Have you noticed an increase in blisters or chafing in those “not so nice” areas?
During running, chafing and blistering of the skin is caused by friction. Eliminate the friction—the chafing and blistering will go away automatically. There are a couple of key ways to eliminate the friction: technical clothing and anti-chafing products.
Technical running clothing and socks can reduce the risk of chafing and blistering by managing moister and ensuring a proper fit.
As cotton shirts, shorts, socks, bras, and other apparel absorb sweat, they begin to lose their shape. This happens because the cotton fibers begin to swell as the water is pulled into them. This change in fiber size causes the garment or socks to fit the body improperly.
Gravity also takes its effect as the weight of the water pulls on the garment causing it to stretch and become heavy. As this heavy stretching occurs, the garment begins to rub the skin in areas it was not designed for. This rubbing can lead to chafing or other forms of skin irritation.
Inside of the shoe, the friction between the foot, socks and shoes causes the swollen cotton fibers to pull apart and move around. The sock then begins to wrinkle and bunch, putting the foot at risk of hot spots, which can lead to blisters.
Technical fabrics designed specifically for running do not trap moisture. This means the effects of running in cotton (explained previously) are significantly reduced, if not eliminated all together. This makes a runner much more comfortable.
Ensure your footwear is fitted properly. If a shoe is too tight or even too big, it can cause some serious blister problems on your feet. Finding thePerfect Shoe can make all the difference in the world.
Anti-chafing and Anti Blister Products
In addition to wearing technical fabrics, there are also some very good products available to protect the skin from chafing and blistering. BodyGlide, BlisterShield, NipGuards, Trislide, ENGO Blister Prevention Pads and other similar products are very effective for reducing friction on the surface of the skin. They each create a shield for the skin to protect it from whatever is rubbing on it.
NipGuards are specifically designed to eliminate chafing of the nipple, which is extremely common among men. They are small patches that fit over the nipples and will not come off with sweat, like Band-Aids do.
BodyGlide, Trislide and BlisterShield are products that may be applied to the skin anywhere chafing and blistering is occurring. These products do not get absorbed into the skin because of their chemical composition. They can be applied at the beginning of the event with very little, if any, need for reapplication (even during triathlons). These products are different than Vaseline because it is not absorbed into the skin.
ENGO Blister Prevention Pads are extremely durable, low-friction patches manufactured with very sticky adhesive. Its unique application to footwear, insoles, socks, and athletic equipment— NOT APPLIED TO THE SKIN —provides easier, longer lasting, blister free protection and relief. Because each patch is thin and moisture resistant, it is the perfect tool for blister prevention on the feet.
Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) is typically NOT a good anti-friction substance. It may work for short periods, but it is eventually absorbed into the skin, causing the skin to become even more tacky than it was before, which increases the risk of chafing. The other products mentioned above are designed specifically for the needs of an active person.