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How to Prevent, Treat, and Cure Butt Chafing

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Is butt chafing embarrassing to talk about? Yes.

Is butt chafing important to address? Absolutely.

Butt chaffing is one of those things that happens to the best of us, regardless of whether we want to admit it or not. From a weekend excursion to a long distance trek, chafing between your thighs or butt cheeks is the worst.

Hikers and backpackers that have to deal with “monkey butt” or butt chafing, need to be prepared to treat it when it hits, or better yet, avoid it all together.

What is chafing?

According to WebMD, “Skin chafing is the often painful result of skin rubbing against skin or clothing. It can happen anywhere on your body, but it most often affects thighs, groin, underarms, and nipples.”

It’s basically irritation to your skin that’s caused by friction, either clothing on skin or skin on skin. This friction, when left untreated, will cause injuries to your skin in the form of a rash, blisters, or raw skin. The pain varies from uncomfortable to extremely painful, depending on the severity of the chafing.

What causes chafing?

Chafing may occur during any activity that exposes your body to repetitive motion, such as hiking or backpacking. The repeated rubbing, when combined with moisture, causes your skin to become susceptible to the dreaded “baboon-ass” or the more pc term, butt chafing.

Factors that cause or contribute to chafing:

  • Loose fitting clothing
  • Fabric that doesn’t wick moisture
  • Humidity
  • Hot weather
  • Sensitive skin
  • Endurance sports
  • Sweat
  • Wet clothes
  • Extra body weight

How to prevent chafing

The best way to avoid chafing is by taking preventative measures to stop it before it starts. While completely avoiding it may not always be possible, there are a few simple steps that you can take to stop it before it starts.

Wear clothes the fit

Whether you’re hiking, backpacking, or running a 5K, the clothes that you wear are an important step in avoiding chafing. Your base layer should be form-fitting, you want to avoid loose-fitting clothes and underwear that are common causes of friction.

Never wear cotton (ever)

Cotton is comfortable to wear around the house, but it has no place in sports or adventure activities. “Cotton kills” is a saying in the backpacking and hiking community for a good reason, it takes forever to dry and causes painful irritation when it rubs against your skin.

Stay dry

Repeated rubbing, especially when moisture is present, makes the skin more vulnerable to chafing. Avoid getting your clothes wet and if you sweat a lot consider bringing a change of clothes.

Wear moisture wicking clothing

Everyone deals with perspiration in some way, shape, or form. Regardless of the cause, it can lead to chafing. Moisture wicking fabrics are woven in such a way that the moisture from sweating is forced through the small gaps in the fabric and forced to the outside (source).

Apply lubricant

Oils, creams, and lotions provide lubrication to areas that are prone to friction. If you have experienced chafing in the past you can apply lubricant to the area to limit skin irritation in places that you know you need it.

Wear form fitting underwear

This is for the men who swear by boxers instead of briefs. Loose clothing plays a large role in chafing, so guys, leave the boxers at home and go with synthetic briefs (not cotton).

For women, avoid wearing underwear that leaves large areas of skin exposed which will rub against your pants or shorts and go with a synthetic material (not cotton). Credit for this tip goes to Jacqui in the comment section, thanks Jacqui!

Apply soft bandages

If you have a specific area that becomes irritated often, apply soft bandages to eliminate friction. This will reduce the friction on the skin while giving you another layer of protection.

Don’t tuck in your shirt

Tucking in your shirt is going to cause the sweat from your body to drip down your shirt and soak your underwear. Let your shirt blow in the wind and keep the air circulating, your butt will thank you later.

Check the weather report

If you know it’s going to be extremely hot and humid, or there’s rain in the forecast, plan ahead. While you can’t control the weather, you can bring an extra set of clothes or avoid the hottest part of the day.

How to treat chafing

The best way to treat chafing is to stop it before it starts, you want to stay ahead of it. If you start to notice that your skin is becoming itchy and irritated stop and assess the situation.

If your clothes are causing the irritation and you have another set, change into them. You can also apply lubrication to the area that is getting red and rashy as soon as you notice any pain or discomfort.

  • Apply aloe vera to the irritated area: Aloe Vera is popular for treating burns and sunburns, but it’s also used for wound healing and irritated skin (source).
  • Wear synthetic underwear (moisture wicking): Moisture wicking underwear will help to protect the chafed area while it heals.
  • Clean the area with soap and water: Once you get home, clean the area with some mild soap, warm water, and pat dry.
  • Apply lubricant: Once the irritation begins you can apply a lubricant like coconut oil or petroleum jelly to further reduce friction.
  • Take a break: If your butt chafing is bad, take a break from hiking, backpacking, and exercising to give your body time to recover.
  • Consider medical options: If the chafing is caused by excessive sweating, you may have a medical condition that needs to be treated by your doctor with prescription strength antiperspirants (source).

Skin chafing needs to be treated, if you ignore it, it will only get worse. If you can, give your skin some time to rest and reduce friction whenever possible. In the worst cases, it can become infected and you may need to see your doctor for antibiotic ointment. Either way,


Butt chafing is something that happens to the best of us and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. As long as you have an understanding of what it is and how to treat it, you’re going to be fine.

Prevention is the best treatment and you can do little things like wear form-fitting clothing, moisturize regularly and keep your skin dry. If the area shoes persistent signs of discomfort, it’s time to see your doctor.

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3 Responses

  1. This is a great article and I found it helpful it many ways. That said, I wish it included a female perspective to better serve a wider audience (i.e. “wear form fitting underwear” – may want to advise against thongs and other underwear that leaves skin exposed to rub against itself or a fabric like cotton).

  2. My favorite (and in my opinion the most effective) way to prevent butt chafing is to use powder. I personally use anti monkey butt whenever I hike.

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