[pct-l] Chaffing Skin in the Desert

jason moores jmmoores at hotmail.com
Wed Apr 1 22:35:48 CDT 2009


While your statement that skin rubbing on skin leads to chafing is certainly true, this is not the only cause. Clothing repeatedly rubbing against your skin can cause the same results. A skirt or kilt puts less fabric and seams against the skin. Particularly between your legs. A skirt also allows for much more air circulation which helps reduce sweat, another factor in chaffing.

At the beginning of each hiking season I have to deal with chaffing. Until the skin in certain areas calluses or toughens I have to deal with the discomfort daily. Over the years I've tried alcohol, vaseline, powders and creams and I've come to a few conclusions for myself. Preventive measures such as body glide are great at keeping the chaff at bay. On longer days this helps but does not ultimately prevent chaffing. Once the chaffing reaches an uncomfortable level the only thing that will relieve it is for me to stop walking. To allow the area to heal. For me repeated applications of creams and powders will do little to relieve the discomfort while I'm still walking. What does end up happening is that my clothes become greasy and heavy with the medicine. This can sometimes cause the clothing to become more likely to lay against my skin than to blouse naturally, resulting in worse chaff. 

Stopping for the day is often not an option in the desert. I usually just tough it out until camp. The good news is that with treatment at the end of the day, say alcohol, the skin is fairly healed by the next morning. After a few days or a week the problem of chaff usually clears up.


> From: 559josh at gmail.com
> To: brian at ancientbrit-adventures.com
> Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2009 19:32:08 -0700
> CC: pct-l at backcountry.net
> Subject: Re: [pct-l] Chaffing Skin in the Desert
> Brian,
> I decided to educate myself a little bit instead of just assuming I knew
> how/why I have gotten chaffed in the past.  Here's what I found:
> "Any activity that requires skin to repeatedly rub against skin can lead to
> chafing. And moisture, either from sweat or rain, makes the problem worse."
> "Slip into something slippery. In areas of repeated chafing-such as the
> inner thighs or groin or under the arms or breasts-you can cut down on
> friction by dusting on some powder, says Dr. Dvorine. Ointments-such as
> Vaseline, Noxzema, zinc oxide ointment and cortisone cream-can likewise help
> intimately close areas of skin slip past each other."
>  <http://www.mothernature.com/Library/Bookshelf/Books/16/193.cfm>
> http://www.mothernature.com/Library/Bookshelf/Books/16/193.cfm
> I'm still trying to figure-out how a skirt would be a good thing unless one
> was hiking in a place where the humidity was high enough to where the
> primary cause of chaffing was from "standing" sweaty skin as opposed to
> chaffing caused by friction.  It seems that something like bikers shorts &
> Body Glide in the butt crack would be the way to go rather than bare inner
> thighs starting a friction fire under a kilt.
> Josh
> -----Original Message-----
> From: brian at ancientbrit-adventures.com
> [mailto:brian at ancientbrit-adventures.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 2:27 PM
> To: Josh
> Subject: Re: [pct-l] Chaffing Skin in the Desert
> Brian Johnson
> 9 Barnaby Close
> Downton
> Salisbury
> Wiltshire SP5 3NX
> Tel: 01725-511017
> mobile: 07895-095-188
> email: ancientbritbrian at btinternet.com
> Hi Josh
> The idea is to avoid anything causing the chafing. This includes things like
> your zips and seams on your bike shorts. Sweaty underpants can cause chafing
> in the crutch area. It doesn't matter what solution you use but prevention
> is far better than trying to cure once you have problems.
> With skirt, kilt or breach-clout worn without underclothes there should be
> nothing to chafe and the increased ventilation would help avoid getting
> sweaty
> By coincidence, some friends have just emailed me suggesting I wear a kilt
> when I through-hike this year. (They won't have seen the post)
> Ancient Brit
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Josh" <559josh at gmail.com>
> To: <brian at ancientbrit-adventures.com>; <pct-l at backcountry.net>
> Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 9:15 PM
> Subject: RE: [pct-l] Chaffing Skin in the Desert
> >I don't have ANY experience wearing skirts, but I pretty much though that
> > chaffing was MAINLY caused by friction & lack of humidity, and only
> > exacerbated by constant moisture (sweat)...if this truly is the case, I'm
> > not sure how wearing a skirt would help here. ???
> >
> > Josh
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: pct-l-bounces at backcountry.net [mailto:pct-l-bounces at backcountry.net]
> > On Behalf Of brian at ancientbrit-adventures.com
> > Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 8:08 AM
> > To: pct-l at backcountry.net
> > Subject: Re: [pct-l] Chaffing Skin in the Desert
> >
> >
> > If you are worried about chafing skin inside the thighs perhaps you could
> > show more imagination or daring with your choice of clothing.
> > An increasing number of ladies are hiking in skirts and a few men have
> > through-hiked in kilts. For the daring the old indian breach-clout could
> > be
> > an idea.
> > If these garments are worn without underpants you will get plenty of
> > ventilation and chafing should be a minimum.
> >
> > Ancient Brit
> >
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: pct-l-bounces at backcountry.net
> >> [mailto:pct-l-bounces at backcountry.net]
> >> On Behalf Of Pat Wormington
> >> Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 2:04 PM
> >> To: pct-l at backcountry.net
> >> Subject: [pct-l] Chaffing Skin in the Desert
> >>
> >> While packing my pack I started thinking about the chaffing I
> >> experienced in the Desert.  I have hiked almost all of the PCT and
> >> nowhere else on the PCT will you experience such dry air as Southern
> >> CA and chaffing problems.
> >> The
> >> inside of my thighs were rubbed raw by the seams of my zip-offs.  I
> >> wore bike shorts under my pants, and my light long johns inside out at
> > night.
> >> The seams were too painful against my skin.
> >>
> >
> >> Almost There...............Jollylopper
> >>
> >
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