As a larger woman, there have been few things that are more of an issue that cause discomfort than chaffing. Chaffing happens when two pieces of skin rub against each other and wear away the top layers of skin. If you add moisture, like sweat, this can accelerate the chaffing process. So the two main ways to prevent chaffing are to keep things dry and keep things from rubbing against each other. I have found that keeping things dry can be almost impossible, especially when running. The other option is what I focus on, reducing friction.
I’ve found that the areas where I chafe are inner thighs, under boobs, and edges of lady parts. If it is really hot out I may also chafe a little between the cheeks. I’ve tried a variety of clothing to try and eliminate the chaffing, but it really only fixes some of the issues. When looking for bras, find ones with flat seams like in my review of running bras for bigger girls. I tend to just buy shorts from costco that are made by adidas. I buy the men’s shorts because they are longer and have pockets. The longer short length helps to protect my inner thigh from chaffing even when they ride up a little bit.
There are a variety of products available to help prevent chaffing. One of my tried and true balms is body glide. This is basically like chap stick for you inner thighs or inner cheeks. Apply liberally and reapply if you are running for more than an hour. I run a good bead of this under my bra. I tend to get a good bra burn if it is hot or I run more than 30 minutes. I’ve found the secret is to apply it to both your skin and the bra itself. The skin layer may rub off or sweat off, but then the bra layer stays on the bra for a little bit longer. I also stop and reapply after 45 minutes if I’ll be running for more than an hour and 15 minutes. I have also used squirrels nut butter when I did more bike riding. I find it a little thicker, and don’t mind that when I’m riding, but don’t necessarily like it as much for running.
No matter how much I try to avoid it, I usually end up with a spot somewhere that is rubbed completely raw. A lot of times, I’ll end up with a spot from wearing my heart rate strap. You’ll know immediately if you have a chaffed spot when you take a shower. That burning tells you skin is missing. It burns and is very uncomfortable. The best you can do to help it heal is keep it dry and clean. I like using the medicated gold bond powder to help keep it dry. My favorite is anti monkey butt powder. It has calamine and helps heal faster from what I’ve seen.
Overall, you can prevent chaffing by minimizing friction. The best ways to prevent chaffing are by choosing clothing that protects areas that will typically rub together. You can also apply an anti-chaffing balm to help protect areas that you can’t protect with clothing alone. Worst case, if you do get an area that is chafes, keep it dry and it will heal. Good luck keeping the chaffing to a minimum!