That’s right — it’s prevention and protection at all costs. The best thing you can do to avoid beach chafe is to stop it from happening in the first place. So, when the part of the day comes where you’re done swimming or you’re going back to your car, change into a fresh, pair of swim clothes. This way, you won’t be holding sand against your body for too long. Even if you cut out your bathing suit lining little bits of sand can still get trapped in your trunks and rub against your skin.
If possible, use warm or cool water to soothe your injured skin. “A lot of people use tea tree oil and that could actually be quite helpful for chafing,” notes Dr. Howe. Tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that could help treat the underlying causes of chafing. Apply a few drops of the oil to the area with a cotton pad or mix a few drops with some coconut oil to help moisturize the area as well. Another strategy that works well, especially for those that are prone to chaffing is to use some form of petroleum jelly such as Vaseline.
Chafing isn’t just going to be caused by this and your swim trunks, but you can also start to chafe wearing cotton-based shirts on the beach and ocean. When you wear those shirts to stay warm and dry off, that saltwater and sand will start to be absorbed by the cotton, increasing the aggravation with every movement. On the other hand, our editors swear by Aquaphor (and lots of it!) as a post-chafing treatment. This should go into your race-day bag, not as a preventative measure, but as something you’ll almost certainly need after you take that brutal post-race shower.
Powders absorb sweat and oil without drying out the skin, plus they nix odor and work as a lubricant for your upper thighs. I prefer using a powder when I wear pants (as opposed to a powder-based cream when I wear shorts, which you’ll see in the next tip). Since the powder absorbs moisture, it eliminates any threat of chafing in the first place. It’s just a little messy if you’re wearing shorts, because it tends to sprinkle out the bottom.
Well-fitting clothing that stays in place as you move will absorb the friction that would otherwise go right to your skin cells. A tight-fitting baselayer can do the trick while you’re running or cycling. If you experience inner thigh chafing while doing everyday activities, try fitted bike shorts or slip-on bands designed to cover areas that would otherwise rub together. There are plenty of anti-chafe products that you can purchase that will help minimise the chances of your thighs chafing at the beach.
Saltwater often accelerates the on-set of swimsuit chafe. Sea salt is often use for skin cleansing or even therapeutic baths but they’re never left on the skin for onion and gout prolonged periods of time. The continuous skin friction of an open water ocean swim, surfing or other salt water activity is prime conditions for swimsuit chafe.