What to Buy Fitness Gear The 12 Best Anti-Chafing Products of 2023 Fight friction and prevent irritation with standout products from Megababe, Knix, and more By Lacey Muinos Lacey Muinos Twitter Website Lacey is a professional writer living in Southern California. She specializes in fitness, nutrition and various health topics. She not only has a passion for healthy living, but she also practices what she preaches with her longtime vegan diet. Her work has been featured in Health, Simply Recipes, VeryWell Fit, and more. Lacey graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She is also host of Guide to Vegan, a blog focused on a plant-based lifestyle. health's editorial guidelines Updated on February 14, 2023 Medically reviewed by Susan Bard, MD Medically reviewed by Susan Bard, MD Susan Bard, MD, is a board-certified general and procedural dermatologist with the American Board of Dermatology and a Fellow of the American College of Mohs Surgery. learn more Fact checked by Richard Scherr Fact checked by Richard Scherr Rich Scherr is an updates strategist and fact checker for Dotdash Meredith brands, including Health and Verywell. He is a seasoned financial and technology journalist who served as editor-in-chief of the Potomac Tech Wire for nearly two decades, and is a regular contributor to the sports pages of The Baltimore Sun. He has also been a news editor for America Online and has contributed to the Associated Press and The Washington Post. health's fact checking process Share Tweet Pin Email We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Health / Brian Kopinski Even the silkiest, softest skin can become chafed from prolonged rubbing. Warmth, moisture, and friction lead to chafing, an uncomfortable form of skin irritation that makes your skin feel like it’s on fire. Though it commonly affects the inner thighs, this can happen all over the body, especially in places that sweat and rub against clothes like underarms, breasts, and feet. “Chafing is a common skin irritation caused by repetitive or prolonged rubbing on the skin, usually caused by body parts that rub against each other or ill-fitting clothes and fabrics that irritate your skin,” explains Melanie Palm, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Art of Skin MD in San Diego, California. “In mild cases, chafing can sting, burn, or look like a minor rash. In more severe cases of chafing, individuals may experience swelling or some bleeding.” Since preventing chafing is easier than treating it, anti-chafing products come in handy during blistering hot summers, long workouts, or when wearing shorts or dresses. Balms and creams are topical chafe prevention products that protect skin from chafing by allowing skin to glide instead of rub. Physical barriers like thigh bands and shorts are also options to minimize chafe-inducing friction. “Since chafing is primarily caused by friction, anti-chafing products can help by creating a barrier and keeping the affected area lubricated to minimize friction,” Dr. Palm says, adding that they’re safe for daily use. She recommends looking for hydrating formulas and being mindful of greasy formulas that may stain clothes. Our Recommendations Best Overall: Megababe Thigh Rescue Anti-Friction Stick Best Budget: Vaseline All-Over Body Balm Jelly Stick Best for Inner Thighs: Zone Naturals Chub Rub Best Gel: Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel Best Balm: Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm Best Powder: Megababe Body Dust Powder Best for Runners: RunGuard Natural Anti-Chafe Best for Cyclists: Chamois Butt’r Original Anti-Chafe Cream Best for Sensitive Skin: Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly Skin Protectant Best Thigh Bands: Bandelettes Original Anti-Chafing Thigh Bands Best for Feet: Body Glide Foot Glide Anti Blister Balm Best Shorts: Knix Thigh Saver Best Overall: Megababe Thigh Rescue Anti-Friction Stick Target Buy on Amazon Buy on Ulta Buy on Target Why We Like It: Dermatologist-recommended ingredients, such as zinc oxide and dimethicone, form a protective layer to reduce friction It’s Worth Noting: The formula melts easily, so you’ll need to store it in a cool place Chafing is caused by the uncomfortable combination of friction and moisture, and it commonly plagues the thighs. Megababe’s award-winning Thigh Rescue stick can be applied anywhere chafing occurs, but the thighs are where it really shines. The deodorant-style stick is easy to apply without getting your hands greasy, and the balm-like formula creates a barrier so thighs can comfortably glide instead of rub. It contains several ingredients Dr. Palm says to look for, including zinc oxide, dimethicone, vitamin E, and aloe. These ingredients “provide an effective protective layer for the skin,” she adds. The stick also comes in an unscented formula for sensitive skin, travel-friendly size, and men’s formula. Price at time of publication: $14 Product Details: Product type: StickSize: 2.12 ouncesBest for: Inner thighs Best Budget: Vaseline All-Over Body Balm Jelly Stick Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Target Why We Like It: This dermatologist-recommended formula moisturizes skin and prevents chafing on the go It’s Worth Noting: Petrolatum is notoriously greasy, so it may stain clothes Vaseline comes recommended by multiple dermatologists for its skin-lubricating properties. “Skin lubricants and salves like petroleum jelly can help prevent chafing by providing a barrier for the skin that lessens friction,” explains Nadir Qazi, DO, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and surgeon in Newport Beach, California. While Vaseline is traditionally packaged in a tub, this stick is travel-friendly and mess-free. It’s also fragrance-free and suitable for sensitive skin. Dr. Qazi adds that you should apply liberally to areas prone to chafing—this one is good for the full body, whether it’s your thighs or toes causing you irritation from friction. However, be mindful of areas that will come into contact with clothes because oil-based petrolatum can leave stains. Price at time of publication: $21 for a three-pack Product Details: Product type: StickSize: 1.4 ouncesBest for: Full bodyKey ingredients: PetrolatumScent: Fragrance-free Best for Inner Thighs: Zone Naturals Chub Rub Source: Zone Naturals Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Why We Like It: Made with all-natural ingredients, it’s a chemical-free option for those looking to avoid parabensIt’s Worth Noting: The oil-based formula has been known to cause some staining “Chub rub” is a term used to describe the discomfort caused by thighs rubbing together when you walk, run, or cycle. The term implies that it only affects people who are overweight, but Dr. Qazi clarifies that the dreaded “chub rub” can happen to anyone, regardless of their size. This aptly named anti-chafing stick seeks to end thigh chafing, but it can be used anywhere chafing or blisters occur. Like other anti-chafe products, the stick medium is easy to apply and travel-friendly. What sets this one apart, however, is the natural ingredients. Instead of a petrolatum- or dimethicone-based formulation, it’s powered by coconut oil and shea butter. These ingredients moisturize skin while giving it something to glide against—other than your own flesh. You’ll want to be mindful of the coconut oil, however, as it may feel greasy and stain clothing. Price at time of publication: $10 Product Details: Product type: StickSize: 1.5 ouncesBest for: Inner thighsKey ingredients: Coconut oil, shea butter, aloeScent: Fragrance-free Best Gel: Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Why We Like It: It relieves irritation and protects skin from further friction without leaving behind greasy residue or stains It’s Worth Noting: Dimethicone could potentially clog pores in acne-prone skin Thighs aren’t the only place that gets chafed. Breasts, underarms, and bikini areas experience irritation and rashes from sweating and friction, and this powder gel by Monistat is safe for use in those areas. It goes on like a lotion but dries into a clear powder, so it feels comfortable on the skin without leaving any residue. It also doesn’t stain clothes like some greasy formulations since it’s dimethicone-based. However, those with acne-prone skin may find that dimethicone could clog pores. Price at time of publication: $6 Product Details: Product type: Powder gelSize: 1.5 ouncesBest for: Under arms, breasts, bikini area, inner thighsKey ingredients: DimethiconeScent: Fragrance-free The 16 Best Anti-Itch Creams of 2023 Best Balm: Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Buy on Target Why We Like It: It’s sweat- and water-resistant, so you don’t have to reapply It’s Worth Noting: The balmy formula can feel a little sticky on the skin According to the dermatologists we spoke to, preventing chafing is a lot easier than treating it. Neil Farnsworth, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with Westlake Dermatology, recommends this stick balm for preventing the uncomfortable side effects of chafing. “Body Glide can be very helpful where friction can be anticipated or caught early,” he says. The formula contains capric triglyceride, a cross between coconut oil and glycerin, to prevent skin from rubbing against clothing, shoes, or skin. It’s water- and sweat-resistant, so it’s great for active lifestyles. While it’s not greasy, it may stain some fabrics or feel sticky. Price at time of publication: $9 Product Details: Product type: BalmSize: 1.5 ouncesBest for: Thighs, neck, armsKey ingredients: Vitamin E, capric triglycerideScent: Unscented Best for Sweat Relief: Monistat Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Ulta Buy on Target Why We Like It: It’s free of talc, which could pose some concerns when inhaled It’s Worth Noting: Powder can be difficult to apply, so you may need to purchase a powder puff for easy application The culprit behind chafing? The combo of moisture and friction, which could lead to rashes. This is why parents often keep products like baby powder on hand to soak up moisture and prevent skin from rubbing under baby necks and rolls. Chafing affects people of all ages, and baby powder isn’t just for babies. Still, many are hesitant to use baby powder for chafing because of the presence of tricalcium phosphate (aka talc), which is unsafe when inhaled. This powder-based anti-chafe product from Megababe is a talc-free alternative. The key ingredient is corn starch, which is effective at soaking up excess moisture, such as sweat. It also gives skin a velvety texture to reduce irritation from friction. You can apply this anywhere sweat causes chafing, such as the underarms, though a cloud of powder may surround you while you apply. Price at time of publication: $20 Product Details: Product type: PowderSize: 6 ouncesBest for: Under arms, breasts, thighsKey ingredients: Corn starch, aloe, chamomileScent: Lavender Best for Runners: RunGuard Natural Anti-Chafe Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: It’s formulated for runners and athletes, so it’s ideal for protecting feet, thighs, and underarms from chafing It’s Worth Noting: Though it’s labeled as a plant-based product, it contains beeswax, which isn’t vegan-friendly Runners are no strangers to chafing. Long walks, runs, and hikes can be brutal on the inner thighs, which can become raw and irritated from rubbing together. And the excess sweat doesn’t help. “While anyone who experiences chafing can benefit from anti-chafing products, we commonly see chafing in those who practice endurance sports like running and biking,” Dr. Palm says, adding that chafing is especially common for individuals who live in hot or humid climates. Since the formula contains beeswax, it may feel thick and sticky. It may not glide on as easily as other products, but this may lend to its long-lasting protection. Price at time of publication: $12 Product Details: Product type: StickSize: 1.4 ouncesBest for: Neck, feet, under arms, thighsKey ingredients: Beeswax, coconut oil, shea butterScent: Unscented The 15 Best Workout Leggings of 2023 Best for Cyclists: Chamois Butt’r Original Anti-Chafe Cream Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on REI Why We Like It: Developed by cyclists for cyclists, this anti-chafe cream softens and protects skin without a greasy residue or clothing discoloration It’s Worth Noting: It’s a lot pricier compared to other option Firm bicycle seats aren’t the most comfortable place to rest your glutes and groin. Many cyclists opt for biker shorts with a built-in chamois pad, providing comfort and protection against chafing while cycling. This anti-chafe cream works similarly. It doesn’t add physical padding but softens skin and forms a protective layer to prevent chafing and irritation from long rides. Despite being popular in the cycling community, even among professionals, this product is versatile. It’s beneficial for all types of athletes, but it’s not just limited to sports. This cream will come in handy for anyone who experiences skin chafing from any activity. With thousands of positive reviews, we know this product works, but it comes at a steeper price than other options. Price at time of publication: $18 Product Details: Product type: CreamSize: 8 ouncesBest for: Anywhere you experience chafingKey ingredients: Aloe, vitamin E, mineral oil, lanolinScent: Fragrance-free Best for Sensitive Skin: Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly Skin Protectant Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Walmart Buy on Target Why We Like It: With just one ingredient—petrolatum—Vaseline is likely a safe bet for those with sensitive skin It’s Worth Noting: You should expect a greasy residue and potential clothing stains Vaseline has a million and one uses, and protection against chafing skin is one of them. The classic tub is powered by one simple ingredient—100 percent petrolatum—to lubricate and protect skin. While some anti-chafe products contain potential irritants, Vaseline is suitable for sensitive skin. “Those who regularly experience chafing can apply Vaseline to create a protective film over sensitive areas,” says Dr. Palm. If you have very sensitive skin, perform a patch test before applying all over. And, you’ll want to be aware of the greasy residue that Vaseline typically leaves behind on your skin and clothes. Price at time of publication: $8 Product Details: Product type: JellySize: 3.75 ouncesBest for: Full bodyKey ingredients: PetrolatumScent: None Best Thigh Bands: Bandelettes Original Anti-Chafing Thigh Bands Amazon Buy on Amazon Why We Like It: The design is attractive, and the soft lace creates a comfortable and form-fitting layer of protection between delicate inner thighs It’s Worth Noting: They may roll down during use, and the fabric may not withstand the test of time One way to prevent chafing? Prevent skin from touching at all. This can be done by wearing form-fitting clothing, though this sometimes isn’t possible for those who opt to wear loose-fitting garments like shorts and dresses. One solution is to wear thigh bands—materials that fit tightly around the thighs to reduce rubbing. “Some undergarments made of lightweight fabrics can be worn under clothing to help reduce friction,” says Jill Salyards, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Knoxville, Tennessee. These by Bandelettes are a popular option for their attractive design and soft fabric. Two strips of non-slip silicone prevent them from slipping, but they may slide or roll down when you move. They also come in a range of sizes and colors to choose from. Price at time of publication: $21 Product Details: Product type: Thigh bandsSize range: S-XXXLBest for: Inner thighsMaterial: Nylon, spandex Best for Feet: Body Glide Foot Glide Anti Blister Balm Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Dick's Buy on REI Why We Like It: Prevents foot blisters and chafing before long walks, runs, or hikes It’s Worth Noting: It’s pricey for a small amount of product When it comes to chafing, the feet are no exception. Chafing usually occurs during physical activity. In addition to foot aches and pains, you may experience blisters and rashes from skin rubbing against your footwear. Applying this Body Glide formulated specifically for the feet can help. The formula is similar to the original Body Glide, but the feet don’t experience friction from skin-to-skin contact. So, this one is formulated to reduce friction against socks and shoes—even high heels. Apply this to the toes, heels, soles, balls of the feet, and backs of the ankles to lessen irritation from uncomfortable footwear. This is especially helpful for people whose professions involve being on their feet all day, such as nurses. Price at time of publication: $9 Product Details: Product type: BalmSize: 0.8 ouncesBest for: FeetKey ingredients: Vitamin E, vitamin C, capric triglyceride, apricot kernel oilScent: Fragrance-free Best Shorts: Knix Thigh Saver Knix Buy on Knix Why We Like It: Heat-bonded seams ensure no harsh lines under clothes, even tight leggings It’s Worth Noting: The price is fairly steep If you like the idea of thigh bands but worry about them slipping, shorts are the next best thing. “Protective clothing like longer shorts can help against chafing,” Dr. Qazi says. Anti-chafing shorts like the Knix Thigh Saver are designed to hug the thighs while remaining discreet under clothing. These shorts are made of stretchy but seamless material, so they fit comfortably without showing harsh lines. The heat-bonded seams guarantee a perfect fit under tight clothes. “Wearing properly fitted clothes that cover body parts prone to chafing can prevent discomfort,” Dr. Palm says. “During exercise, it helps to wear moisture-wicking clothing to prevent your skin from becoming damp, which can make chafing worse.” Fortunately, these eliminate sweat (though they don’t protect against leaks, like period underwear). The six-inch long-leg protection also protects your skin from coming into contact with surfaces you don’t want to sit on while in a dress. They come in a shorter four-inch length, too. Price at time of publication: $36 Product Details: Product type: ShortsSize range: XS-XXXXLBest for: Inner thighsMaterial: Nylon, lycra, cotton, spandex, carbon The 9 Best Invisible Deodorants of 2023, Tested and Reviewed How We Selected the Best Anti-Chafing Products We started our research process by speaking with a few experts to select the best anti-chafing products. Namely, we sought the helpful advice of board-certified dermatologists and asked them how anti-chafing products could help prevent and soothe skin irritation. The dermatologists we spoke to shared very similar criteria for choosing an effective anti-chafe product, which revolves heavily around the ingredients. With their criteria in mind, we considered dozens of the top-selling anti-chafing products sold on online retailers. From product descriptions to ingredient lists, we consumed every bit of information to better understand how the product works and who it’s best for. Product type and price were also factors. Though most topical anti-chafing products come in deodorant-like stick tubes, we also included balms, creams, gels, and powders, as well as undergarments like thigh bands and shorts. To ensure there is an anti-chafing product for all budgets, we included options at various price points. Ultimately, we were left with a list of the top dozen anti-chafing products to help narrow the search. Our selection includes a wide variety for all body parts and people. What to Know About Anti-Chafing Products How to Prevent Chafing It’s easier to prevent chafing than to heal it, according to Dr. Salyards, who recommends using anti-chafing products to get ahead of irritation and rashes. “There are a few ways to help prevent chafing,” he says, recommending the following forms of prevention: Choose clothing that protects skin from touching, such as shorts or thigh bands to protect the thighs under dresses. Shower after exercising to wash away sodium in sweat that can contribute to skin irritation.Keep the skin dry with powders or antiperspirants. Deodorant is an affordable anti-chafing product.Use anti-chafing creams that create a barrier to protect skin and decrease friction.Wear properly fitting garments, including footwear and athletic gear like wetsuits. During exercise, choose moisture-wicking fabrics. How to Treat Chafing While anti-chafe products and measures are key to prevention, sometimes chafing is inevitable. When you experience skin rashes from chafing, it’s important to treat it immediately, especially if the skin is broken. Try to avoid touching the area often, and treat it like you would any skin rash. “It’s crucial to treat chafing to prevent further irritation and infection,” Dr. Qazi says. “Clean and gently dry the affected area thoroughly. With mild cases, a simple over-the-counter antibiotic ointment like Neosporin is a good place to start. If your chafing is severe and you have a lot of pain or bleeding, you may need to see your doctor to determine a stronger treatment, like a steroidal cream.” You can also use lubricating and soothing topical products like Vaseline or diaper rash cream. This will soothe any redness and prevent further rubbing. “If at-home measures to treat chafing don’t alleviate your symptoms within 36 hours, seek out a board-certified dermatologist or doctor for further evaluation,” says Dr. Farnsworth. Intended Activity Chafing is commonly associated with physical activity, but it can happen to anyone—not just runners, cyclists, and other athletes. Still, priming skin with chafe protection products is probably a good idea for anyone planning long walks, runs, or bike rides. You can also gear up with anti-chafing products before wearing certain protective gear, such as wetsuits, footwear, and face masks. “Common activities are sports, particularly endurance sports where there is repetitive movement combined with sweating and tight clothing,” Dr. Salyards says, adding that large builds from being obese or muscular can also be contributors. Your clothing and the weather may also dictate whether it’s a good time to use anti-chafe products. Wearing shorts or dresses, for example, allows the thighs to rub together, which could lead to chafing. Similarly, hot environments could increase sweat production, a common cause of skin chafing. “Everyone can benefit from anti-chafe products, especially those living in humid environments or maintaining an active outdoor lifestyle,” says Dr. Qazi. Body Parts Chafing can occur anywhere on the body that skin rubs together or against fabrics from clothing, footwear, and protective gear. However, some areas are more prone to chafing than others. “We commonly see chafing in the inner thighs or buttocks, although it can occur in other areas of the body,” Dr. Palm says. Foot blisters may be a side effect of skin chafing against footwear, for example. Breastfeeding mothers also experience chafing on the breasts and nipples. Even wearing face masks could cause chafing on the face. “Apply anti-chafing products to the areas prone to rubbing, such as the inner thighs, armpits, inner arms, and wherever clothing seams or tags rub against the skin,” recommends Dr. Qazi. Unfortunately, it may take experience skin chafing yourself for you to learn where you need to apply anti-chafe products. Key Ingredients and Formula The ingredients are among the most important criteria for choosing anti-chafe products, according to the dermatologists we spoke to. They commonly recommended the following key ingredients to protect skin from chafing and soothe irritation: Zinc oxidePetrolatumDimethiconeVitamin EAloe Zinc oxide has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, making it beneficial for skin protection, according to a 2014 review in Dermatology Research and Practice. To reduce pain and irritation from chafing, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying petroleum jelly, or petrolatum, to the affected area. Other ingredients, such as dimethicone, vitamin E, and aloe soften and soothe skin. Other ingredients, such as corn starch and kaolin clay, are recommended for absorbing sweat and moisture. “When looking for an anti-chafe product, it’s important to select one that provides an effective protective layer for the skin,” Dr. Palm says, recommending the ingredients mentioned above. She also notes that it’s important to avoid certain ingredients. “With any skincare or personal care product that you’re using regularly, I recommend looking for formulations that are free from phthalates, which are an endocrine disruptor that can cause certain cancers, developmental issues, and decreased fertility.” Your Questions, Answered What is the best product to use for chafing? The best anti-chafing product for you, well, depends on you. What works for one person may not work for another, Dr. Qazi reminds us. For example, someone who wants to prevent chafing between the thighs when wearing a skirt may benefit from a different product than someone running a marathon. Dr. Salyards recommends choosing an anti-chafing product based on the cause of your chafing. “If the cause of the chafing is due to sweating or excess moisture, especially in the groin or under the breasts, then a powder formulation may be a better option as it can absorb a lot of the moisture,” he says. “If the problem is strictly friction, find a gel or stick that has more lubricating ingredients like petrolatum or dimethicone.” Regardless, he recommends unscented or fragrance-free formulations for those with sensitive skin. How do you cure chafing ASAP? To get immediate relief from chafing, keep the area clean. Pat it dry, being careful not to rub, before applying chafe relief or ointment to soothe irritation and redness. While chafing takes some time to heal, you should experience relief fairly quickly if you keep the area clean to prevent infection and prevent further rubbing from making irritation worse. Apply a layer of antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly to expedite healing and keep skin moisturized. How do anti-chafing products work? “Anti-chafe products work by reducing friction and adding a protective layer to the skin, thus reducing the amount of repeated rubbing and chafing,” explains Dr. Qazi. Depending on the type of product, it may work a little differently. For example, undergarments like thigh bands and shorts reduce chafing by preventing contact between the inner thighs. Other anti-chafe products, such as powders, absorb excess moisture that leads to uncomfortable chafing. Can you use anti-chafing products on sensitive skin or irritated skin? Those with sensitive skin may need to choose their anti-chafe products more carefully. Most are unscented and fragrance-free to avoid further irritation, which is usually a must for sensitive skin. “Assuming you don’t have any allergic reactions to an anti-chafe product, it is generally considered safe to use daily,” Dr. Palm says. “If you’re concerned about whether an anti-chafe product will result in a negative reaction or irritate your skin, it’s best to patch test it for 24 hours first.” Another consideration is potentially pore-clogging ingredients for those with acne-prone skin. Dr. Palm says dimethicone and petrolatum are occlusive and comedogenic, so they’re more likely to cause breakouts. “Be mindful of this before applying anti-chafe products to certain areas of the body,” she says. How much do anti-chafing products typically cost? Anti-chafing products are priced all across the board. The type of product heavily influences the price. Topical balms, creams, and powders typically range between $7 and $17, though they can cost as little as $4 or as much as $20. Undergarments like thigh bands and shorts will run you between $20 and $40. Who We Are Lacey Muinos is a health and wellness writer who masters a variety of topics from acne treatments to gut health and more. She has personally tested and reported on a variety of products, such as air fryers and moisturizers. Between in-depth research and expert interviews, she’s adept at finding information and getting it in front of the people who need it most. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Gupta M, Mahajan VK, Mehta KS, Chauhan PS. Zinc therapy in dermatology: a review. Dermatol Res Pract. 2014;2014:709152. doi:10.1155/2014/709152 American Academy of Dermatology Association. 5 ways to use petroleum jelly for skin care.