Being a human comes with some seriously miserable experiences, like root canals, hangovers, and the reason we’ve gathered here today: chafing. “Chafing is skin irritation that occurs from skin rubbing against itself—like the inner thighs—or against clothing,” Fatima Fahs, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in Michigan and the founder of Dermy Doc Box, tells SELF. “It can cause a red or darker-colored rash that burns, stings, and itches. If left untreated, or if it continues to worsen, chafing can even result in cracked, bleeding skin and blisters.” Ouch.

And it’s no coincidence that you notice chafing more during the summer either: Both heat and moisture (like sweat) can increase friction and make your skin more likely to chafe, Dr. Fahs says. Having scorching thighs or spicy underboob can really put a damper on all of your warm weather plans. Because it’s a super common issue, though, there are a ton of solutions out there to help you get through your run, enjoy sight-seeing, or whatever else the sunny days bring.

The best anti-chafing products create a barrier that prevents friction from building up between skin or skin and clothing, Marisa Garshick, MD, board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology and clinical assistant professor at Cornell University, tells SELF. Creams, balms, powders, and shorts are all effective at preventing chafing—it really comes down to personal preference. “Some people prefer a spray-on or powder product because it dries quickly and helps reduce sweat, while others find that creams and ointments tend to reduce friction better and provide deeper hydration and longer lasting relief,” Dr. Fahs says. It may take some trial and error to figure out your perfect anti-chafing method, but with so many options, it’s safe to say there’s something out there that’ll give you relief.

Our top picks:

  1. Best Stick: Gold Bond Friction Defense Stick
  2. Best Balm: Aquaphor Healing Ointment
  3. Best Powder: ZeasorbAF Antifungal Powder
  4. Best Shorts: Jockey Shapewear Skimmies

In this article

All products are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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    Best anti-chafing sticks

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    Gold Bond

    Friction Defense Stick

    Pros: Fragrance-free, easy to apply, not sticky

    Cons: Some reviewers say it needs to be reapplied a lot

    A balm that comes in stick form so you don’t get your fingers all greasy? Genius. One SELF editor relies on this pick from Gold Bond any time she’s wearing shorts: “It lasts for hours, but on days I’m doing a lot of walking (and sweating), I’ll toss it in my bag to bring with me and reapply. I love that you can find it at just about any drugstore!” The formula is fragrance-free—a plus if you have sensitive skin—and contains aloe to help calm angry skin.