How to Prevent Skin Rashes Between the Legs

By Molly Harris

Warmer months signal the wardrobe shift to shorts, bathing suits, dresses and skirts, which means exposing a lot more skin. While inner thighs rubbing can be the unfortunate effect of a hot, sweaty day of inner-thigh friction, some rashes appear throughout the year and require different treatments.

Young woman applying legs cream
credit: KittisakJirasittichai/iStock/GettyImages
How to Prevent Skin Rashes Between the Legs

Identify Keratosis Pilaris and Rashes

Keratosis Pilaris is often mistaken for mild acne; however, the painless, small bumps are actually an accumulation of keratin, or dead skin cells. Though the condition is harmless, people affected may experience irritation due to itchiness, dryness or simple annoyance by what is sometimes seen as a "beauty problem." Keratosis pilaris is more noticeable when skin is dry, but scheduling an appointment with a doctor is not usually necessary.

Similar to keratosis pilaris, eczema is another form of rash that results in discolored, itchy skin. The affected areas usually start in the crease of the elbow or knee, but can occur elsewhere, including the inner thighs. Characterized by a leathery appearance, dry skin and bumps, eczema is rare with only 1 to 3 percent of adults reporting having it.

Whether from clothing, pantyhose or inner thigh friction, the chafing shouldn't be cause for alarm. Luckily, the resulting discomfort can be easily addressed once the problem has been resolved, though the area may be tender for a short period of time.

Moisturize to Treat Keratosis Pilaris

To treat keratosis pilaris at home, start by gently exfoliating the area with a washcloth or loofah. Avoid vigorous scrubbing; it can make the condition worse. Next, apply a keratolytic, or a chemical exfoliant. Ingredients such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid or a retinoid will help rid skin of the excess keratin buildup. Step out of the shower and moisturize. Mild keratosis pilaris may vanish simply by treating dry skin; therefore, apply a moisturizer up to three times a day whenever skin feels dry. This may reduce the problem without the need of a chemical exfoliant. For a natural solution, try making an exfoliant paste with baking soda followed by tea tree oil or witch hazel before moisturizing. To avoid in the future, take short showers or baths that are warm rather than piping hot. Keep moisturizing and stick to a mild body cleanser rather than a drying bar soap. Finally, reconsider shaving or waxing sensitive skin since these can cause keratosis to reappear.

Prevent Eczema Infection

While scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist may be necessary if home remedies do not reduce eczema, there are some options before doing so. Moisturizers like CeraVe, which contains ceramides, a fatty wax that locks in moisture, can be very helpful. Those who may have infected areas of staph bacteria because of eczema will find coconut oil may significantly reduce, if not dispose of, the staph bacteria. Aloe vera gel is another natural option. Be sure to extract from an aloe leaf or buy gel or juice from a natural store to avoid added alcohol, which can make burning or itching worse.

Heal and Protect From Chafing

Chafing is a relatively easy problem to fix. If there is a possibility for a hot, sweaty day of walking or running, preemptively treat by applying baby powder to the inner thighs. This will help prevent rubbing in the first place. If chafing has already occurred or is the result of clothing, try Vaseline or Body Glide to relieve the friction. Shower using a mild, moisturizing cleanser and wear soft clothing to prevent further chafing. If the area is really painful, apply A&D ointment, which works wonders thanks to the thick waxy ingredients that provide a little extra protection.

Seek Medical Treatment

Eczema can be difficult to get rid of. If the condition persists, visit a doctor to try a prescribed, medical cream. Though not an ideal solution, these creams can help control itching and repair the skin, but patients may run a higher risk of sunburn while using the topical ointment which may even be a carcinogen. Drugs may be prescribed to fight infection or inflammation. Talk with a dermatologist to determine what the best option is and whether there are alternatives to drugs such as wet dressings. The technique for application of wet bandages at home can be demonstrated by a doctor.