Anyone else experience "armpit chafe?"

SWriverstone

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Jun 22, 2021
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Eugene, OR
I'm almost embarrassed to mention this, but during the longest saltwater paddle I've done in a long time this past weekend, I experienced a somewhat painful case of "armpit chafe" in just one of my armpits. Anyone else ever have this issue?

It was completely unexpected—I've never had a problem with it before on regular 5-6 mile workout paddles on freshwater lakes where I live. (I never had a problem with it on 12-mile brackish water paddles in bays and marshes either.) So I'm guessing it's saltwater-related. (If I'd known it might happen I'd have brought some A-D ointment or similar).

Ouch!
Scott
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Dec 7, 2011
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SportShield is another good product; I use it.

But PFD fit is important, too. Quite a few PFDs I've tried on have not fit well around my arms/armpits.
 

SWriverstone

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Jun 22, 2021
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Eugene, OR
SportShield is another good product; I use it.

But PFD fit is important, too. Quite a few PFDs I've tried on have not fit well around my arms/armpits.
I wondered about that too...but my vest gives plenty of clearance around my "pits." I also wondered if it was the tightness (or lack thereof) of the shirt/rash guard I was wearing, so I changed to something loose and it didn't help.
 

drahcir

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Mar 26, 2010
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North Idaho (Sandpoint)
Hmmm ... Some sort of anti-chafe cream belongs in my first aid kit. I've never needed it, but I might. And also true for fellow paddlers on a group trip.
 

a_c

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Dec 23, 2014
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Victoria, BC
I dress lightly, usually just a short or long sleeve technical (running) shirt under the drysuit, and was having the same problem.

The shirt cut and fit helped, but the best thing I did was to buy a proper paddling shirt - I think they even call them 'rashguards' - it's stretchy and solved my problems. Added bonus is the 50 UPF sun protection rating. The shirt I have is 86% polyester, 14% elastane, made by Billabong. Probably more popular with the SUP crowd, but I found it works well. Not a big fan of gooping myself up so I stay away from the creams, if I can avoid it.
 

Peter-CKM

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Dec 1, 2011
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San Francisco, CA
Did you wear something different than normal? Something that fits different or has seams in a different spot? Perhaps that is the culrit. I have certain base layers that cause some chafing.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Not a big fan of gooping myself up so I stay away from the creams, if I can avoid it.
I'm with you on that - I'd rather stay home than cover myself with zinc oxide! :)
Sport Shield is strictly an anti-friction 'lube' product - no ointment properties. It's a clear colourless liquid and the bottle is a roll-on applicator.
It's also a good blister preventative for the feet - I buy it at the local running store.
BTW (I checked with the manufacturer) Sport Shield is 'latex safe'. I use it on my neck when I'm wearing a drysuit, and have had no gasket problems because of it.
I think Body Glide is similar but I've never used it.
 
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sofstu

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Jun 14, 2021
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Kootenays BC
I am with those saying Pit hair may be the issue, especially in the heat.
However I know a few people who have become intolerant to most laundry detergents. Myself included.

If you notice you are scratching yourself more and more try switching to one of the natural products in the health food stores.
It made a big difference with me
 

JohnAbercrombie

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However I know a few people who have become intolerant to most laundry detergents.
From time to time, I suspect I have the same problem with detergents.
To meet the "Energy Efficiency" targets, most front-load washers don't use much water, and leave soap residue in the fabrics. (To test - just put an item of clothing stright from the washer into a bucket of clean warm water and agitate.)
We use "extra rinse" on everything and it seems to help.
 

cougarmeat

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Sep 17, 2012
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Bend OR USA
These days I just wash “tight fitting” interior garments in extra hot water - no soap. After several washing, I’ll run them with conventional (dermatologist approved) soap and then put them in for another non-soap wash with two rinses.

But I’d think you really want to examine your paddling garments, SUP people do a lot of paddling too and I’m guessing there are new designs that are cut to minimize seams that would rub.

For me, the problem with chaffing is the high possibility of the next step, sort of a fungal infection. As my dermolotogist explained, “… roughed up skin, dark, warm, environment; a perfect place to grow a culture.” So in addition to a “lube” like BodyGlide, you might want to include some anti-fungal cream too.
 
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