Girl, 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 are the products I have used and have proven summer after summer to succeed in preventing chub rub.
The Best Products to Battle Chub Rub
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.
I used to not like Bandlettes but it seems they changed their design and now I am a fan. Bandlettes are bands of stretchy lace with silicone grippers; sort of like the top of a thigh-high stocking without the stocking. They're placed on your thighs right where they touch and prevent friction. These are a fantastic option for hot days where the idea of wearing another layer of clothing sounds like torture. They're also great for lightweight clothing where bike shorts or Skimmies may show through. I find the best way to wear Bandlettes is to put them on at an angle with the outer sides higher up. On an angle, the Bandlettes don't slide down yet still cover the right area. I know some like to have them higher on the inner thighs and lower on the outer thighs; play with them and find the right spot for your body. Bandlettes come in a variety of colors and sizes and cost less than $20; they're great to tuck into your purse or suitcase for those unexpected situations.
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.”
This post was originally written in 2016 and needed to be updated to include Megababe. Created by Katie Sturino, Megababe is a line of products that is cruelty-free, nontoxic, talc free, paraben free, and made specifically for women.
Megababe is best known for its product Thigh Rescue. With a subtle citrus scent, this is a consistency similar to… well Bodyglide or a thick lip balm. A little goes a long way; if you don't like this stuff it may because there is too much product. I find it works better than any other anti-chafe products on the market.
Megababe also carries a product called Bust Dust. Unlike most powders, this product comes in a pump bottle. Shake and pump exactly where you need it to fight sweat. I love wearing it under my breasts in the summer for comfort and to stop chafing, but I also like it for my thighs (it's really great when sleeping without wearing pants or shorts).
Shop Products to Fight Chub Rub:
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:
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!
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.
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.
My friend Erin turned me on to these, they're great under dresses for work and dressy situations as they also prevent cling and offer modesty. 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. Check out eBay, where you can find all sorts of sizes, lengths, and styles.
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 and they lasted almost a decade. 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.
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. My favorite are the Cool Nights pants from Soma. 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!