Chub Rub: How to Fight it and Heal it This Summer

Beauty Fashion Advice Plus Size Fashion

Wardrobe Oxygen: How to prevent and heal chub rub and the best products for the jobGirl, I see your Google searches and I feel your pain… literally. The dreaded chub rub. Thighs rubbing together is bad enough, but add sweat and you can end up with a rash, welts, zits, and more. I’ve tried a ton of products on the market and more fail rather than win. Let’s not focus on the negative, here’s the products I have used and have proven summer after summer to succeed in preventing chub rub.

The Best Products to Battle Chub Rub

Jockey Skimmies

I reviewed Jockey Skimmies in 2014 after I saw a kazillion bloggers write raving reviews that were sponsored by the brand. I had to see for myself, and see if I’d rave even without being paid. After using them, I was also raving. Last summer, Jockey sponsored me to try out Skimmies again and again I raved, but this time with a free pair. I now own four pairs of Jockey Skimmies. I find the Original to be the best; they can be a bit long if you’re petite or wearing a shorter skirt, but I find more success hiking up the Original size than the shorter ones, which roll up on me. These are not control garments, they may look like a pair of Spanx but they don't suck, smooth, or restrict.  Don’t put these in the dryer, and wash them on gentle with as much care as a frilly pair of panties and they’ll last you for several seasons. As an FYI, I have them in both medium and large and both fit, especially after a few washings. The large looks more seamless under clothing (can’t see the band on the legs or waist). I think these run big, if between sizes go down.

Undersummers

I haven’t tried Undersummers myself, but many have raved that these are as great as Jockey Skimmies, but come in larger sizes. Lauren, a reader of Wardrobe Oxygen shared her review of them with me (thank you Lauren, you rock!)

“I tried the Undersummers. I love them! The sizing of the two pairs I ordered didn't end up being quite right–a little large in the waist since I sized up for my hips. Since I needed them immediately for travel, I solve it by tucking in a cami or folding the waist over (if I wear them with a skirt). I'm going to order another couple pairs for summer and try going down a size, which I think will solve this and hopefully still be ok for my hips. They're super comfortable and smooth. The only complaint I have is that because of the seam-in-front design (which means no seams on inner thighs for chafing!), the seam shoes a little in some clingier/jersey dresses. It's not too much of an issue for me, but I could see that maybe it would be for someone who wore things where that seam would show more on the front of your thighs. Overall, I recommend them.”

Thigh Society

After writing this post, Thigh Society reached out to me and offered to send me two pairs of their anti-chafing panty shorts – the mid rise in beige and the high rise in black.  I have to say they give Jockey Skimmers a run for their money!  Unlike Skimmies, Thigh Society runs from size 6 to 24.  Thigh Society's shorts aren't so synthetic feeling which I prefer.  They remind me of high quality athletic leggings.  The waist and leg hems don't ride or dig, leaving a seamless line under clothing.  These are made to replace underwear and do a great job of wicking moisture so you feel cool and comfortable.  As a 5'3″ woman I find the high rise option to be a bit too high rise and long in the leg for anything other than loose or empire-waist maxi or midi dresses.  The mid rise option is my JAM and have been the most-worn chub rub fighting item in my lingerie drawer this summer!

Bike Shorts

In 2007, my friend Tiffany told me about these amazing bike shorts she found at Kmart.  They weren't skin tight, they didn't have rubber bands on the bottom of the legs to keep them in place, and they were cheap as anything.  They were long enough to cover the right parts of my thighs but not so long that they peeked out under short cheap sundresses from Target and Old Navy.  I bought two pairs.  Last year I finally retired one pair that literally fell apart.  I still have one pair and wear them on weekends with sundresses, but they are in a condition that shouldn't be seen by the public.  I have yet to find a replacement pair, though I have snagged Karl's Ellen boxers (yes, he's an Ellen fan, I bought him a pair as a joke and he swears they are the best underwear in the world, better than Under Armor and now has a few pairs) and they are the closest in fit that I have found in all these years.  Shop according to the size guide, not the normal size you or a guy in your life usually buys.

Pettipants

My friend Erin turned me on to these, and I love wearing them under dresses to work on when I need to look more polished and I don't have to worry as much about sweat dripping down my legs.  They're a divided slip, so there's nothing clinging to your legs, and they make you feel all ladylike and fancy.  Considering how hard it is to find even a slip at a department store, don't expect to head to the Bon Ton or Dillard's and find pettipants.  I get mine off eBay, where you can find all sorts of sizes, lengths, and styles.

Bodyglide

I’m annoyed that Bodyglide has a ‘Her’ formula that they admit is exactly the same product except it has some moisturizers in it and it’s in a pink package. I’m also annoyed that for this bit of hydration and a pink package the product is more expensive (different sized package but per ounce it’s more expensive than the blue). I really wish I could promote an alternative that is gender neutral but I’ve tried alternatives and they’re just not as good. I buy the blue, I’m not going to pay extra for Barbie packaging, but you have the right to buy what you wish. The best thing is the three-packs of the tiny tubs of Bodyglide; I keep one in my purse and one in my beach bag all summer long for those days I wear a dress to the office and then unexpectedly go to outdoors happy hour, or when I’m at the beach and throw on a coverup to walk to lunch.

Other Products to Fight Chub Rub

You name it, I’ve likely tried it and if it’s not on this list it’s because it didn’t work for ME. However, many of you swear by these items:

Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel

I gave this product a good opportunity – Bonnaroo. It didn’t last the walk from my tent to the gates of Centeroo. But over and over Wardrobe Oxygen readers recommend this product in comments, email it to me, Tweet it to me, and in general swear by it. For me, notsomuch. However, it’s a cheap dupe for Smashbox primer, so while it may not keep chub rub at bay, it can help keep your makeup in place this summer!

Bandelettes

Bandelettes don’t cover enough real estate for me, and I chub rubbed through the lace. However, many of you over the years have emailed me your praises for this product enough that it deserves a mention.  I know there's non-lace versions and larger versions, but I'm a Skimmies convert and don't have the need to try them again.

How to Heal Chub Rub

So your shorts took a hike up your legs while you hiked that forest trail.  Maybe you forgot your Skimmies at home on your weekend getaway.  Possibly one of the above-recommended products just didn't work for you.  How to heal your chub rub?

  • Clean the area.  Once you get home, wash with a gentle soap.  The skin may be raw, so this isn't the time for scented body washes and scrubby bath poofs.  I find a washcloth and some Dr. Bronner's (NOT the peppermint!) gets the job done.  Pat dry.
  • Protect the area.  Got a kid still in diapers?  Have some leftover diaper cream from that point in life?  This is a good use for it.  If not, head to the drugstore and grab some.  It's made to heal angry skin without irritation, and I found it works better than any “adult” product on the market.  Some use the same Monistat anti-chafing product above for this, but I find a tube of Desitin or tub of Boudreaux's Butt Paste heals faster.
  • Keep it dry and separated.  This is a perfect excuse to slip on those funky-printed rayon wide-leg pants.  A non-fuzzy fabric (no sweatpants or fleece) that is loose and goes to your knees or lower is perfect while your skin heals.  Even if you're one to sleep commando or in a pair of briefs, I recommend having some fabric between your thighs until you're back 100%.

Is there a chub rub solution you swear by that isn’t mentioned in this post? Share it in the comments and help your fellow woman stay chafe-free this summer!

42 Comments

  • Grace Mitchell August 11, 2016

    If you’re very tall and/or very long-torso, you have to be careful to get something long enough. The regular Skimmies are just barely there for me. One other thing I’ve tried that works well is men’s athletic boxer briefs (I like the Jockey ones, they’re long). The do the same job as the Skimmies, but have two advantages: a wide waistband, which works better under some skirts, and sweat-wicking fabric. If it’s very hot, I definitely end up “dryer” in these than the Skimmies.

  • Rachel July 2, 2016

    Thigh Society “panty shorts” (as they call them). Love them! I like the original, which are a little low rise, so it’s not another layer at my waist. And no inner thigh seam.

  • Saskia June 28, 2016

    I just tried a pair of Ellen boxers and oh my gosh, they are so soft, the waistband doesn’t dig into my hips, and they’re just the right length. Thank you for mentioning these!

  • Vanessa Benoit June 26, 2016

    I prefer Bandalettes from this list. They have worked amazingly well for me. The most important rule of tumb when ordering is to properly measure your thighs before buying to be sure you get the right fit. They are my go to to prevent chafing. www bandelettes.com

  • Vicki B June 23, 2016

    Thank you so much for your article. All this time I thought I was THE ONLY ONE! I can’t wait to try some of the suggestions with my new summer dresses. They are so much cooler than pants/shorts and look so much nicer. I recently tried Gold Bond spray body powder. Love it and it seems to heal the rash. I also understand that they have a glide stick also so am going to try that.

  • Christina Brunk June 23, 2016

    So…bought my first pair of Jockey Skimmies yesterday after reading this post and am wearing them today. Now I know why thin people wear skirts and dresses all the time – with no chub rub I would, too! I love these things!
    Question for you ladies…would you wear these under shorts, too?

    • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen June 23, 2016

      I haven’t, but I don’t see any reason why not! I’ve worn them before under pants. Glad they work for you! 🙂

  • Happinessatmidlife June 23, 2016

    I use Bodyglide for running but never thought about using it when I am wearing dresses. Great idea!

    Alice

    http://www.happinessatmidlife.com

    Hope to see you for TBT Fashion link up.

  • Lisa June 22, 2016

    The best, simplest, and cheapest solution I’ve found–solid antiperspirant applied to the inner thighs. No rubbing, friction, or sweating. I use Secret Invisible Solid, but I’m sure other brands would also work.
    Lisa

    • Ginger June 23, 2016

      I also spray antiperspirant on the tops of my feet to avoid rubbing from sandal straps.

    • EvaNadine June 23, 2016

      i second the antiperspirant method!
      i use whatever solid stick I have on-hand (right now its a random leftover Irish Spring stick my hubby didn’t like. not only does it smell nice, but as you said, it prevents the sweating which causes the chaffing in the first place.
      in addition, ive found that if youre already chaffed, it also helps protect the area a bit + lets your thighs glide past one another without as much friction, which makes the chaffing worse.
      its a cheap solution + it works for me!

      • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen June 23, 2016

        I never got the deodorant to work more than a quick fix or for a low-sweat and activity day (like a day at the office). Though last night at dinner my friend too said she swears by deodorant!

  • LarkBark June 22, 2016

    Any thoughts on what to do when you want slimming in addition to chub rub avoidance? Sounds like the Skimmies don’t do that job. But yikes, this post couldn’t be any more timely given how hot and gross it is in DC! Any chance you could do a post on how you deal with sweat and sweating through clothes in the summer? Btw, I’m the one who wrote in about my bad arm break a few months back and I am fully rocking sleeveless things this summer thanks to your advice. 🙂

  • Lauren Driscoll June 22, 2016

    Great post on a very real issue, I learned a couple new things. ….and now I am going to go get me some skimmies:) Thanks Allie!!!

  • Kathryn Braun Fenner June 22, 2016

    Vermont Country Store has cotton and nylon pettipants. Also long-leg cotton briefs (I have a similar pair I bought in desperation in Germany last summer that look about the same–great under looser skirts.)
    http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/store/jump/Women/Underwear/cat1010020
    I heartily endorse Skimmies, and I took your recommendation and sized down–excellent advice!

    • Ginger June 23, 2016

      Another pettipant fan! I particularly like them under straight hip-hugging skirts when I want more crotch circulation. A regular slip will ride up but pettipants stay down. They’re also fab for loose linen pants. They provide a little extra opaqueness and keep the crotch from bunching and wrinkling so bad. I order them online. If you frequent outlets you can sometimes find them way in the back at the VF (Vanity Fair) outlet. They hid with the half slips so it’s for shopping trips where you have time to thumb through the racks. In cooler weather the capri-length can up the game on inexpensive unlined pants and make them hang like they’re lined.

      And yes – also a fan of skimmies.

  • Lee4 June 22, 2016

    You’re the reason I’ve been able to fix the dreaded chub rub! I first bought the wrong type of Skimmies–the short version. They are comfortable until they roll up my thighs–drives me nuts. I went to Target & bought something similar to the Jockey Shimmies–they are the Maiden Form brand & are still working great.

  • Kate K June 22, 2016

    I LOVE that you put this together. I still remember the first time I experienced chub rub–I was 22, I was in Minneapolis, it was 90+ degrees and humid, and I was walking miles in a cute little pink skirt to get to a concert. It was hell, and it was also so confusing–I had no clue what the hell was even happening.

    And now, it’s something that I have to constantly be vigilant about. I wear bike shorts, I’ve used BodyGlide (grrr about the unnecessary gendering though) and I plan to buy a pair of Skimmies sooner rather than later. Last year I was at a music festival and I was too warm for my bike short/dress combo. I ended up using my Dove deodorant as an emergency solution, and it actually worked quite well. I just brought it with me and reapplied when I used the porta potty (which was slightly nuts but it worked.) I don’t think it’s the best solution but it works in a pinch. And Dove makes those little travel size and you can buy them any Walgreens.

    • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen June 23, 2016

      Last night at dinner my friend said she does the same thing – travel sized Dove deodorant in her bag for this very reason!

  • Julia Silge June 22, 2016

    I just wore all dresses with nothing particular underneath for a hot weekend trip to NYC where we walked everywhere. THIGH SADNESS. I am totally ordering some Skimmies right now.

  • Amanda choj June 22, 2016

    I also like the “go dri” compression shorts at old navy, and gold bond friction defense.

  • Amanda choj June 22, 2016

    I cut most of leg off an old pair of tights in a pinch. Dkny makes shorts similar to this. I also like men’s merona boxer briefs, they are stretchy and thin and go on sale a lot. I bought 4 pairs for $10.

  • Grace McNamee Decker June 22, 2016

    I’ve tried EVERYTHING. I dislike undershorts that feel like… short stockings. Too hot. Bike shorts, in a smooth, silky stretchy material have become my absolute favorite. I have three pairs of these. They are called “compression” but that’s not really true, unless you ordered them small. They come in plus sizes and they make my summer skirt wearing self so happy. http://www.aerotechdesigns.com/plus-women-fitness-compression-shorts.html

  • Heather June 22, 2016

    I forget where I first heard of it, but Skindura Secret Shield is the BEST. One application in the morning and I have no issues all day. It feels so smooth and no tacky feeling at all. Worth the price! https://www.etsy.com/listing/93899508/2-oz-secret-shield-skin-barrier-balm

    Gold Bond Friction Defense is a decent option when I need a replacement that’s more readily available than the Skindura. I find it to last longer and be less tacky than Body Glide.

  • the cape on the corner June 22, 2016

    alright, i need to try these skimmies. my go to are bike shorts, or now they are more like yoga shorts. i also found a slip that is shorts, but i have to hoik them up really high to not be seen and to be in the right spot on the thigh. thanks for this post, and glad to hear that the chafing gel didn’t work. well, not glad to hear, b/c that stinks, but you know what i mean. a different opinion.
    thanks,
    b

    • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen June 23, 2016

      I wonder sometimes if the people writing these posts about chub rub really use the product, or if they’re just trying to get clicks. Some of the suggestions do not sound good (Coconut oil? On a hot sweaty humid day? I even saw using lube!) and this is a real issue so many of us face. I dealt with it even when I was 104 lbs, and while some popular tricks work for some (like deodorant or powder which don’t do it for me), some I think are cobbled together just for clicks or SEO. Booo!

  • Wendy June 22, 2016

    I bought the Jockey skimmies after you reviewed them two years ago and they are indispensable! The following fall I bought 4 more pairs at a steep discount at our Prime outlet Jockey store. The are still in great shape, and I wear a pair almost every day in the summer. They were a life saver when I was using a knee cart for my broken foot.

  • Krista Alexander June 22, 2016

    Four years ago I discovered Luvees. http://www.luvees.com Similar to Skimmies, these are all soft lace with a padded satin thigh pad. Luvees are no slimming, no smoothing, just comfortable. I use a few different things depending on what I’m wearing and how hot it is outside. But when it’s ridiculously humid (hello Cental Florida summer) and my outfit is a loose, long maxi, these are my go to. Excellent customer service as well.

    I also love my Jockey Slipshorts from Target and a pair of Skinny Britches from Nordstrom Rack. Though the Skinny Britches tend to make me hot so I only use them when I need a tiny bit of smoothing under a dress.

    • Allie at Wardrobe Oxygen June 23, 2016

      I have heard good things about Luvees but have yet to try them, thank you for sharing your experience with them, so helpful!!

  • Mallory June 22, 2016

    It can be not the best for black skirts, but I love the Lush powder Silky Underwear. It absorbs all the sweatiness and smells amazing. And plain old baby powder. I’m a powder gal.

    • Kathryn Braun Fenner June 22, 2016

      Be careful of powders–talc can cause ovarian cancer, and corn starch can exacerbate yeast issues….

  • It's a blur, sir. June 22, 2016

    Another Skimmies fan here! I probably have 20 pairs, and wear them every day. I too prefer the original length, not-wicking, not-antistatic ones (they aren’t as comfortable). They do run quite large–by their size chart I should be wearing 3x, but I find the XL size most comfortable. Jockey sells on eBay, where sometimes you can get good deals on closeout colors, or sometimes with sales + discounts they can be pretty cheap at Kohls.

  • H June 22, 2016

    Thanks to your previous review, I own four pairs of Skimmies! LOVE them! The Monistat cream works for me when I am at a thinner size but not for all-day comfort like my Skimmies.

    • Kathryn Braun Fenner June 22, 2016

      Me, too!

  • Versatilestylebytracey June 22, 2016

    With my humid summers, I don’t want an added layer at all. I have been using Body Glide for 3 years and love it!

  • MonicaH June 22, 2016

    I LOVE Jockey Skimmies!! I tried them after reading your original review, and they are amazing. They are ridiculously comfortable and I find that while they aren’t Spanx, they do offer a small amount of smoothing. I also buy the original length and just hike them up a little bit if needed. My new rule for any kind of dress or skirt is: “will the Skimmies work underneath it?”

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