It’s my favorite part of having a body, with all its skin, flesh, and pores, to rub my thighs and underboobs together in the summer, until I chaf to death. Adding cystic acne and hot weather breakouts to that, I’m falling in love with my genetics every day.
However, since chafing occurs due to friction, rubbing, and moisture (hi, sweat), it can happen to anyone, whether you’re a marathon runner, a cyclist, an athlete, or just a human living in a humid climate. And it freakin’ stinks. So what do we do? Stock up on all of the anti-chafing bike shorts, gels, sprays, and creams.
In spite of the fact that there are about one million chafing creams available online, not every one of them is good (or even mediocre). The best products and ingredients for preventing and soothing chafed skin were selected by dermatologists Dendy Engelman, MD, and Mona Gohara, MD, to help us narrow down our selection. Here are some of our favorites:
Our Top Chafing Cream Picks of 2022
Keep reading to learn more about the full product breakdown, including tester reviews and expert opinions. Trust us—your skin will thank you for it.
The Best Cream to Prevent Chafing
1. Chamois Butt’r Original Anti-Chafe Cream
A lot of people love this chafing cream because it is lightweight, non-sticky, and leaves no greasy residue after use. Developed by cyclists, this formula works on your thighs and arms while you’re frolicking in your summer shorts or summer dresses if it works for the most friction-y of athletes.
2. Gooch Guard Chamois Cream
You have to ignore the name here—it’s not about what’s on the outside; it’s about what’s on the inside. It’s made with soothing aloe, moisturizing shea butter, hydration-locking oils (sunflower, castor), and anti-inflammatory tea tree oil, and it’s a cult-favorite. The result? A chafing cream that keeps your skin plump and happy, without rash, redness, or irritation.
3. Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm
If you’re the athletic type who loves long-distance activities, like running or hiking (hi, I can’t relate), Dr. Engelman suggests applying a hypoallergenic balm to your skin before workout clothing to reduce friction. This plant-derived chafing stick works well on your neck, arms, thighs, and feet—just about anywhere you might encounter a little extra rubbing when out in the fresh air.
4. Megababe Thigh Rescue
If inner-thigh chafing is your biggest annoyance, you need this cream. With its aloe cooling and grapeseed oil hydrating properties, this stick chafing balm protects your inner thighs (one area that gets it the worst) from painful rubbing with just a few swipes.
5. SBR Skin Slick Continuous Spray Lubricant
It works as a shield against all kinds of painful friction, whether you’re trying to prevent blisters, chafing, or rubbing from your bra straps. The foundation is also sweatproof and waterproof (perfect for pairing with waterproof makeup), so you don’t have to worry about reapplying it on particularly rainy days.
6. Bandelettes Elastic Anti-Chafing Thigh Bands
These anti-chafe bands are a lighter, more breathable alternative to slip shorts if you’re not into sticky, greasy, or slick formulations. They’ve got 15,000 rave reviews on Amazon because of their soft and supportive feel. You’ll be protected against friction by each band, and thanks to silicone strips, they won’t slip or slide no matter how sweaty you feel. It also looks like lingerie (which, hey, I’ll take).
7. Lush Cosmetics Silky Underwear
One of my favorite TikTok beauty products and skincare hacks is using corn starch as a DIY anti-chafing product. Even so, it’s messy and can turn pasty with sweaty skin. Enter: This chafing powder made with cocoa butter, kaolin, and—you guessed it—corn starch. As well as smelling like jasmine and vetiver, the velvety powder prevents painful friction by creating a silky smooth barrier.
8. CeraVe Healing Ointment
Some anti-chafe products are specifically designed to prevent chafing, but you’ll want to keep this stuff on hand for any compromised skin condition. The Cosmo Eds are already big fans of CeraVe moisturizers, but this occlusive ointment, in particular, is loaded with ceramides and hyaluronic acid to keep your chafed skin moisturized and moisturized.
9. Monistat Care Chafing Powder Gel Relief
The skin protectant appears like a gel, but once it’s applied, it turns into a velvety, almost powder-like finish, just like a makeup primer, which makes it a favorite dupe. Additionally, this silicone-based gel reduces the redness of irritated skin, making it ideal for treating chafed skin as well as preventing it.
10. Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil
Using Bio-Oil while the skin is still damp, Dr. Engelman recommends washing mildly chafed skin with gentle soap. If the chafing is already mild (consult your doctor). Vitamin E, lavender oil, chamomile, and calendula are among the ingredients in this quick-absorbing oil, which can soothe the skin and improve its appearance.
Which ingredients should I look for in a chafing cream?
When it comes to chafing, prevention is key—it’s easier to prevent your skin from getting chafed raw and red than to fix it after the fact. Dimethicone is an effective ingredient for preventing friction. Previously, board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, explained that dimethicone is a silicon-based polymer that creates a smooth, soft, slippery feel in skincare products when it is used.
The best skincare products are silicone-based, but oil-based creams can also work to protect the skin. Look for formulas that contain mineral oil, petroleum jelly, or coconut oil, and bonus points if they contain skin-soothing ingredients like vitamin E, zinc oxide, and aloe vera.
How do you cure chafing ASAP?
You need to apply soothing damage control to your chafing if you’re already past the point of prevention, and your skin is red, angry, and irritated. After rinsing your skin, apply a barrier cream (a rich, skin-healing moisturizer that locks in moisture), then apply 1 percent hydrocortisone cream to calm inflammation.
To calm the irritation fast, have a dermatologist prescribe topical steroids for you if your chafing is extremely painful and stinging.