What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
I recently had to bid adieu to another pair of jeans.
And, oh, they were good jeans. Deep indigo blue, not too tight, not too loose, the kind of jeans that give your ass a hug with every step. RIP, sweet denim friend. Why did I have to relinquish these jeans to elephant burial ground of clothing in the back of my closet?
Chub rub. That's why.
Now, some of you may have to ask: What is chub rub? (And if you have no idea what chub rub is, I kind of hate you a little bit.)
CHUB RUB: When the inner thighs of a human touch, and upon locomotion, rub together, thus causing friction resulting in a number of maladies including, but not limited to chafing, blisters, rashes, bleeding, bumps and discoloration.
Chub rub. Everybody gets it. Fat, thin, inbetweenie -- thighs will be thighs! And they like to get cozy. I have been a lifelong chub rub sufferer.
My earliest chub rub memory is from when I was 11. My parents had sent me to tennis camp. I was a regular kid, taller than most kids (I hit 5'5" when I was 12 and stayed there), taking on a pear shape early on, but still victim to being called "Olive Oyl" by the mean kids.
After a grueling day of hitting balls, my mom picked me and my friend up from camp and loaded us into the car. As we pestered my mom to take us to McDonald's (I had a religious devotion to McNuggets), I raised up my shorts to take a look at the stinging that had been taking place for the last couple hours on my inner thighs.
Before I could really take stock of my pink and puffy inner thighs, my friend cried out, "Louise! What's wrong with your thighs?" Wrong with them?
I still didn't think to be embarrassed, so I told her that I was sweaty at camp and that my thighs rubbed together. "Your THIGHS rubbed together? Mine don't. That's weird," my delightful campmate replied, and I felt the first twinges of what I can only call shame.
Of course, it didn't help that my mom heard all of this and started barking from the front seat, "TALCUM POWDER! YOU NEED TALCUM POWDER! SPREAD IT ON YOUR THIGHS! KEEP IT WITH YOU AT CAMP! NO MORE BLISTERS!"
I wanted to leap from the moving station wagon. No way was I going to be the thigh-friction kid AND the kid covered in white shit.
Thus began my battle with chub rub.
Gone now is the shame and embarrassment, cuz, hey, rub happens, but it's replaced with a near obsessive determination to confidently wear non-pants clothing without fear of retribution.
I don't know about yours, but mine is the kind that can shred denim, not to mention my thighs. I literally have a scar from an afternoon I spent walking around Kansas City (y'all, the Midwest gets HUMID) one summer sans chub rub protection.
My usual go-to protection used to be antiperspirant or deodorant. Simply slather on your inner thighs after slathering in your pits. It worked well in LA, but upon entering more balmy regions it did not seem to hold up.
I'm embarrassed to say I once tried Astroglide in a pinch (don't ask) which actually worked for a short time, but frankly it felt kind of gross and really, who wants to put Astroglide all over their thighs?
Bike shorts under skirts are the eternal go to, but they can get hot and don't always work when you're wearing something shorter and skimpier, unless you're going for that whole 90s "The Real World, San Francisco" vibe.
Lately, I've taken it upon myself to make some homemade chub rub remedies, with varying success. I've yet to find an answer to my thigh's pants-shredding tendencies (anyone? anyone?), but as for skin on skin contact, here are my findings.
Silky Powder AKA Knock Off of Lush's Silky Underwear Dusting Powder
I know, I know, I heard my mother's voice screaming about "TALCUM POWDER!" too when I tried this.
Lush makes a dusting powder that is supposed to deodorize and keep you fresh in your panties, but also makes a pretty damn good chub rub powder. Because I'm stubborn and egotistical, I refuse to buy anything I am convinced I can make myself. So, I made my own Silky Powder.
The recipe I used consisted of:
- 1 part arrowroot powder
- 1 part cornstarch
- 1/2 part finely grated cocoa butter (So, if you use 1 cup of arrowroot powder and 1 cup of cornstarch, use 1/2 cup of cocoa butter.)
- 5 drops lemongrass essential oil
Mix up all the dry ingredients and, while you're mixing it all up drop in (one drop at a time) the essential oil. Sift it into a shaker (I used an old dry shampoo shaker).
I sprinkled some into my underpants and then some on my thighs and rubbed in. It kept the chub rub at bay for an evening, but by the end of the night I started to feel the rub. Plus, there's a learning curve, in that I'm messy and I got it everywhere. Don't wear black clothing the first time you use it. Just saying.
Overall, I liked this a lot and it was so easy and simple, but once the temperature rises I may need more protection.
Coconut Oil Cream
Honestly, this is what I use for deodorant in my crunchionista world. My reasoning was, the first time I used this, is that it keeps my pits pretty dry and fresh smelling, so why not try it on my thighs?
- 1 part virgin coconut oil
- 1 part arrowroot powder
- 1/2 part baking soda
- 3-5 drops tea tree oil or another essential oil of your choosing (though I'd stay away from oils that could be potentially irritating like lemon or clove)
Mix this all up, put it in a bottle and rub a thin layer into your thighs. This holds up for me through an afternoon hike in the middle of a Hawai'i summer, and into dinner after. It's a little tacky at first, but goes away pretty quickly. If your mixture is too soupy, just use less coconut oil. You'll have a more powdery consistency, but it works just as well.
And if the homemade route doesn't soothe your chafe, there's the always effective...
Pretty simple. Buy it. Use it. Love it.
It's a gel that upon smoothing onto your thighs, gives your hours of chub rub freedom. It goes on clear, feels silky and stays put. I personally, haven't used it in years because of my crunchy hippy dippy leanings, but it works like a charm.
I've yet to be able to replicate it in my kitchen but when I do, THE WORLD WILL OPEN IT UP AND IT WILL BE BEAUTIFUL.
BTW Benefit's Dr. Feelgood works great in a pinch too!
So this is what I've been up to. Slathering shit on my thighs. I'm not sure I've found the perfect answer yet, but I'm nothing if not determined.
Do any of you have any tried and true chub rub remedies? Any chub rub remedy fails? What works for you?