The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Preventing Chub Rub aka Thigh Chafing

New additions to this post added August 23, 2013! See the bottom!

My mailbag yielded this great question from a reader.

Hi Bevin,

I have a bit of a sensitive question. On your blog, you’ve got all these pictures of you wearing FABULOUS dresses…but what do you do to prevent chaffing? (Or is this not a problem for you?)

(I did a search at your blog before I asked. I hope it’s not too personal!)

Thanks for your blog–it’s fantastic!

–An amateur queer fat femme!

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Camping at FemmeCamp! It got fancy.

Dear Amateur Queer Fat Femme:

Thank you so much for your question and the compliment! I’m so excited to be a resource for you and others. In fact, I have never addressed the timely and relevant issue of chub rub on this blog. (Chub rub is also known as thigh chafing, summertime thigh sweat issues, fat thigh rubbing and the like. But I like chub rub.)

When I was a baby Femme I didn’t think I would ever get to wear dresses all the time for two reasons: the mysterious chaffing between my thighs that made wearing them excruciating, especially in the summer, and my aversion to carrying purses.

And then something magical happened. When I was about 22 I discovered there was a name for this mysterious chafe, and it was chub rub. And there are numerous solutions for it! Also around the same time I discovered a purse I absolutely fell in love with that made me want to carry a purse. And once I had the freedom to carry more things than a wallet and my keys (like femmenabling items like lipstick, hand sanitizer, safer sex supplies and chub rub solutions) I decided there was no going back with this Femme thing, I was all in.

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This is a replica of the purse I fell in love with and carried to death. I used to collect Marilyn Monroe purses, though this one is a photo of another blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield.

So, how to solve the issue of chub rub? First of all, I want to say this is not just a problem for fat people. This is a problem for lots of folks of all sizes who wear pants and who wear dresses. Chub rub is a pervasive fashion issue. Luckily, fat femmes have each others’ backs and we’ve been swapping these solutions for years. Here are some methods I know about, starting with the two I prefer.

First is wearing shorts under your clothes. Not just any shorts, tight fitting shorts. Bike shorts help some.

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Mackenzi found some bike shorts she swears by from Target in the athletic wear section this summer. Here she is in front of her amazing store! It has a brand new ecommerce site so go visit and buy lots of gifts and housewares from her and support a queer fat femme owned business!

I use shaping garments for my shorts-under-dress solution. The best I ever found were from Lane Bryant about 9 years ago. I am grateful that when I worked there I bought a bunch so now they’re only just getting tattered. I have never found such good quality and comfort in a shaping garment since. I think you can get some good ones still from the girdle section of your local department store.

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Me & Sarah Jenny. Sometimes you’re wearing something so clingy that a full-body shaper situation helps to keep the dress aligned. I’m one of those people that doesn’t buy into the thought that shapewear actually makes you look any thinner, I think it just moves your fat around so dresses might fit a little bit differently than if you were freefatting.

This Macy’s light control girl short is exactly the shapewear I am talking about and about half the cost of the ones I bought at LB (that have lasted years). I think shapewear can be a great investment if it isn’t Spanx. Those disintegrate far too quickly and I find them a poor value.

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Me, Leslie and our friend Kwame at a Fourth of July BBQ wearing dresses in the heat. I am freefatting.

I have tried the Lipo in a Box brand (unfortunate name for shapewear) and I found their shorts bunchy and fiddly but they will do the job in a pinch.

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Coordinating tights/leggings/teggings are also a great chub rub solution along the lines of shorts-under-dresses.

If the idea of shorts under dresses sounds hot, well, it usually is (which is why you want shapewear that breathes). So I love the option to use a specialty cream or lotion to ease the chub rub.

My brand of choice is Bodyglide. You can get it online or at running stores because runners chafe, too. I walk right into the running store, buy it, and I’m sure the staff knows that I am a fat girl in their store for the chub rub cream. I use Bodyglide to both prevent chub rub and treat it when it has already happened.

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I think body chemistry has a lot to do with how and whether a certain cream or lotion will work on you, but other friends have suggested:

*Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel, which you can get at drug stores in the ladycare aisle. I don’t love it because I like the ease of the stick application of Bodyglide.

*Raw Shea Butter Lotion, the brand I prefer is Nubian Heritage. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha turned me onto this brand and it is my very favorite, both scented and unscented versions. But I use it as body lotion and not chub rub cream.

*Deodorant. You’re putting it under your arms already, try it on your thighs?

*Silky Underwear Dusting Powder by LUSH I love LUSH from the bottom of my heart and my coworker Afrotitty suggested it to me as a sweet-smelling solution. I have some, I’ll try it.

Macy and My Block
Paparazzi moment! Meeting up with my friends Brian and Arnulfo for brunch on 4th of July. Photo taken by Arnie while I was on the phone with Brian and Macy was taking care of business. I’m wearing my favorite denim mini skirt that is actually a skooter (shorts built-in under a skirt that you can’t see are there–different from the kind where it’s just a front flap and you can see the shorts in the back, I hate those). I’ve gone hiking in these, climbed trees, clambered over rocks and walked for miles and miles with no worry about chub rub.

So, AQFF, I hope this list helps you grab those dresses from your closet and wear them comfortably through the rest of this summer and the rest of the times in your life you want to wear dresses!!

P.S. Anytime you purchase anything using the Amazon referral link on QFF.com I get a referral bonus and stash it away to buy myself fun stuff like books and toys. I appreciate it greatly. Thanks to whoever bought a lot of stuff in January!


Here are a couple more additions to our arsenal of thigh chafing prevention!

Bandelettes! 6″ bands of lace that grab onto your thigh fat and prevent chafing. My whole review of them is at this link! $14.99 and a bargain!

Here’s a great natural remedy for the chafing when it happens–a coconut oil calendula infusion! Take about an ounce of coconut oil and melt it, add some calendula (available wherever loose herbs are sold) and simmer for about 20 minutes. Then let it cool and rub it between your thighs for relief. Coconut oil is also another idea for chafe prevention.

*Butt Paste, an all natural diaper rash treatment and prevention! It comes in lots of sizes, and I found Butt Paste in 2 oz for $5.99 on Amazon. There is also a Maximum Strength Butt Paste. According to some of the online reviews folks prefer it because it is natural, effective and has a pleasant slight vanilla scent and most other diaper rash creams smell like medicine. Apparently the maximum strength is also good treatment if your chafing has gotten to the point of open sores.

Again, all chafe prevention creams and oils really depend on how your body chemistry works with them. If you have other methods not mentioned I’d love to hear about them!

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Comments

  1. I know this post is hella old, but I found it while looking for some chafe solutions (ended up buying myself some UnderSummers, highly recommend), and I have just got to say that I looooove that peacock dress you’ve got on in the fourth picture. Hot DAMN. I need that.

  2. I am 185 lbs, but quite athletically shaped. I dance, do yoga, etc. I am also not one of the gifted women in this world with the ‘thigh gap’ So my thighs HATE me in the summer. Thank you for the post. This will help me with a confidence booster in my Galaxy Bikini this summer. :D Thanks!!!!

  3. Love the post!
    Am I the only one who finds it though that even if I wear nylon tights or (even worse) lace ones it still rubs? That miserable pain of your skin wearing thin.. Never again! My go-to is always leggings. In the summer time, I just cut a pair off to just below where my legs stop touching. Problem solved! They even double as great yoga/workout underpants under my workout shorts – nothing creeping into places it shouldn’t when you’re bending into a pretzel! and honestly, I always buy the cheapest ones from primark, about £3 (I’m sure there’s an american version but unfortunately have no idea!) It doesn’t matter if I buy expensive or cheap – the chub rub will have the inner thigh bit of the leggings disintegrate equally quick!
    However next summer I am definitely attempting the bodypro glide or something similar! Did a curvy runway show this September and even just my three outfits up and down the runway were enough to nearly have me in tears! Never again!
    Love to all you bodypositive beauties! :)

  4. this is so helpful my chub rub hurts me so bad I want to say thankyou for all your help ….. ;]

  5. “Sometimes you’re wearing something so clingy that a full-body shaper situation helps to keep the dress aligned. I’m one of those people that doesn’t buy into the thought that shapewear actually makes you look any thinner, I think it just moves your fat around so dresses might fit a little bit differently than if you were freefatting.”

    THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I SAY. Thank you so much for sayin’ it, man.
    It just makes it easier to wear some stuff so clothing doesn’t shift around when I’m free fatting it. You’re the best, thanks again, seriously. I’m gonna try Bandelettes after your amazing review. <3

  6. Love this thread! I gave up wearing dresses and skirts years ago because I couldn’t find comfortable shapewear for my 2X body, and undergarments like slips and camisoles seem to have gone the c way of the dinosaurs. Ditto pantyhose. Now I’ve bookmarked a few sites so I can check out everyone’s fave smoothing undergarments. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Anti-Monkey Butt powder. I use it every day between my thighs & in the skinfold under my tummy. It’s also the bomb for boob/bra chafing. Basically its talc + calomine. Soothing & drying plus it has some “slip.” I live in hot, humid FL and it is a lifesaver. Also, no cornstarch so no weepy, oozy, red, painful, rash-filled yeast infections (I’m looking at YOU, Gold Bond powder!).

  7. Hey! These are some awesome tips – I’m so happy people are talking about chub rub so we can share advice and not suffer so much any more!

    I wanted to add another product suggestion – recently I tried Jockey Skimmies Slipshorts and so far I LOVE them. I have the 2x (the largest size, unfortunately) and usually wear a US 18/20, but these are super duper stretchy and I think someone a size or two larger or differently shaped could probably wear them comfortably (I tried on and almost bought the 1x but I liked the extra give of the 2x). Anyway, they have a higher waist and they come in a longer length or a shorter length. I got one of each and like the longer length better for most things because the shorter ones can ride up a bit (while the long ones stay perfectly in place), but the shorter length is good for really short stuff. They’re really light and stretchy, as opposed to bike shorts (too thick/bulky sometimes) or shapewear (super tight and not very comfortable), and they come in several colors (though most of them are not very exciting). I live in the hot and humid southeastern US, and these do a pretty decent job of being breathable. They’re also reinforced at the inner thigh, so rubbing through is less of an issue (I think I’ve rubbed through every pair of pants/shorts I’ve owned since I was ten). At $20 a pair they’re not super cheap but not super expensive either. They’re also good at hiding panty lines – I have a couple of pairs of super tight jeans I think I’ll wear them under in the fall!

  8. First time reading your blog, and I love it- thank you for all the ideas to keep cool and fresh this summer.

  9. Thank you!!!

  10. I used to be seriously humiliated by my chub rub. I was dating (and then married to great disastrous results) a super athletic tennis pro and the first time we were naked together was in mid-summer and I had rubbing burn all down my inner thighs. He was horrified and I was embarrassed beyond all belief. I spent the 5 summers we were together wrapping my thighs in every possible fabric, lotion, and powder I could imagine (and avoided being fully naked. Fun, huh? No. It’s not). My go – to was rubbing a coating of organic olive oil (still my favorite moisturizer!) on my inner thighs, and then powdering them with kaolin clay. It’s the same clay you use for face masks, and absorbs moisture like no one’s business. These days my partner, who loves every inch of my body, loves to help my apply anything I need to my thighs… :) Can’t wait to try those bandelettes!

  11. I worked as a summer camp counselor three years ago, and got the most AWFUL chub rub from ill-fitting underwear in summer CT heat! The nurse on staff gave me my new favorite product – A&D diaper cream! It can smell a little too much like a baby diaper (clean, of course, but still obvious) for some people, but I LOVE it – it works as both a deterrent and as treatment for chub rub already started. As it were, I’m wearing it right now… ;-)

  12. Rachael says:

    For a quick solution if you have a pharmacy near by, In the baby section they sell a deodorant type stick with diaper rash/ chafing cream in it. It’s awesome and easy to stick in your bag on the go. Really cheap and if you live in an area where your Stores don’t offer a a very wide selection (like I do ) it works.

  13. Want awesome, custom-made-to-your-measurements shorts? check out allihalla.com or allihalla.etsy.com she designs for all sizes, making things that actually fit your body and are built to last. She specializes in custom orders. Best of all, they cost about the same as american apparel, but without the fatphobia! Yay!

  14. Thanks so much for this post!! I wanted to add something to the list. When I was at Bonnaroo this year, things got really “rubby” down there and it hurt SOOOOO bad – I could barely walk! My on-the-fly solution? DUCT TAPE! I wrapped that shit around my thighs and it worked like magic :)

  15. I live by lightweight cotton legging shorts that are sold at various dance stores in the city. I wear them under dresses, jeans etc. Unfortunately, they tend to run small rather though :-( Bike shorts are also excellent!

  16. I second BodyGlide. I’m not fat, just a runner whose thighs rub together on long runs, and it works like a dream. It’s good for any chafing (I get nasty rub under my bra line if I’m doing more than 7 or 8 miles). It goes on very light, but it’s really effective.

  17. Justa Notha says:

    Hi I’m so glad I found your sits thanks to @afemmeinnycity!

    My trick is to just slather down with cocoa butter lotion (Walgreens brand) after I take a shower, maybe adding a little extra to my thighs in between times. This also helps with jean chafing & smells really good!

  18. Underneath a flowy (non-knit) dress, I just wear plain boxers; if it’s a knit fabric, I’ll wear men’s compression shorts (they pull up nicely if they’re too long). I have used deo, and it smells nice when it gets warm down there. I’m so going to have to get some more fun tights – especially for fall!

    Totally love your blog – love fatshion because I am fat and always looking for tips and ideas. Not queer, so I hope that doesn’t shun me! You’re fabulous, Bevin – keep it up!

  19. OMG this just happened to me. I hadn’t worn a skirt in a while and I forgot what happens if I am not wearing tights.

    After walking an hour in the mall, I had the worst chafing! It was miserable, and still hurting 3 days later.

    Thanks for the summer chub rub prevention ideas!

  20. THANK YOU!

  21. Thank you for posting this Bevin! I will definitely be trying some of these tips this summer.

  22. I used to wear bike shorts, but they were black and a little long for a lot of dresses I wear. I recently discovered tap pants, which I now use as a half-slip/to prevent chafing. They’re cuter than my old bike shorts, and they don’t have the problem of being too hot – they just feel like vintage-y lingerie. It’s along the lines of the split petticoat idea (love that). Now I also want to try the Lush powder.
    Since it’s the first time I’m commenting here I must say I love your blog! Fashion inspiration and fat (not to mention, queer) activism inspiration. I can’t wait for the day (should it ever come) that I can go to Rebel Cupcake.

  23. I’m one of those inbetween-sized people, so I don’t know if this is a solution for all of my fat friends, but.

    This year I’ve found, for super cheap, stretchy synthetic above-the-knee shorts. Made of…lace. So fancy, and so breatheable. I’m in Canada, and here I’ve seen them at Ardene and Garage.

  24. I have two solutions I tend to use:

    When it’s a short skirt I use silicone lube (seriously!). It’s awesome stuff, and keeps my legs slipping past each other smoothly.

    For a long skirt, I have split petticoats (one in black, one in cream, one in white). They look just like petticoats, but because they loosely cover each leg, there’s no rubbing.

    (I prefer not to wear shorts/leggings underneath, as I get too hot.)

    Hope some of those suggestions help too!

    xx Dee

  25. Caitlin says:

    I just bought some Lanacane Anti-Chafing Gel at Duane Reade and it is also doing the job! :)

  26. Thank you for so many different ideas! My go-to solution has been to wear leggings under my dresses, but that can get miserably hot when Brooklyn bakes like it did earlier this week. So many great ideas to try, and I’m especially interested in trying out the Silky Underwear Dusting Powder (as a fellow Lush-ite).

    Also, Bevin, omg! This!

    “Also around the same time I discovered a purse I absolutely fell in love with that made me want to carry a purse. And once I had the freedom to carry more things than a wallet and my keys (like femmenabling items like lipstick, hand sanitizer, safer sex supplies and chub rub solutions) I decided there was no going back with this Femme thing, I was all in.”

    I’m never quite able to explain to my (NUMEROUS) non-purse-carrying friends that, although a purse can be a burden, there is a sort of freedom in being able to carry around things you might need. For me it’s snacks, water, lipsticks, hairpins/bands, hand sanitizer, various first aid supplies and mints. And I gotta say, it feels awesome when I can whip out whatever it is someone needs from my big-ass bag.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Fellow plus sized blogger and superstar Bevin Branlandingham has blogged about the same issue. Read her views here on her super cool blog http://queerfatfemme.com/2011/07/14/the-queer-fat-femme-guide-to-preventing-chub-rub/ [...]

  2. [...] proponent for everyday, but it can help wiggle you into an outfit, smooth out a line, help prevent chub rub or act as a strapless bra that won’t migrate. The building block for a lot of fat style for [...]

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