So another unsexy topic this month, we’re moving from sweaty balls to groin chafing – and how to prevent it.
But firstly, while most men know what chafing feels like (raw), do you actually know what it is?
What is chafing?
Put simply, it’s a skin irritation caused by a classic combo of friction and moisture. Chafing typically occurs when a prolonged rubbing of skin on skin, or loose fabric on skin makes the skin sting and causes a mild rash.
Besides embarrassing, and let’s face it, uncomfortable rashes, chafing combined with sweat creates the perfect environment for fungal and bacterial infections to take hold, which can quickly turn your little rash into a raging red problem…and a one way street to the doctor’s office.
What are the most common places for chafing?
Since chafing tends to happen where body parts against each other, or your clothing, it’s no surprise that your groin and inner thighs are common hotspots. Your buttocks and armpits are other common sites, as are your nipples if you’re a runner – especially long distance.
What causes chafing?
Repeated rubbing makes skin prone to breaking down, and when you add moisture into the mix (hello sweat), well, the picture’s not pretty.
Perhaps the most experienced with this nasty affliction are the endurance athletes among us – cyclists and runners – as well as those carrying a few extra kilos or people with incontinence wearing disposable pads or underwear which doesn’t let their skin ‘breathe’.
How common is chafing?
Of the 1000 men surveyed by Modibodi, 34% claim to have felt self-conscious as a result of sweat or chafing, with 52% finding it a daily concern and 7.8% saying it has stopped them undertaking activities they enjoy.
How can you prevent chafing?
Ok so we all know chafing isn’t a walk in the park, but how can it be prevented (other than swapping your fitness regime for stints on the sofa and losing a couple of kegs off the thighs)?
It’s actually not rocket science. The secret to preventing chafing is keeping chafe-prone areas cool and dry. But how? By wearing moisture wicking fabrics that ‘breathe’ next to your chafe-prone groin, buttocks and thighs, you’re soaking up any excess moisture to help stop friction…and chafing.
Now once upon a time, a good dusting of talc was the treatment of choice, and our research found around 13.8% of men are still dusting their dangly bits with talcum powder to prevent chafing and sweat, but with the good white powder since linked to various health concerns, possible even some cancers, we’re not going to suggest you go down that path.
According to our survey, 20% of Aussie men believe manscaping will help them stay fresh, dry, chafe and odour-free, and while there’s no harm in a trim to keep things tidy, shaving or waxing can actually contribute to the problem.
Dr Sam Hay says pubic har plays an important role in reducing friction, heat and sweat. “Too much manscaping down below can actually make the situation worse and increase the risk of rashes and chafing,” he said.
Plenty of activewear – running tights and tees – is made from breathable, moisture wicking fabric, so that’s part of the solution, but what about right up close and personal? While skin lubricants like petroleum jelly are popular with cyclists and long-distance runners to form a protective barrier to help prevent skin rubbing, changing your underwear is a much simpler (and less slippery) strategy.
The questions is – are men listening? Our research suggests that around half of Aussie men say they know they should be buying more ‘breathable’ underwear, but just 6.6% said they actually own moisture wicking underwear, and those savvy fellas were most likely aged between 26 and 30. And the age group the least likely to have discovered these life-changing undies? The 61 to 65 year olds.
Modibodi’s underwear range for men was developed using patented, scientifically proven technology which is found in the in-built lining of the underwear. Absorbent, leak-proof, moisture wicking, breathable, antimicrobial and anti-odour (that’s a lot!), Modibodi for men is also super comfortable and looks just like regular underwear in a choice of briefs or trunks for extra coverage around the thighs.