If you’re dreaming of beach days and board shorts, margaritas on the patio and Instagram-worthy pool floaties, you’re not alone. What probably isn’t part of your summer dreams is chafing, something people of all genders deal with during the hotter months. But particularly, folks with testicles may find that skin irritation happens in extra-delicate areas, which can put a bit of a damper on your plans.
Great news: We spoke with two dermatologists who agree chafing is 100% preventable with the right products and lifestyle changes. They shared their tried-and-true tips, advice for treating chafing if you already have it, and when a doctor should take a look at your goods, just to be safe.
Here’s the rub
People who experience chafing probably already know this, but it’s caused by a simple combination: moisture plus friction. Thanks to all the water, sweat and outdoor activities summer brings, it’s no surprise it also happens to be chafing season.
“Chafing is due to friction and moisture inherent to this area. When you get rubbing of skin on skin, it can disrupt the skin barrier and cause it to be red and irritated and sting,” said Dr. Muneeb Shah, chief resident of dermatology at Campbell University in North Carolina. “It’s uncomfortable of course and can really affect someone’s quality of life or ability to exercise, and it does have long-term consequences because a lot of people will develop hyperpigmentation in this area, especially if they have skin of color.”
Chafing can lead to other issues, too.
“While not dangerous, skin breakdown can sometimes result in burning, itching and pain to affected areas which can be very uncomfortable to many,” said Dr. Adeline Kikam, a board-certified dermatologist (and educator focusing on skin of color). “It also puts one at risk of skin infection since the skin barrier is compromised.”
Shah said if you notice any unusual skin irritation down under, it’s best to have a doctor examine it to make sure it really is just chafing. “There are a lot of rashes that can develop in the groin area that can be bacterial, fungal, yeast or genetic conditions. Any time you see irritation in that area, it’s good to get a diagnosis and make sure it’s not something more serious,” Shah added.
Small changes stop chafing
If dampness and rubbing are what bring the pain, then making some simple lifestyle changes can help.
On top of applying anti-chafing products before you leave the house, Kikam recommends opting for moisture-wicking clothing (like polyester undies over cotton), wearing seamless or loose-fitting clothing to reduce friction, changing out of sweaty clothes or bathing suits ASAP to reduce moisture, and applying anti-chafing products before leaving the house.
Anti-chafing products that’ll help
These are the products both docs say will keep chafing at bay so you can enjoy the perfect summer day.
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