Why Runners Use Vaseline For Chafing

If you’ve ever come back from a long run with severely irritated skin and red raw chafing, you’ll know how delicate the body can be post-recovery. Chafing is a distance runner’s nightmare.

Vaseline for chafing is one of the secret hacks that runners rely on to help combat this dreaded skin condition, but is it actually effective?

Vaseline is a great tool for runners as it can help prevent painful chafing while running long distances. It can be applied to multiple areas of the body and works by helping to moisturize your skin and makes a barrier between your skin and other body parts or clothing, preventing chafing.

Most runners use Vaseline to help keep their skin safe, but where do they apply the Vaseline for the best protection against chafing? Are there any Vaseline alternatives that work as well to prevent chafing?

Let’s take a look at your options!

Why Runners Use Vaseline For Chafing

Why runners use vaseline for chafing

Chafing is a painful and uncomfortable condition affecting many people’s skin. Chafing happens when there is friction on the skin’s surface from the movement of fabrics or other parts of the skin rubbing against the skin repeatedly. 

This causes the skin to be irritated, and it can look like a rash on the skin. Chafing is also known as friction burn due to how the skin looks when chaffed.

So, how does Vaseline help with the chafing problem most runners face during a race? 

Runners sweat a lot during their training, and particularly in long distance races or during hot weather. This sweat collects in certain areas of the body. These body parts are also mainly where your skin touches other body parts or clothing. This causes the skin to rub against other body parts or the fabric the runners are wearing. 

This rubbing and the sweat on the skin will create a burning sensation that will worsen as the runner keeps going, and will inevitably cause the runner’s skin to chafe.

This is where the Vaseline comes into play.

Runners will apply Vaseline in the areas they are prone to chafing. 

The Vaseline will form a barrier between the skin and other body parts or clothing. This decreases the friction on the skin, which helps prevent chafing. Vaseline also has moisturizing properties that help keep the skin hydrated and stop the sweat from gathering in certain locations on the body. 

This also allows Vaseline to soothe skin, so if the runner has already started chafing halfway through a race, it will prevent the chafing from getting worse and make the already chaffed skin feel better. 

Where Runners Apply Vaseline To Prevent Chafing

So, Vaseline is an excellent tool in a runner’s kit as it can help prevent any possible chafing during a run, and it can also help treat any chafing that has already occurred.

If you are a new runner worried about chafing during an upcoming marathon, or in hot or wet weather, then Vaseline should be something you buy and carry with you. 

However, you might not know where the best places are to place the Vaseline to ensure you get the best protection from chafing. There are a few places you can apply Vaseline to help protect your skin. Here are the most common places runners apply Vaseline for a long run:

  • Between the thighs – this is one of the most important places to place Vaseline when you go running. When you run, unless you are extremely thin, your thighs will touch and rub as you move forward. This can cause painful chafing on the upper thighs.
  • Under your armpits – this is also one of the worst places to chafe while running as it can affect your arm movement due to pain for days after the run. This is again due to your skin rubbing together as you move your arms back and forth while running. 
  • Nipples – chaffing on nipples can happen due to the fabric of your clothing rubbing on them while you run. This can be extremely painful as nipples are generally more sensitive than other body parts. This chafing affects men more than women, as women usually wear a sports bra when running, but it can still happen to women. 
  • Feet – this isn’t a problem for most people, but some can chafe on their feet when running due to their socks rubbing their toes, ankles, and feet. This is extremely painful, especially if you chafe before finishing a marathon and you have to run on chafed feet or sensitive sore legs
  • Your genital area – this may seem like a strange place to put Vaseline when running, but it can be necessary for some people. This is especially needed if you don’t wear proper running underwear and shorts. 

Vaseline Substitutes For Chafing

Vaseline can help protect many areas of the body from chafing while running. Vaseline is generally something most runners cannot live without.

However, there are some instances when you can’t use it…

Perhaps you can’t find Vaseline before your run, or you might not like the smell or texture, which makes it difficult for you to use it. Some people can also be allergic to Vaseline, although this is rare. 

If you fit into one of these groups, you might be wondering if there is a Vaseline alternative you can use to help prevent chafing while you run. Thankfully, there are other options for you. 

Body Glide 

BodyGlide for Chafing

This is a great product specifically made for runners and other active people prone to chafing. Body Glide works in the same way that Vaseline does when it comes to helping prevent chafing while running. 

This product also lasts longer than Vaseline, meaning you don’t need to re-apply it regularly. Body Glide comes in the shape of a deodorant stick for easier application. The only downside to the Body Glide product is that it can stain certain types of clothing.

Body Glide is an excellent Vaseline alternative for runners if you don’t mind this little drawback. 

Aquaphor Cream

Aquaphor anti-chafing

Aquaphor cream is a baby cream used to stop diapers from chafing the baby’s sensitive areas, but it can be used to help prevent chafing while running. This product is easy to find in your local stores and is generally not too expensive. 

This cream also helps moisturize your skin and works the same way as Vaseline does, and this product feels similar to Vaseline. Aquaphor cream also prevents wetness or sweat from building up in the chafe-prone areas, which further prevents chafing, making this a great Vaseline alternative. 

Our Verdict On Vaseline For Running

Vaseline is a great tool for runners as it can help prevent painful chafing while running long distances. Vaseline can be applied to multiple areas of the body to prevent chafing.

It works by helping to moisturize your skin and create a barrier between your skin and other body parts or clothing. 

This reduces the friction on the skin in certain areas, preventing chafing.

Author Profile

Alex Randall

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Alex is the editor at Revel Sports. It was his idea to take our post-club-run chats and build a website out of them. He is responsible for dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s when any of us have something to post. (Basically: it’s all his fault). A ferocious 5K powerhouse on his day, Alex is known for not understanding the meaning of the term ‘negative split‘.
Alex Randall

Revel SPorts Contributor

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