that you absolutely cannot shave – just that you may end up needing more products or clothing changes to keep smooth skin from creating too much friction.

And mysteriously, some people don’t have any issues when shaving this area, and others do–so there’s that.

Wear The Right Underwear

The underwear you choose can also be key for either fueling or preventing chafing in the groin area. Generally speaking, experienced hikers recommend synthetic fabrics at the very least. These fabrics assist in keeping moisture from becoming too much of an issue.

Male hikers might also choose to opt for boxer briefs or compression shorts to keep everything in place. A great thing about these choices is that you can also look for shorts that will be long enough to help with thigh chafing as well. Some male hikers even recommend looking for something with a longer inseam to avoid the underwear riding up while you’re walking.

In rarer cases still, some hikers suggest ditching underwear entirely. This just goes to show that it may take some experimentation for you to find the solution that keeps you the most comfortable while you’re hiking.

If you want to see other examples of what people said you shouldn’t wear while hiking, check out our article, here.

Use Anti-Chafing Products

These days, there are so many products out there that can help with chafing. Some are made to go anywhere, while some might be better for certain areas.

When it comes to groin chafing, Body Glide was a continued suggestion. For more regular issues, you can also opt for something like the Gold Bond Friction Defense.

However, if you only have to deal with groin chafing occasionally, you might also just choose to try some baby powder. This is controversial, actually, some say that Gold Bond or other anti-friction powders can get wet from your sweat and make chafing worse–in my own experience, Gold Bond has worked well for me. Yet another tool to consider!

Treating Groin Chafing

In addition to the tips I gave previously about keeping the area clean, cool, and rested, you might also choose to try a diaper rash cream on any current chafing.

As I was researching the topic of chafing, I found that many hikers who have ended up with chafing in the groin area are especially fond of diaper rash creams that contain zinc oxide. Desitin is a popular brand I’ve used, personally and it works wonders.

Whatever you choose to use, just make sure that the area is getting plenty of air-flow and that you give it plenty of time to heal.

How To Prevent Nipple Chafing While HIking

What Causes Nipple Chafing?

This is one of those areas of the body for women and men where you might not think about it until it’s far too late. Most people never consider chafing nipples until they go through it.

It’s a horrible, horrible experience. Some people chafe so bad in this area that they bleed in their chest area. If this happens on a long hike (or run), then you’re going to have trouble thinking about anything else.

The usual suspects, heat, humidity, lack of airflow, and friction are the cause of nipple chafing, but what is mysterious is that some people never seem to experience it, while others do–and it seems to happen regardless of body type. Some really thin athletes still experience nipple-chafing.

So another factor is just you and your gait–just the way you unconsciously walk might contribute to this for you and your hiking buddies might never once have a problem.

Preventing Nipple Chafing

There are several things to experiment with:

  • Shirt material
  • Shirt tightness
  • Your bra (if you wear one)

Some shirt materials have more friction than others, and so experimenting with different materials may make a difference. Even more tricky is that it could be the fit of your shirt. A bigger shirt will be looser and could help, while a tighter shirt could stay in place better and have less friction. It’s really too complicated to know for sure if changing your shirt will solve your problem for you.

If you wear a bra this is another factor where finding the right fit might be all you need to do to stop this problem. I talk more about bra fitting in the next section–but the product I’m about to talk about can also be very effective for women or men.

After that, one product is extremely effective at helping with nipple chafing. NipEaze (see on Amazon), is essentially a circular piece of gentle tape that will adhere during your hike or run and protect you from friction from your shirt.

Treating Nipple Chafing

If your situation is more intense and you need greater protection, these (Amazon) will create a softshell and create a protective barrier which will bring relief if you’re in a situation where your nipples already are in pain. This product is used by nursing mothers (but can be used in a recovery situation) and they work really well. (I’ve not personally had to use them but I am close to some who I know have used them).

How To Prevent Under-breast Chafing While Hiking

This is another subject that I had to get some help on.

What Causes Under-breast Chafing?

Some of the issues that can contribute to under-breast chafing include heat, humidity, lack of airflow, and friction against either skin or clothing.

In rarer cases, what appears to be under-breast chafing may actually be a sign of infection or a rash.

Preventing Under-breast Chafing

Wear The Right Bra

I don’t wear a bra, so I had to get help from someone who does to write this next section.

Because the under-breast area is such a prime place for moisture and friction, you’ll need to pay close attention to anything that might be making you uncomfortable. This is especially true when it comes to the fit of the bra you’re wearing on hikes.

Bras that aren’t the right fit or that don’t breathe well are really not worth taking on a hike. Instead, female hikers often recommend bras that are designed for exercise, such as the Panache Sport. You can see some of the top-rated sports bras on Amazon, here.

Essentially, the bra you wear should fit correctly without digging into the skin. It should also cover and support your body well. The under-breast region should be well covered so that you don’t have to deal with too much skin-on-skin friction.

Experimentation is key here–if you’re going on a longer journey, it might help to bring a few different bra brands or styles. That way, you can relieve pressure on a certain area by changing into something with a different design. It’s inconvenient, but if you don’t know how your body will perform on hiking over 5, 10, 15, or even 20 miles, then you’ll need to put in the work to find out which design or brand works best for you.

Stay On Top Of Hygiene

The under-breast area is one that tends to really be prone to heat and sweat. Not only can that add to the risk of chafing, but it can also lead to more skin problems in the area.

There are other factors that play into under-breast issues such as breast size and – as I mentioned previously – the fit and style of the bras being worn. Some might rub against the under-breast area more than others, and in some cases, an underwire can further escalate issues with discomfort.

Aside from trying different bras, keeping the area clean is a great way to minimize any problems that occur. Gentle cleansing and exfoliation can help to keep the skin healthy, and healthier skin can bounce back from chafing issues more quickly. It also helps to get rid of dead skin cells that can keep the skin from healing efficiently.

Try Some Anti-Chafing Products

Some of the products for under-breast chafing that have been recommended by hikers include baby powder and Body Glide. It’s also possible to just use your regular antiperspirant in that area.

The goal is often to either smooth things out in the area or to reduce moisture as much as possible. Often, antiperspirant is enough to keep sweating at a minimum which can help reduce friction, so it’s a good idea to give that a shot first before you spend money on other options.

Treating Under-breast Chafing

If you try out a new bra or product and end up with chafing anyway, it’s important to know what you can do to help that chafed area to heal as quickly as possible. Nobody wants to be uncomfortable for longer than they have to!

Airflow is very important for helping the area to heal. That means wearing loose clothing as much as possible and avoiding bras if you can. You can also get a cold, damp washcloth and use that to cool down the area. Just make sure to dry the area fully afterward.

Keeping the area clean and moisturized is also important. Make sure to use gentle, unscented soaps and moisturizers on sensitive or damaged skin.

How To Prevent Chafing In Stomach Folds

What Causes Stomach Fold Chafing?

Stomach fold chafing can show up more often in overweight hikers, but ultimately the causes are the same as other forms of chafing.

The skin of the stomach may end up rubbing against itself or an article of clothing. Additionally, lack of airflow and increased moisture result in more irritation in the area. The good news is that there are plenty of options available to ease the discomfort so that you can enjoy your hike without pain.

Preventing Chafing In Stomach Folds

Try Different Clothing

Much like any other area, chafing can get bad around the stomach if clothes aren’t breathable, don’t fit right, or are made with materials that don’t dry quickly.

All fabric dries at different rates–a 100% polyester shirt will dry a bit differently than a 100% cotton shirt (although this is a subject of controversy). And on a hot day, a shirt that stays wet a bit longer can actually keep you cooler.

On a typical day, however, a cotton shirt is usually fine to wear, but because it stays wet longer, but the moisture trapped under it can result in chafing, rashes, and bacterial growth.

It’s a toss-up. Because, for me, synthetic shirts stink a lot sooner than cotton.

So if you are having chafing issues in your shirt, you might try another material. Probably more important is to try a different fit, but all of these together can contribute to chafing. This just keeps moisture from getting trapped and allows sweat to evaporate more easily.

As far as fit goes, your shirt doesn’t have to be way too big, but if you’re concerned about stomach chafing then it’s important to make sure there is plenty of room for air to flow. On top of that, shirts that are too tight can contribute to stomach and nipple chafing.

Keep The Skin Clean And Dry

When I’m going on a long hike, I bring wet wipes. Wet wipes are incredibly convenient to use so you can wipe down any part of your body without having to undress and bathe in the river.

Regular hygiene is a must for avoiding chafing and other rashes. You don’t have to go crazy with the scrubbing, but just making sure that the skin is as healthy as possible can go a long way.

Keeping the skin dry can be a larger issue. You might find that you need to bring along extra shirts, or even a rag to get rid of moisture in specific areas if it’s becoming a problem. Whatever you need to do, your comfort and the health of your body are key. Don’t be afraid to bring along whatever you may need to make sure you’re able to enjoy the hike the entire time.

When I’m going on a long hike, I bring wet wipes. Wet wipes are incredibly convenient to use so you can wipe down any part of your body without having to undress and bathe in the river.

Prepare With Products

This is another area where Body Glide was highly recommended by experienced hikers. It seems that this product really is good for just about any area of the body that experiences chafing.

In addition, hikers also recommended Gold Bond Powder and Baby Monkey Butt Powder specifically for the stomach region. Both of these powders do a great job of minimizing sweat and friction in the area. Pairing up products like these with comfortable clothing choices is a great way to go.

Treating Chafing In Stomach Folds

If you’ve ended up with a chafed area on your stomach, don’t worry!

Just give the area a gentle cleaning with some unscented soap and add a soothing moisturizer. This should help with reducing the heat and protecting the skin from further damage.

Try to avoid whatever clothing items or conditions you think caused the chafing for a little while, and make sure the skin gets plenty of airflow. The last thing we want is more moisture and friction making the problem worse.

You can also use a cold compress to soothe the skin if it’s particularly hot and painful.

How To Prevent Chafing Where My Backpack Rests (Hip Area)

Backpacks put a lot of pressure on your hips and shoulders and so they are vulnerable to chafing

What Causes Backpack-Area Chafing?

Chafing in the backpack area can be a result of heat and moisture trapped between your back and the backpack. It might also be the result of a backpack that doesn’t fit well or straps that dig into the skin. In some cases, it might also be a sign that there’s too much weight in your backpack.

Whatever the case may be, there are definitely ways to prevent it. Take a look at the following tips for preventing backpack-related chafing and you’ll be on your way to a more comfortable hike in no time.

Preventing Chafing Caused By A Backpack

Get The Right Backpack

I used to have this old purple exterior frame backpack where the padding was worn off in several places. The waist belt, in fact, had exposed metal, and man, I had the worst chafing I’d ever had. Contact chafing from your backpack is horrible since you have to carry your stuff somehow and it can be really painful.

Most people may not pay attention to the style and fit of a backpack the same way we would with clothing or shoes. That said, it actually is very important that you get a backpack that is made for your body. Otherwise, it may chafe, have an uncomfortable fit, or cause issues with your spine and shoulders.

If you’re unsure how to go about finding the correct fit, employees at sporting goods stores like REI are often prepared to help. In some cases, they can even tailor a backpack you already have to fit your body better.

Aside from the shape and size, an idea backpack should also be fitted with comfortable straps and a waist belt. When it comes to hiking, the waist belt is very important for distributing the weight more comfortably. If you’re trying out a new backpack or just had one tailored, practice with it on shorter hikes before you head on any full-day or multi-day adventures.

Don’t Overload Yourself

Whatever backpack you have, try to make sure you know how much weight it is designed to hold. Overloading a backpack isn’t just hard on the bag, but it’s hard on your body as well. An overloaded backpack has a harder time keeping the weight distributed, which means you might end up with extra pressure on your shoulders.

With more pressure on the straps of the backpack, it’s more likely that you’ll end up with chafing or discomfort in the area. It may also result in more back pain.

Try to keep your pack as light as possible. This might get tough if you’re planning on hiking for several days, but there are tips and tricks all over the internet designed to help you get the most from the small space. In time, you’ll learn how to pack everything you need without overloading yourself.

If you’re new to backpacking, you may not know what weight limit is ideal for your backpack. Don’t worry! We’ve got all the information you need on how heavy you should be packing your backpack in our article here.

Add Some Padding

If you’ve tried everything else and the straps of your backpack are still causing some chafing, you may want to look into getting some padding.

Even if the backpack is on the heavier side, quality padding can at least keep the straps from chafing or digging into your skin too much. Essentially, backpack padding is an inexpensive way to give yourself a little more comfort.

That said, it’s still a good idea to try out the other tips I’ve listed here first. That way, you can potentially avoid back or shoulder problems down the road.

Treating Chafing Caused By A Backpack

Treating backpack-area chafing can be a bit easier than treating chafing in other areas. The best thing you can do for the chafed area is to stop wearing the backpack for a while.

This is an easy thing to do if you’re finishing a hike and plan on being home for a few days, but harder if you’re in the middle of a multi-day hike. If you’re on a multi-day hike, it’s a good idea to keep the area clean and dry. If you can, try to add a gentle moisturizer or some petroleum jelly to the chafed region.

Another option is to try to add some padding to the chafed area. That might mean thicker clothing, bandages, or even something like rags or bandanas under the straps. You might also choose to tie a sweatshirt or other piece of clothing around you to provide a buffer for your back. Pay close attention to the chafed area to make sure it isn’t getting more irritated. Make sure to rest the area as soon as you can.

How To Prevent Armpit Chafing

What Causes Armpit Chafing?

Skin-to-skin friction is often the cause of armpit chafing, but it can also occur when the skin ends up rubbing on certain materials. For example, if a shirt has gotten into the area and gotten damp from sweat or other factors.

This is another situation where what works on a day-to-day basis may not work so well when you’re hiking and working up a sweat. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies you can employ to solve the problem.

Preventing Armpit Chafing

Exfoliate Well

Dead skin cells can contribute to a lot of armpit-related issues, including bacterial growth, odor, and chafing. Healthy, exfoliated skin is less likely to have as many problems with chafing. Additionally, the area will be less prone to rashes or infections.

Remember, the armpits are a sensitive area. Sweat glands, lymph nodes, and nerves are more concentrated in this area. All of those things can mean that not only are infections a higher risk but also that they can be even more uncomfortable if an infection develops.

Regular exfoliation keeps the area cleaner, happier, and less likely to chafe. This habit might not stop you from chafing entirely, but it can help to limit just how bad things can get.

Moisturize

Most of us don’t really think about moisturizing our armpits that much. Generally, we tend to just get them clean and then add plenty of deodorants. However, moisturizing that area can really help when it comes to avoiding chafing and keeping the skin healthy in general.

You don’t even have to get too creative with what moisturizer you use. Something simple and scentless like Cetaphil or Cerave can get the job done perfectly. With regular moisturization, the skin in your armpits shouldn’t become irritated quite as easily.

Consider A New Deodorant

What might seem like armpit chafing might actually be a reaction to the deodorant you’re using. Think about whether or not you’ve used a new deodorant lately, even if it’s just a new scent of the same brand.

If you’ve tried some clothing changes and other products to solve the issue, then it might be time to consider a new deodorant. Aim for something that isn’t scented and doesn’t use too many unfamiliar ingredients. If you’re really confused about how to fix a deodorant reaction, make an appointment with your doctor.

Wear The Right Clothing

Like with other areas, armpit chafing can become more of a problem if you’re wearing clothing that doesn’t allow for enough airflow.

When possible, options like tank tops and sports bras can be ideal because they allow for the most airflow. That is to say – all of the airflow. Because of that, sweat can evaporate more easily and the skin can cool itself down more quickly. It also means that there aren’t any clothing items rubbing on the area.

If you’ve been noticing issues with armpit chafing, it might be a good idea to think about any shirts or other clothing items that might be chafing the skin or just keeping moisture trapped. If possible, try to choose clothing that doesn’t rest too close to the armpit.

I don’t know why, but this happens to me sometimes. My t-shirt can be pulled in such a way that the t-shirt fabric creates friction against my armpit. Finding a looser t-shirt will help a lot here.

This can be more difficult in cooler weather. After all, it is important to stay warm! If you enjoy hiking in the cold, you may want to get some synthetic shirts or even add some products to the mix to make sure chafing isn’t becoming a problem.

Try Products

Deodorant is the key product for just about everyone, whether they’re a hiker or not. If that’s not enough, you can also try out options like Body Glide, Vaseline, Petroleum Jelly, or Gold Bond Powder.

Before you decide to try some extra products, it’s worthwhile to think about what might be causing the armpit chafing. Are you experiencing a dry skin issue like eczema or psoriasis, or is it possible that heat and humidity are causing the problem? If it’s the latter, then you may want to opt for a powder or stick rather than something like Petroleum Jelly or Vaseline.

Armpit Chafing Treatment

The best thing you can do is change your conditions. Pay close attention to what might be causing the chafing and remove it. That might mean changing a shirt or bra or getting out of the heat and humidity. What’s most important is stopping the situation from getting any worse.

Once you’re able to, wash the area gently with some unscented soap and apply a scentless moisturizer to the area. The skin needs to be clean and healthy to start the healing process. If the chafed area is extremely sensitive, you can apply some petroleum jelly to it in order to provide a protective buffer.

How To Prevent Feet Chafing (Blisters)

hiker-holding-foot-with-tape-over-blistered-regions

What Causes Foot Chafing?

I’ve mentioned friction, heat, and moisture in relation to just about every chafed area. Those factors also apply to chafing of the feet, but the size and fit of your shoes can also play a huge role.

Shoes that don’t fit correctly or haven’t been broken in are more likely to rub on your skin. If you’ve experienced this then you know that it doesn’t take long for the skin to be rubbed raw. Socks that aren’t the correct material, or that are too thin, can also contribute to the problem by not providing a protective buffer.

Preventing Chafing Of The Feet

Wear The Right Shoes

Shoes that don’t fit quite right will lead to more friction inside the shoe. If the shoes are too small, then your skin will be pressed up against the sides and rub on whatever part of the shoe is closest. Meanwhile, shoes that are too big will provide less support, meaning that instead of staying in place, your toes and heels may end up crammed into one area.

Before you go hiking, be certain that you have shoes that fit correctly. Get the help of an employee if you need to. It also pays to make sure that the shoes you’re getting are breathable. Breathability helps to fight moisture buildup, and it allows your feet to dry more quickly if you end up having to walk through water at any point.

Get Hiking Socks

Cotton is an extremely common material when it comes to socks. Under normal circumstances, that’s perfectly fine. Cotton socks feel lovely, they have just the right amount of warmth, and they’re easy to wash.

I don’t know exactly why this is, but when I’ve hiked with cotton socks, I get blisters. When I hike with my wool hiking socks I don’t have the same problems. It could be because of the thinness of most cotton socks. I think the key takeaway is to find durable socks that can withstand the rigors of hiking.

Consider getting some socks that are designed for hiking. They may be a bit more expensive, but merino wool or a neoprene sock liner (learn more about using neoprene socks here) can help to protect your heat from both friction and moisture. They’re also likely to dry out more quickly if your feet sweat a lot or you have to walk through some water during your hiking journey.

You can learn more about if hiking socks actually matter, here.

Also, if you’ve wondered how many socks to bring with you a big hiking trip, check out our article here to find out what the people say.

Bring Some Foot First-Aid

Sometimes chafing can happen even if you’ve prepared as much as possible. It shouldn’t be a common occurrence, but it never hurts to bring along a few items to relieve pain or pressure in the feet. For example, you might bring Band-Aids, Neosporin, and Moleskin.

A note about Band-aids--I’ve noticed that the adhesive can actually cause more blisters than prevent. If you have a rash or chafing in a sensitive area (think hips, groin, etc) do not use a Band-aid or any other adhesive bandage (unless it’s a bandage for sensitive skin). Paper tape with gauze works a lot better and you can cover as large an area as you need.

It’s a good idea to bring a first aid kit on any hiking adventure you go on, so just make sure to add a few foot-specific items to your pack just to make sure any chafing that you might experience doesn’t cause too much injury.

Add Some Products To The Mix

When it comes to the feet, choosing well-fitted shoes and socks is the best way to solve any chafing problems. However, there are also some products you can try out to prevent blisters and friction.

Often, hikers may turn to products like Gold Bond or baby powder to eliminate excess moisture in the area. Additionally, Foot Glide is a version of Body Glide made specifically for feet. It may be worth trying out if you’re a fan of Body Glide for other areas.

If you’re choosing to use these kinds of products on your feet, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re washing them regularly. This isn’t such a big deal if you’re just going on a one-day hike and then heading home, but the buildup of different products can actually become a problem during multi-day hikes. Make sure you bring along some supplies to wash your feet regularly if you’re going to be on the trail for multiple days.

Treating Foot Chafing

Your number one priority for treating chafing is to get those shoes off. Let your feet breathe, get them cleaned up, and investigate the situation. If you notice that a hot spot is forming, get a bandage to cover it up. Your foot will heal in time, but the process will be faster if you protect the spot from further damage.

It’s not recommended that you pop any blisters if you find them. Popping blisters will put you at a higher risk of infection. When the area has healed enough, it will handle the blister in its own way.

Using a moleskin to surround a blistered area (you have to cut a hole in the moleskin the size and shape of the blister) can help protect the blister and relieve pain while you’re out on the trail. Moleskin and a small pair of scissors often can be found in a portable medkit.

If you feel that you absolutely need to pop the blister yourself, keep the hole small. Use an antibiotic ointment to protect the spot from infection and then cover it up with a bandage.

Hikers who want even more tips on how to prevent and heal blisters can take a deeper look by checking out our article on the topic right here.

Peter

Peter is a software developer who loves to take every opportunity to go outside that he can get. Peter grew up going on long backpacking excursions with his family every Summer and now enjoys staying at the beautiful Texas State Parks and swimming in the amazing Texas Rivers.

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