What is it? Who has it? How can I prevent it?

Chafing is a skin irritation caused by friction that happens when rubbing skin on skin and skin on fabric/material. Factors such as humidity and sweat increase this friction. Your skin turns pinkish/red, the area becomes tender, and you may feel a stinging sensation. 

Chafing can also be caused by wearing tight, restrictive clothing in the heat.

With bras, chafing can happen due to the fabric, the underwire, or even just your breasts rubbing against each other.

Dispelling Misconceptions:

“Only thighs chafe!”

  • Chafing can occur on many parts of the body, most commonly but not limited to the thigh, breast, foot, and groin areas.

“Weight = Chafing”

  • There is a misconception that only weight impacts chafing. Yet, this skin irritation is common and happens to people of all sizes.

    Body shape, pelvic alignment, and movement type can all contribute to chafing.

If you have experienced chafing, you’ve likely felt the pain that comes with it and have endured the long healing process. With continued rubbing and chafing, you may even develop dark, discoloured spots, especially on sensitive skin like the inner thigh.

So, how can we stop chafing, help the healing process, and get back to enjoying our summers?


1: Use a barrier

The best way to prevent irritation is to use a barrier to protect the affected area. For example, decreasing the friction between thighs stops chafing before it has a chance to start. 

We recommend our anti-chafing bike shortsfor this purpose. While acting as a barrier, these undershorts are also light and breathable, adding no unnecessary heat. 

Kenzie wears our Soft Contour Bike Shorts 7” 2.0 in XXXL

Maya wears our Pima Cotton Bike Shorts 6” in XXL

Many people also struggle with chafing in their underarm area, which is why choosing the right bra is important. We make sure to use natural fiber stitching and velvet-like elastic on our bra wings to help combat irritation. Some of our bras even feature entirely mesh paneling — talk about breathability! 

Finally, we suggest learning your root shape and choosing a compatible underwire shape to protect against digging or poking that may cause friction. A bra should be comfortable, even when it’s warm out.

2: Space out

Another way to prevent skin from rubbing is to add space in sensitive areas. For instance, we recommend trying a bra that creates separation between your breasts if you experience cleavage chafe.

Our firmest bra, Quinn 2.0, provides great separation and lift while remaining light-as-air (its spacer fabric is quite breathable). Alternatively, Cate has a non-stretch mesh panel that separates your breasts without an underwire!

Imbali wears Quinn 2.0 in 40J 

Lydia wears Cate in 40 D/DD

3: Wear a cooling bra

If you want a bra that’s specifically designed to minimize boob sweat, chafing, and irritation, look for a cooling bra. 

Our Cooling collection is made with a breathable, perforated fabric that lets air flow through (which feels refreshing) and has an internal sling that separates your breasts (think “one pocket per boob”). Since your breasts are encapsulated by the cups, they’ll be lifted away from your torso. 

This all reduces the buildup of boob sweat and because there’s no skin-to-skin contact, there’s also no chafing.  

External underwire that won’t touch your skin

Internal sling keeps your breasts separated and dry

The underwire (in our FlexWire style for 30-48, D-H) won’t be able to irritate you either because it’s on the outside and cushioned against your body. If you don’t like wired bras, we offer a wireless version (for 30-48, DD-J). 

Plus, they’re made with molded fabric cups so they’re T-shirt friendly! 

Alejandra wears Cooling FlexWire in 44D 

Samareh wears Cooling Wireless in 40I

For more of our breathable summer bras, click here. 

4: Stay hydrated!

One of the many benefits of proper hydration is that it helps regulate your body temperature. Make sure you are drinking enough water to meet the recommended daily amount! Staying hydrated will lessen excess sweat and heat that contribute to the friction behind chafing.

5: Cleanse gently

While cleansing won’t stop chafing, it will lessen its impact. A build-up of bacteria can damage your skin’s barrier and create deeper wounds if any friction occurs. Exfoliating can be too harsh for these irritated areas and may increase bacteria production. 

We recommend sticking to a gentle cleansing routine with soap and water instead of physical exfoliants. Keeping your body clean will help protect it from additional pain!

6: Soothe with Aloe

Already irritated? You can apply some aloe vera for immediate relief and a cooling sensation.

7: Brighten up!

Not emotionally, of course! We mean using skincare with brightening ingredients like Vitamin C or Niacinamide to help the discolouration that can be created after extended periods of chafing. Another great ingredient is Vitamin E as it can help reduce the appearance of scars and hyperpigmentation. 

Be sure to only apply these active products once the skin is no longer raw and has healed completely.

Looking for something more accessible? Brightening masks with honey, lemon or turmeric can be made at home to help heal these dark spots.

We hope that with these tips and recommendations you’ll be able to be chafe-free this summer!

2 thoughts on “CHAFING 101”

  1. I love the Zoe because the underwire doesn’t dig my underarm. Due to a weight loss I need to go down the a c cup. What will work for me?

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