Chafing is a common problem that affects men and women of all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, this skin condition got nicknamed ‘chub rub’. The use of this term spreads the common misconception that only people with larger thighs suffer from chafing.
Some will feel their thighs burning only during the summer, others chronically. If you’re suddenly experiencing thigh chafing, you may be surprised… You feel like you have average-sized thighs, so why are you chafing? Here’s what people of all shapes and sizes need to know about so-called ‘chub rub’.
Is Chub Rub Normal?
Yes, thigh chafing is normal. While it is not comfortable, it is an incredibly common skin condition. Men and women, and even babies, of all different sizes, can suffer from chafed or irritated skin. This is particularly common around the inner thighs, groin, buttocks, and underarms. Basically, anywhere where there’s potential for skin to skin or even skin to clothing rubbing (this is why many male runners put bandaids over their nipples before a race!).
Chafing is caused by friction, and we’ve all experienced it. Even the fittest athletes have issues with skin friction and chafing. Think about it, muscular thighs are just as likely to rub as ‘thunder thighs’. While women are often the targets of ‘chub rub’ shaming, men suffer too. In fact, men are particularly susceptible to groin, thigh, and buttock chafing. No fun.
Even Celebrities Get Thigh Chafing
It turns out that when it comes to thigh chafing, celebrities are just like the rest of us! Celebs such as Beyoncé, Giuliana Rancic and Amy Schumer have all been open about their struggles with chafing. Beyoncé wears anti-chafing shorts under her clothing… but we think a pair of sexy lace Bandelettes thigh bands would better suit her! Amy Schumer has stated that she wears deodorant on her inner thighs to protect against chafing.
Yoga influencer Jessamyn Stanley used her Instagram platform to share her scars from years and years of chafing. Actor Kellan Lutz has also talked about his struggles with chafing while filming stunts.
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Why Do I Get Chafing Thighs?
There are many causes of chafing. Having larger thighs can certainly be a factor. However, research in Medical News Today uncovered many different causes. Here’s what we’ve discovered:
Common factors that cause thigh chafing:
Yes, excess body fat can make it easier for the inner thighs to rub together and cause friction. However, it’s far from the only cause.
Loose, excess skin after giving birth, or losing a significant amount of weight, can also be contributing factors to skin chafing.
Sports & Exercise
People who work out or play sports often experience chafing. The cause is repetitive actions, loose-fitting workout clothing, or excess moisture from sweat. In fact, resistance-trained athletes with muscular thighs are just as likely to have chronic chafing issues as someone with a little extra body fat! Why don’t they call it “buff rub?”
Badly Fitted Clothing
Clothes that don’t fit well can repeatedly rub and irritate the skin. Wearing clothes that are too tight can also result in rubbing or clothes cutting into the skin. If you’re wearing something tight, pay attention to where the seams. Seams located in areas that rub are a common chafing culprit. While loose fitted clothing can leave thighs exposed to rub directly against each other or the clothing.
Wearing Skirts or Dresses
Women who frequently wear skirts and dresses can experience chafing of the inner thighs. This is particularly common in the summer when we’d rather not wear pants or tights!
Sweat & Moisture
Sweat might just be the biggest cause of chafing, especially when combined with any of the other factors listed above. In addition to the moisture increasing friction, dried sweat leaves a layer of salt on the skin. This dried salt can ramp up the irritation and turn a fun summer day into… Ouch!
What Can You Do To Prevent Skin Chafing?
The American Academy Of Dermatology recommends wearing moisture-wicking, well-fitted clothes and avoiding cotton. This is because cotton soaks up sweat and moisture, which can lead to friction and chafing. You should stop your activity immediately if you experience pain or discomfort, or if your skin turns red.
Wearing anti-chafing shorts or thigh bands is a great way to prevent thighs from rubbing! Some have had success with certain creams and powders, but they tend to be messy or have an unpleasant smell. If you already have a chafing rash you’ll want to avoid anti-chafing creams and powders. These can be extremely painful if applied to already badly chafed skin. Check out our full guide to chafing treatments for more info.
Chub rub is an unfortunate term that’s stuck. But you should never feel shame because you suffer from inner thigh chafing. Learn more about the causes and treatments of chafing in our Ultimate Guide To Thigh Chafing.