ULTRA MARATHONER SALLY DEAN GIVES US THE SCOOP ON THE EVER-IMPORTANT GLOOP – CHAMOIS CREAMS
The Dreaded Chafe.
Chafe is something that I’m sure we’ve all experienced at some point: that rash created by friction of the skin, with other skin or with something else.
If you are lucky enough to not have experienced chafe then this article is for you too…some day you will, and it is so much better to be prepared for it than panic about what to do.
Chafe can happen anywhere. For me it is most common in the skin folds. Over the years I’ve changed my gear a bit to help too. I wear skirts with built in shorts but choose a length that is just below the ‘sweet spot’ on your leg and find that these have almost eliminated chafe on my legs. Often I wear shirts with sleeves rather than singlets to avoid the arm chafe. The right sized and fitted sports bra too, can be a game changer on so many levels.
One of the most important pieces of advice I can give you is that the RIGHT fitting clothing makes all the difference. As much as I loathe snug fitting gear, there is less movement and that seems to reduce chafe.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to fixing or avoiding chafe so here are our three top product recommendations for preventing chafe.
Preventing chafe is so much better than just treating the damaged skin.
1. BODY GLIDE.
Perhaps one of the best known products on the market, it has been around a long time. Loved by so many because of its easy of application, it comes in a hard stick form with directions that read ‘Apply where necessary’.
For years this has been my go-to favourite. It’s mess free to apply, has no ‘smell’, isn’t
greasy, It’s a preventative, one application lasts the length of a run, and it doesn’t irritate the skin. Because it’s a stick I have one for my feet and one for the rest of me.
It’s a product for all sports, I have friends who use it to avoid wetsuits rubbing when scuba diving or surfing too.
BodyGlide is Petroleum – free. This one you can buy most readily online, in most running stores or from Rebel Sports (AUS).
This is one I started using last year. It has a similar texture to Body Glide but you apply it from the pot.
A tiny bit goes a long way, I use a small spatula to get it out of the pot and find that way I don’t get too much out.
I rub in on the chaff prone areas in a small circular motion, it’s amazing how far it spreads and how effective it is. It contains some tea tree oil and I’ve used it post run where I’ve found a new chaff spot and has found it helps with the repair of the chaff too.
I take a tiny container of this in my first aid kit when I’m out on the trails. Compact and light I can apply it almost like lip balm. It does get on your fingers but it’s not greasy. I love that it continues to protect the skin even on the longer runs.
QFriction was developed in New Zealand by a physio and is part of a range of rubs, oils and lotions.
You can purchase online at:
3. GURNEY GOO.
I’m guilty of liking the name of this one! But it’s also a great product. This one has silicon and tea tree oil in it, so like Qfriction has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It comes in a couple of sizes including a little 10ml tube, the perfect size for your run pack or race day pocket.
Interestingly, this one you can apply well before a race, and whilst it doesn’t wash off in the rain or water during an event, it does come off easily with soap in the shower after a race.
This one is developed and made in New Zealand and has a great following in the ultra running and adventure racing community.
It can be purchased online:
The cheekiest chafe is that bit you don’t feel till you get in the shower after your run. Once out of the shower you can begin to repair the skin – both Qfriction and Gurney Goo are great to put on post event to help with the skin repair.
As most things with running, riding, and everything in between, everyone has different needs and will each lean towards different products.
Hopefully for those of you searching for a new product, or those who haven’t yet ‘felt the sting of the chafe’, these suggestions can help guide you to something that works for me.
Wishing you happy, chafe-free training and racing!