Which anti-chafe balms are best?
If you have sensitive skin, dealing with skin irritation is just another annoying fact of life. Even if you stick to hypoallergenic skin-care products, you can wind up with rashes and other irritations due to something as simple as friction. Your clothing or shoes rubbing up against your skin — or just two parts of your body brushing against each other repeatedly — can cause chafing that’s not only unsightly but painful, too. An anti-chafe balm helps reduce the problem by lubricating the skin to prevent friction. It also forms a protective barrier over the skin that draws sweat and other moisture away to keep you cool and comfortable.
With our buying guide, you’ll have all the facts you need to find the best anti-chafe balm for your medicine cabinet. We’ve even included some specific product recommendations at the end, such as our top choice from Body Glide, a hypoallergenic formula that doesn’t clog the pores and comes in a stick for easy, mess-free application.
What to know before you buy an anti-chafe balm
You can use an anti-chafe balm for any situation where you typically encounter friction, but there are certain applications where it works particularly well.
- Anti-chafe balm can prevent diaper rash if applied to your baby’s bottom.
- Runners and bike riders can use an anti-chafe balm on their inner thighs and groin area to avoid chafing during training or competition.
- Anti-chafe balm can prevent irritation on the feet when you’re wearing or breaking in new shoes.
- Anti-chafe balm can prevent chafing between areas of the body, such as the inner thighs or the inside of the upper arm and torso, when you’re wearing certain clothing, such as skirts or dresses.
- Women can prevent irritation on their back and torso by applying anti-chafe balm in the areas where their bra straps rub against the body.
Anti-chafe balm is available in several different formulas. All types are effective, but some formulas may fit your needs better than others.
- Sticks and roll-ons: These are usually the easiest to apply because you can smooth them over your skin directly from the container. It’s easier to control how much balm you apply, too. Some users worry about sticks and roll-ons collecting germs and bacteria because they touch the skin directly, though. They’re typically more expensive than other options, too.
- Lotions and creams: On the plus side, lotions and creams require a small amount of product to provide anti-chafing protection and are less expensive than sticks, making them an excellent value. However, the application can be messy, and you have to be very careful about washing your hands afterward to avoid getting the balm in your eyes or mouth.
- Gels: A newer option for anti-chafe balms, gels offer a quick-absorbing, lightweight formula. They spread well, too, so you don’t need to use much. However, they can cost a little more than other formulas.
- Wipes: Extremely convenient and easy to take on the go, wipes are especially good for use before a workout at the gym and offer a mess-free application, too. But some wipes are pretty small, so you need more than one to fully cover an area. That can get pretty expensive and create a good deal of waste for the environment.
What to look for in a quality anti-chafe balm
The ingredients in anti-chafe balm vary from formula to formula. Many balms include ingredients like olive oil, beeswax, petroleum jelly, and coconut oil because they can form a protective barrier for the skin and provide effective lubrication.
If you have sensitive skin, you should usually choose a formula with natural ingredients. These balms avoid ingredients like petroleum jelly and mineral oil in favor of plant-based hypoallergenic ingredients. Most natural anti-chafe balms are fragrance-free and feature a vegan formula.
You want an anti-chafe balm that’s going to provide lubrication and protection as long as you need it. Some formulas last longer than others, though. In general, a thicker balm will last longer and work best for more rigorous activities, such as long-distance running or cycling.
How much you can expect to spend on anti-chafe balm
You’ll usually pay between $6-$25 for an anti-chafe balm. You can find basic formulas for under $10, but you’ll typically spend $10-$18 for an effective, high-quality balm. If you want a premium anti-chafe balm, expect to pay $18-$25.
Anti-chafe balm FAQ
Is anti-chafe balm visible on the skin? Will it leave marks on my clothing?
A. Most anti-chafe balms dry clear, but they can appear white on application. That can cause white marks on fabric if your clothing comes into contact with the balm before it’s dry. Gel balms are usually clear, though, so they’re the best bet if you’re worried about stains.
How do I remove anti-chafe balm from my skin?
A. Anti-chafe balms usually only require soap and water to rinse off.
What’s the best anti-chafe balm to buy?
Top anti-chafe balm
Our take: A anti-chafe balm that earns rave reviews from most buyers for its effective, long-lasting results.
What we like: Offers a hypoallergenic formula that doesn’t clog the pores, and is ideal for daily use. Stick form provides convenient, mess-free application. Suitable for both men and women. Available in two sizes.
What we dislike: Thick formula may be uncomfortable in warmer weather.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top anti-chafe balm for the money
Our take: Budget-friendly, fragrance-free balm that’s effective for full-body use.
What we like: Moisturizes while it fights chafing. Formula is both sweat and humidity-resistant. Sulfate, paraben, petrolatum and dye-free.
What we dislike: Some users reported product not lasting 24 hours as it claims.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Our take: A highly potent, all-natural anti-chafe formula that can handle intense activities.
What we like: Features all-natural ingredients, including olive oil and beeswax. Doesn’t come off in water or during sweaty activities. Formula is suitable for all skin types. Can be used by serious athletes to hold up through tough workouts.
What we dislike: A fairly pricey option when compared with the competition.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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