As a person blessed with thick thighs from my childhood of swimming three times a week (and my adolescence and early adulthood of eating whatever I could get my hands on that wasn’t a vegetable), I have tried many a method across the years to beat the dreaded inner-leg chafing caused by the sticky summer heat. Summer is already upon us here in Seoul and the humidity is amping itself up day by day, BUT I’ve FINALLY found my holy grail of thigh chafing solutions! So, here is my tried and tested list of (the affectionately named) ‘chub rub’ remedies to ready you for the summer heat:
Talcum powder is a firm favourite with, well, almost everyone. It’s cheap, naturally-occurring, and non-comedogenic; meaning it won’t clog your pores. I have tried this method repeatedly across the years, and although it’s not my favourite, it’s definitely useful. Talc is a good choice if you’re going to be walking around without stopping! But the moment you stop and your legs rest together the sweat will break through (for example if you sit down on the subway, or go to a café and sit with a drink) and you’ll have to reapply before setting off again. Despite this, talc is a handy quick fix, and I often keep a travel-sized bottle of Johnson & Johnson’s Active Fresh powder in my bag in case I need it.
Side note: There have been many reports and consequent studies into talcum powder causing lung and ovarian cancers. Before the 1970s, talcum powder used to contain asbestos, something which has not been present in domestic talc for almost 50 years. There has never been enough evidence for any principal medical board to accept that there is a link between modern talc use and cancer, so I am still happy to use it, but here are a few articles for you to read on the matter to form your own opinion: 1 2 3.
When I was living in Paris I was walking a lot, but also using the subway a lot too. As such, talc wasn’t a good choice, and my legs were chafing themselves raw every day. That was, until I found a cute pair of white shorts made from the same material as leggings, which also had a little bit of white lace around the hem on the legs. I thought they were perfect to go under dresses, as if anyone got a peek of them they looked quite nice! And, let me tell you, I wore those shorts to death. When I finally threw them away it was a year too late and they were disgusting. However, they saved me a lot of pain across the years and I thoroughly recommend this method to everyone! The one negative is that if your shorts are ill-fitting then the friction can cause them to ride up into your crotch if you’re walking for a long time, or with any sort of purpose. I recommend buying a pair of snug cycling shorts which are designed for this use, and take the friction a lot better.
When the heat started to creep up here in Seoul, I managed to get away with a day or two of going chub-rub-barrier-free without suffering (too much). However, this didn’t last, and without my beloved white legging shorts, I was wearing some baggy denim shorts under my dresses which looked, quite frankly, terrible. I was in dire need of a solution, and A.S.A.P., when I stumbled across a post in a women’s expat group on Facebook asking for exactly what I was looking for. The top comment, which had many likes and a multitude of replies all vouching for the same method, suggested stick deodorant. Not the spray-on aerosol kind, nor the roll-on liquid stuff (which I hate anyway – who wants sticky armpits?!), but the white push-up stick variety. The next day, I went out and bought a stick of Nivea Dry Comfort 48h deodorant for just a few thousand won, and I haven’t looked back since!!! It doesn’t feel super dry like talc when you put it on, nor does it feel sticky like roll-on deodorant would. It creates a sort of barrier that, although it feels like your legs are sticking and rubbing in the worst way, actually fully protects from chafing and lasts ALL DAY. No exaggeration! While I keep a stick in my bag at all times in case I need to top up, I’ve never needed it. Even on workdays when I’m on my feet walking around for 9 or 10 hours, and then going to meet my friends across the city afterwards, I have never needed to reapply. Apply liberally at the start of the day, all the way up to the tops of your legs (or wherever you, personally, chafe) and you’re set for the day. YOU CAN THANK ME LATER.
And there you have it; my tried and tested list of chafing solutions! (I have heard of other things, such as thigh bands, but haven’t had the chance to test them out!) Having thick thighs is not a problem, and now the chub rub will blight us no more. BEGONE to painful rashes, fresh stretch marks and aloe vera applications! Us owners of thighs that like to get friendly with each other need never worry about the troubles that come with wearing dresses or kilts, or going hiking or day-tripping in the heat ever again!