Inner Thigh Chafing: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Home remedies may help prevent, soothe, and heal chafing between the legs. Here's what you need to know about preventing and treating inner thigh chafing.

Inner thigh chafing is a common skin irritation that can happen when your inner thighs rub against each other. Clothes that irritate your skin can also cause chafing. The friction damages your skin and causes discomfort.

You might experience inner thigh chafing from working out, walking to the store, or even sitting cross-legged. There are several ways you can treat and prevent inner thigh chafing.

Inner thigh chafing causes

Skin-to-skin contact can cause inner thigh chafing. This is especially common for women who wear skirts or dresses. The thighs rub against each other more because there's no barrier between them. Friction from clothing or underwear can also cause chafing between the legs.

Chafing can happen or worsen from:

  • sweat, wetness, or moisture
  • heat and humidity
  • walking, running, or cycling
  • exercise
  • crossing your legs while sitting
  • having large thigh muscles
  • being overweight
  • wearing skirts or dresses, thin leggings, or tight clothing like underwear
  • wearing cotton or other fabrics that absorb moisture
  • rough or heavy fabrics
  • baby or toddler diapers
  • adult diapers
  • poorly fitting clothing
  • shaving and hair removal
Symptoms of inner thigh chafing

Chafing can damage the skin on your inner thighs. This can lead to skin irritation and inflammation. You may experience:

  • redness
  • itching
  • rash
  • blisters
  • boils
  • oozing
  • pain
  • burning
  • swelling
  • hyperpigmentation
Inner thigh chafing treatment

There are several home remedies that help to soothe and heal inner thigh chafing. Before applying any treatment, be sure to clean the area first. Avoid scratching itchy skin.

Petroleum jelly

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using petroleum jelly to help treat and prevent thigh chafing. Cover the irritated skin and any blisters with a small amount of petroleum jelly. This helps to protect the area, and may help it heal faster.

Lip balm

Lip balms contain petroleum jelly and other moisturizers. It works the same way to help soothe inner thigh chafing. Dab a small amount on the area.

Powders

Applying powder helps keep your inner thighs dry and soothes itching. Sprinkle and gently pat on a small amount of:

  • baby powder
  • arrowroot powder
  • cornstarch

Itching remedies

Soothe itching and cool redness with home remedies, including:

  • aloe vera gel
  • oatmeal moisturizer
  • cold or ice pack

Also, look for over-the-counter creams and medications for itching at your local pharmacy:

  • antihistamine cream
  • antihistamine tablets (allergy drugs)
  • corticosteroid cream

Other skin treatment

Other products that soothe and heal inner thigh chafing include:

  • antibacterial ointment
  • hydrogel
  • silicone gel sheets
  • soft-wrap bandage
  • non-stick gauze
  • stick-on moleskin
  • wet dressing
Baby thigh chafing

Babies and toddlers can also get inner thigh chafing. This can happen from diapers, clothing, or wetness and moisture on the skin. Preventing a diaper rash may also help stop thigh chafing.

Try these tips to help prevent and treat your baby's inner thigh chafing:

  • Use soft cloth diapers.
  • Change a wet or dirty diaper immediately.
  • Avoid using alcohol-based or scented wipes.
  • Use a soft cloth and sterile water for wiping.
  • Apply petroleum jelly or other creams to protect skin.
  • Use mild soap for bathing.
  • Avoid rubbing your baby's skin too hard.
  • Dress your baby in soft, loose clothing.
  • Avoid washing clothing in harsh detergents.
How to prevent inner thigh chafing

There are several ways to help prevent inner thigh chafing. Try adding one or more of these simple steps before you get dressed in the morning.

Shapewear

Shapewear is worn under your clothing. It can help prevent inner thigh chafing by creating a barrier between the skin of the inner thighs.

If you prefer, you can wear leggings or yoga pants instead of shapewear. Be sure to choose something made from breathable materials.

You can also purchase anti-chafing thigh bands, which look like two wide elastic bands. They're made from soft, stretchy cloth. Wear one on each thigh to prevent them from rubbing against each other and chafing.

Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is important for your overall health. It might also help prevent inner thigh chafing. When you're dehydrated, your sweat has more salt and less water. This can irritate your skin and make it more sensitive.

Stay dry

Wear clothing that's made from breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics. If you're working out, wear loose clothing and avoid cotton, which soaks up sweat and moisture. This can cause friction and chafing.

If you're sitting for long periods, avoid crossing your legs. This helps to prevent your inner thigh area from sweating or collecting moisture.

You can also try applying antiperspirant to your inner thighs. It might help you sweat less in this area.

Lubrication

Lubricating or moisturizing your skin may help prevent inner thigh chafing.

You can use petroleum jelly to lubricate and protect the skin. It might also prevent clothing from causing friction against your inner thighs. Apply about a teaspoon of petroleum jelly to the inside of your thighs.

You can also try chafing creams and balms, such as Body Glide, or zinc oxide ointment.

Everyday products that contain petroleum jelly and other moisturizers can also be used to lubricate your inner thighs. These include:

  • lip balm
  • shea butter
  • body oil or lotion
  • sunscreen

Avoid using products that might make your skin stickier or absorb too quickly. Also, be sure to stay away from products that are scented or perfumed, as they can cause more skin irritation.

Lose weight

If you're overweight, you might experience thigh irritation more often, as excess fat and skin can become irritated faster. Talk to a doctor or nutritionist about the best diet and exercise plan for you.

When to see a doctor

Skin irritation from inner thigh chafing can lead to open sores and infection in serious cases. Irritation from inner thigh chafing can also darken or pigment skin in that area.

See a doctor if you or your child has:

  • blisters or boils
  • lumps or sores
  • oozing
  • white or yellow pus
  • bleeding
  • skin swelling
  • gray or darkened discoloration
  • color changes in skinfolds or creases

The doctor may recommend a corticosteroid cream to help get rid of redness and itching. You may need prescription antibiotics or antifungal medications if you have an infection that presents as inner thigh chafing.

Takeaway

Inner thigh chafing is common. It can be caused by a number of things, including working out, running an errand on a hot day, or even sitting with legs crossed.

Home remedies may help prevent, soothe, and heal chafing between the legs. In rare cases, you may need to see a doctor to treat inner thigh chafing.

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