Ask FGG: How do I Prevent Chafing When Wearing Dresses or Skirts?
Posted by Toni in Ask FGG
I wonder how my maternal ancestors solved this problem.

Here's a recent question from one of our readers:

What’s the best way to prevent your thighs from rubbing raw when you’re wearing a skirt or dress? I have a pair of Spanx, which are alright but they tend to roll down on me.

I think there are two approaches to finding relief from chafing: undergarments and skin care products. Okay, three if you count my standard M.O. of avoiding skirts and dresses altogether, but we all know that's not always possible (like the time I was fitted for a bridesmaid's dress while six months pregnant), or even desirable. Here's a quick rundown of these two ways of conquering this problem.


Shapewear - My grandma and her sisters called these girdles, but today's products are thinner, more breathable, and in theory, more comfortable. There are women who swear by Spanx, and there are women who swear at their Spanx (myself included). When we asked around the 'net for real-life solutions to chafing, one woman suggested going up a size if your Spanx are rolling down; it worked for her. I poked around a bit and found a less pricey alternative called  Sculptz, but haven't tried them.

Re-purposed Hosiery - If you get a snag or hole in your pantyhose or tights, cut them to an above-the-skirt length for instant smoothness at no extra cost. I know this is a pre-Spanx solution that many women have found unsatisfying due to the potential to roll up, but one of our readers swears by it so maybe it'll work for you, too.

Bicycling Shorts - Companies like Spanx and Sculptz carry shapewear cut like bicycle shorts, but if you just want to keep 'em separated rather than going for any sort of slimming effect, bicycle shorts will do the trick. No time to shop? One woman we heard from wears her husband's similarly-styled boxer briefs to prevent thigh rub! Now that's one I hadn't thought of.

Another reader shared advice on choosing a good pair of bike shorts on our Facebook page: "Choose some that have a long-ish leg (depending on your skirt/dress length) and are a light cotton/spandex mix so they breathe well. No synthetics! You'll be comfy, they don't roll up, and the shorts even have a bit of smoothing for a nice line under clothing." The main down side to this option is that it probably won't work under body-skimming or close-fitting dresses and skirts.

Skin Care Products

Roll-Ons - I haven't tried these, but one product I've yet to hear a bad thing about is BodyGlide's anti-chafe balm, which I mentioned in Part 2 of my guide to hot weather hiking. About the size of a small deodorant stick, it fits discretely in a purse and stands up even in sticky Texas heat, according to the women who recommended it. Similar products include  Sports Shield and Sportwax.

Powders - One reader suggested baby powder for chafing, but I'm not sure how well that would hold up after shaking it to "Baby Got Back" at your cousin's wedding (surely I'm not the only one who does this). Thankfully, sports-oriented companies are improving on this issue with products like Liquified Powder by BodyGlide. One surprising name that came highly recommended was Monistat (it's not just for yeast infections any more!), which makes a Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel that might help your inner thighs get along better.

Finally, it's not the sexiest product name you'll encounter, but Anti Monkey Butt powder claims to absorb sweat and reduce friction for activities like horseback riding, riding a motorcycle (where the phrase "monkey butt" originated, and extreme sports. If it can handle those activities, maybe it can tackle sweating through those salsa dance classes (just try not to giggle to0 much when recalling what's under that swirly skirt)!

Body Sprays - EDITED: A reader commented on the potentially harmful consequences of using products containing talc, so we'll err on the cautious side and nix that suggestion. This summary of existing research at the American Cancer Society web site indicates that that the jury's still out on this issue and that people concerned about talc may consider avoiding its use until more research can be conducted. If you're really hankering for a spray to prevent chafing, check out Tri-Slide, a silicon-based spray designed for triathletes.

Well, I hope this answers your question, or at least puts you on the road to cute comfort. As always, we want to hear from you about products and tips that actually work for fat girls - share what you know in the comments section!