Prevention is key.

By Maria Masters and Rebecca Deczynski
Updated May 19, 2021
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After months of chilly weather, warm temperatures make it all the more exciting to pull out your favorite shorts and sundresses. But unfortunately, this wardrobe swap can come with a much-dreaded side effect: Thigh burn. The irritation that develops between your legs after a day moving around in the summer heat can make it painful to walk. Luckily, this can be prevented by using one of the best anti-chafing products.

"Chafing is caused by friction—skin on skin friction or fabric on skin friction. This can further be exacerbated by sweating," explains dermatologist Susan Bard, MD. This is precisely why summertime is the season of thigh chafe. Shorter hemlines make it easier for skin to rub together, and high temperatures means it's more likely you'll break a sweat, whether you're going for a jog or just running errands. Luckily, this kind of irritation can be prevented by applying an anti-chafe cream or other lubricant directly to your skin before going outside, Dr. Bard tells Health.

A pair of shorts or other shapewear that adds a layer of fabric between skin that would otherwise rub together can also minimize chafing, dermatologist Lily Adelzadeh, MD, adds. But she acknowledges that this might not always be a possible solution in situations where high temperatures make an extra layer undesirable or your outfit can't accommodate it. In those cases, opting for a topical product is your best bet.The most important thing is finding what works for you and your lifestyle, because, as dermatologist Adam Mamelak, MD, says: "The best treatment for chafing is prevention." These eight anti-chafe products will keep your inner thighs smooth and rash-free, allowing you to wear all the shorts and dresses you want this summer.

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Chafing Relief Powder Gel
Credit: Amazon

Top-Rated: Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm

Buy It, $10

Dr. Adelzadeh and Dr. Mamelak both recommend this balm stick, which has over 15,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. The petroleum-free product contains vitamin E to soothe skin and  has a nongreasy finish. “I never thought I would be able to wear shorts, skirts, or dresses comfortably in warmer weather, until now,” wrote one shopper. “ It goes on like deodorant, has no scent, and is clear on the skin. It kind of feels like dried candle wax but lightweight. Glide is the perfect word for how my thighs feel.”

Chafing Relief Powder Gel
Credit: Amazon

Best Budget-Friendly: Gold Bond Friction Defense Stick

Recommended by Dr. Mamelak, Gold Bond’s chafe-preventing stick is great for long walks or runs in hot, humid weather because it, contains aloe to soothe skin and prevent irritation. A single tube costs just over $5, and according to Amazon reviewers, it works just as well as more expensive brands. “I used to wear Spanx under my dresses to avoid the dreaded thigh chafing. BUT NO MORE,” said one. “This stuff is a life saver in the heat and humidity. It completely stops chafing and it is so light and soft, you don't even notice it on your skin. A couple swipes and you are set for a few hours in the heat. Sweating and swimming will take it off, so bring it along in your beach bag.”

Chafing Relief Powder Gel
Credit: Target

Best for Sensitive Skin: Megababe Thigh Rescue Anti-Chafe Stick

Buy It, $14

Megababe’s plant-based anti-chafe stick, recommended by Dr. Adelzadeh, contains several hydrating, skin-soothing ingredients like aloe, pomegranate oil, and grapeseed oil, making it ideal for sensitive skin. It also has a light citrus scent that gives it a summery feel. “This stuff works. Period,” wrote a reviewer on Target.com. “I’ll apply it when I’m getting dressed and that’s it. I don’t have to worry about reapplying, chafing, having raw inner thighs...it’s taken care of!”

Chafing Relief Powder Gel
Credit: Amazon

Best for Working Out: Trislide Anti-Chafe Continuous Spray Skin Lubricant

If you’re a runner or a cycler, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced painful chafing at some point over the course of your training. Luckily, Trislide’s anti-chafe spray, which comes with Dr. Mamelak’s stamp of approval, is a liquid silicone-based product that lubricates skin to prevent irritation and blistering. The stuff really lasts—which is why even triathletes give it a thumbs up. “This spray has absolutely saved me,” said one. “I learned the best way to apply is with enough that it feels ‘slick’ or ‘wet,’ then let dry (does so fairly quickly). Then after five hours of constant swim, bike, run, I can bask in the pleasure of being CHAFE FREE! Woots! I even did back-to-back races one weekend because...no chafe!”

Chafing Relief Powder Gel
Credit: Amazon

Best Natural: Squirrel's Nut Butter All Natural Anti Chafe Salve

Buy It, $13

This anti-chafing stick is made with just four simple ingredients: coconut oil, cocoa seed butter, beeswax, and vitamin E. While it’s designed specifically for chafing, it can also be used for a number of other skin concerns like dryness, eczema, razor burn, and even diaper rash. Amazon shoppers are impressed: “This is my go-to anti-chafing cream for the rest of my running days. The cream glides on easily from the stick. It has a light, pleasant scent (a little like cocoa butter). And I am very, very happy to report that I have had ZERO chafing issues since using the product.”

Chafing Relief Powder Gel
Credit: Amazon

Best for Sweat Relief: Monistat Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel

Buy It, $6 (was $8)

Facing some seriously humid weather? A powder gel, like this option from Monistat, can help you stay dry and chafe-free. The nongreasy cream formula dries quickly and smoothly, and according to nearly 1,300 five-star reviewers on Amazon, it effectively prevents and relieves chafing. “I bought it to use on vacation in Florida, knowing I would be wearing shorts and a bathing suit,” said one. “I have sensitive skin and easily get that ‘chub rub’ but this stuff made my legs glide against each other like velvet, and it lasted for several hours and I didn't break out in uncomfortable red bumps on my inner thighs like I normally do after shaving and wearing shorts. I would HIGHLY recommend this gel!”

Chafing Relief Powder Gel
Credit: Amazon

Best Anti-Chafe Shorts: Bestena Slip Shorts

Buy It, $11

If you’d rather skip a topical skin product, then you can follow Dr. Adelzadeh’s advice and slip on a pair of shorts under your dress or skirt. This pair comes in sizes small through 3XL and black, white, and light tan color options. It’s also a number one best-seller on Amazon. “Lightweight and cool, but great for under dresses and skirts,” a five-star reviewer wrote. “Long enough so there's no thigh chafing, but not a bulky layer in the heat. No compression, just smoothing for no panty lines.”

Chafing Relief Powder Gel
Credit: Amazon

Best Thigh Bands: Bandelettes Original Elastic Anti-Chafing Thigh Bands

Buy It, $19

These fabric bands have the same anti-chafing protection as shorts would, but offer a little more ventilation, which is ideal for hot temperatures. They’re made of a stretchy nylon and spandex blend, and they stay in place thanks to two rows of nonslip silicone. Plus, you can choose from 17 colors, including some more decorative lace options. “They are comfortable, breathable, and I like the rubber lining strip that holds them in place,” wrote one of more than 3,000 five-star reviewers on Amazon. “I have HORRIBLE chub rub that often leaves me swollen and raw from sweating or fabric rubbing, so these seem so far to be a life saver!”