Chapping and chafing happen when something rubs us the wrong way – usually the weather or ourselves. Chafing is the result of something rubbing against our skin and making it sore. Often, we first not chaffing after we have been walking, jogging or biking. The areas between your legs, under your arms or across your posterior develop welts where clothes rub against the skin and scrape it raw.
1. Switch to Cotton clothes
If this is your problem, first try switching to all cotton clothing. Wool, nylon or any of the other synthetic-blend fabrics, may act like sandpaper on sensitive skin, especially when exercising.
2. Use a lubricant
Try a good lube job before setting out on your morning walk or run. Lather up the insides of your thighs, arms, or anywhere clothing may be rubbing against your skin using a lubricant such as petroleum jelly.
3. Talcum Powder
A liberal sprinkling of talcum powder can also reduce the friction. You might stick an adhesive bandage over sore spots until they heal. Some people, particularly those who are overweight, wrap each thigh with an elastic bandage. Until people lose extra pounds, this skin on the inside of the thighs is susceptible to chafing during the early stages of an exercise program.
Later, when you have slimmed down some, try switching to athletic tights or cycling shorts that stretch and fit snugly. These will stop the friction and chafing.
4. Stay out of water
Chapped skin, especially on your hands, is common during winter. The best way to help dry, red, cracked and stinging hands is to keep them out of the water. Too much washing deprives the skin of its natural protective oils.
Add a little bath oil to a quick bath in tepid water. Consider taking only sponge baths until the chapping clears up. Go lightly with the soap, preferably something mild with a little cold cream in it. And even then, wash your hands sparingly.
Use your chapped hands as a legitimate excuse to get someone else to do the dishes.
5. Keep your Skin Moisturized
While avoiding water, remember to moisturize your skin. Use some petroleum jelly or oil-based lotion on the soreness right after you have washed. Once the chapping has cleared, continue moisturizing your skin for another three or four weeks to prevent recurrence.
6. Try These old-fashioned remedies
Two old-fashioned home remedies that still outshine some of the so-called miracle cures on the market are oatmeal and lemon oil. Run a cup of uncooked, rolled oats through a blender until it’s in powder form. Then ‘scrub’ your hands in the oatmeal powder to remove dead skin. Afterward, wash lightly and apply a good layer of hand cream. Mix a few drops of lemon oil with a little glycerin (available at most drugstores). Massage in the mixture before bedtime.
However, avoid getting the acid-like juices of lemons or other citrus fruit on your chapped hands. They will only further irritate your skin. The same is true of the juices of vegetables such as onions, tomatoes or potatoes.
By the way, as long as you are in the kitchen with all these foods, reach for the can of Crisco. For years, chapped hands sufferers have sworn by this simple, effective remedy.