Best anti-chafing solution?

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
edited February 2013 in Beginner Questions
@chlake1, better to create new thread instead of off-topic post... (from Your first long swim)

I like a 50/50 mix of lanolin and vaseline.
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  • Totally off topic, what the best anti chafing solution???
  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member
    Like @evmo I go with 50% vasaline, 50% anhydrous lanolin, and 10% zinc oxide (math is hard)
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited April 2012

    Like @evmo I go with 50% vasaline, 50% anhydrous lanolin, and 10% zinc oxide (math is hard)

    It's no coincidence. I got the formula from @david_barra, who has since, apparently, added a third ingredient. In theory, the 110% anti-chafing solution will leave you less chafed than when you started.
  • bobswimsbobswims Charter Member
    I hear wearing a wetsuit helps.
  • @bobswims I've seen pics of skin abraded through into sub-cutananeous flesh from a wetsuit on an Arch to Arc EC swim.

    Channel grease for me also, 50/50 petroleum jelly/anhydrous lanolin mix. 100% lanolin is fine for long swims, Vaseline works for me up to about 3 or 4 hours, emulsifying cream apparently is also quite good.
    http://www.loneswimmer.com
    More ocean than man
  • bobswimsbobswims Charter Member
    @ loneswimmer [SARC INT] : I was hoping for a more rabid response from my friends on this forum, particularly if that person told a story that Ederle squeezed out fat from baby dolphins to use as grease on her channel swim because she was allergic to salt water.
  • ssthomasssthomas Charter Member
    100% lanolin for me! I use most of a tube for a marathon swim, just were my straps rub and in my arm pits.
  • AquaRobAquaRob Charter Member
    I like Bag Balm. It's lasted up to 8 hours for me and also kept me unchaffed where properly applied through an 8+ mile swim in the Great Salt Lake. As an added bonus I can get it at the farm supply store at the same time as my beard shampoo :)
  • @AquaRob So your beard shampoo is actually ... cow shampoo?

    @bobswims if only we could find a good legal supplier of baby dolphin grease these days, I would recommend it, but it's getting difficult to get it past Customs.

    Co-incidentally, I followed an incoming referrer link off my blog today to this comment thread. Make sure to read down to the last one (cryptologic-technician) for the laugh.
    http://www.loneswimmer.com
    More ocean than man
  • AquaRobAquaRob Charter Member
    @loneswimmer not quite... it's horse shampoo

    after reading that runner forum I may have to rethink my lanolin usage... didn't realize sharks had such strong cravings for sheep... maybe swap it out with bacon fat?
  • For women - I shave under my arms 5 days before the swim. I get a lot less chafing that way - short hair is softer than the stubble from shaving immediately before.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited January 2013
    Here are your shoulders... here are your shoulders on saltwater... (h/t TBMS race director @RonCollins)

    image
  • jcmalickjcmalick Charter Member
    Screw it...you look more like a warrior if you go Ron's route! I prefer vaseline or A&D (not 100% confident in using lanolin with the sheer proportion of sheep fat...at least vaseline contains only a small portion of beef tallow and A&D cod liver oil) Anything to not help draw in marine inhabitants/predators especially without a shark shield, is my main priority!
  • Has anyone ever tried silicone stopcock grease? It's the stuff you use in chemistry labs to lubricate glass parts that fit together. When I was in college, I was a chemistry major and used to "borrow" some and use it on my feet when I did long running workouts. It was vastly better (and more expensive) than vaseline. Maybe I'll try to find some and report back.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • This is a complete beginner question. I'm doing my first 5km in the ocean next week. I've done the distance in freshwater before but not in salt. How do I know if I need anti-chafing solution or where to put it? Do you just slap it on immediately before the swim? If so, where?
  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member
    Kellie said:

    I'm doing my first 5km in the ocean next week. I've done the distance in freshwater before but not in salt. How do I know if I need anti-chafing solution or where to put it?

    IMHO Unless you have some serious stubble (and a stroke that makes frequent contact with said abrasive) you should be OK for a 5k. If you do experience any rub, it should be minor, and you will know where to lube next time.
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • I'm still in the process of choosing to go wetsuit or non for a 10 mile swim in July. Last yrs 8 mile swim I wore a sleveless suit from my ironman races and paid dearly with the Chaffee around neck and armpits. Even with bodyglide on. So one the fence with this decision. Buoyancy will be nice but the chafe made the time in water miserable. Thoughts?
  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member
    Chlake1 said:

    Thoughts?

    no wetsuit... problem solved
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • Do you foresee this being a huge difference in time or fatigue. Chaffee would certainly be less with out, yes.?
  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member
    Its about the journey... not getting to the end as fast as possible by any means.
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    bobswims said:

    I hear wearing a wetsuit helps.

    That's funny. Especially your response to LS. BTW, I've still got the marks from my stupid sleeveless wetsuit that the Brits forced me to wear for my first 10K (Dart 10K). Oh, and I swam that on September 3, 2011. http://mtheads.typepad.com/10kmarathonswim/2012/02/why-i-hate-wetsuits.html

    I'll never wear a wetsuit again.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member

    @bobswims if only we could find a good legal supplier of baby dolphin grease these days, I would recommend it, but it's getting difficult to get it past Customs

    How about baby nerpa seal oil? My wife might be able to get some for you from Lake Baikal. With a little взятки/vzyatki, the Russians would look the other way. http://mtheads.typepad.com/10kmarathonswim/2012/03/enough-of-this-paddling-around-in-warm-waters-followed-by-a-mai-tai-and-a-massage-lets-talk-about-a-real-challenge-thats-ri.html
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    edited April 2012
    Kellie said:

    This is a complete beginner question. I'm doing my first 5km in the ocean next week. I've done the distance in freshwater before but not in salt. How do I know if I need anti-chafing solution or where to put it? Do you just slap it on immediately before the swim? If so, where?

    @Kellie, I thought the same thing for my first 5K in salt water (Cyprus, 2010). Holy crap was I wrong. I should have put something on. My underarms were red and raw for days after. I won't make that mistake again.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    @Kellie - armpits are generally the first place to rub (for me, after about 45 mins in saltwater). Bodyglide should be sufficient for <90 mins. Assuming you are female, you may also want to consider lubing where your suit straps rub (?).
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited April 2012
    Chlake1 said:

    Do you foresee this being a huge difference in time or fatigue?

    Swimming in a wetsuit is easier and faster than swimming without one. Generally speaking, marathon swimmers do not find this an especially compelling reason to wear one (aside from the fact they are not allowed in most swims).

    If we wanted it to be easy, we wouldn't have chosen marathon swimming as a hobby in the first place.
  • @Kellie, I chafe after 20 minutes, I'm particularly sensitive, like the princess and the pea. I can't imagine doing a 5k like @david_barra says without protection. Underarms and back of neck for me for a 5k.
    http://www.loneswimmer.com
    More ocean than man
  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Charter Member
    I'm a delicate flower like @loneswimmer. I've had bleeding chafe marks from a 1K in saltwater.

    I chafe on the front and sides of my neck (from breathing), my upper arms where they sometimes brush against my swimsuit, and maybe near the straps on my swimsuit. (The right swimsuit shouldn't chafe, but it can if the straps are wearing out.)

    I would just slather the lube all over the possible hotspots: your neck, around your straps, under your arms, and on your inner forearms. Better safe than sorry.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    Has anyone used baby oil? No, @loneswimmer, I didn't say baby dolphin oil. But seriously, baby oil.
    After my 5K swim in Cyprus, when my armpits were burning, I bought some baby oil from one of the local shops. I swam the two days after the 5K (didn't want to pass up on swimming in the Med every day) and slathered the baby oil on my pits and it felt wonderful. No pain from the rash.
    But I've never tried it before a swim. Anyone?
  • Totally agree with @WaterGirl - better to lube on your first time out than have to fuss with the irritation and distraction of chafing.

    If you use anti-fog solution on your goggles, treat them first, before you get your hands greasy with lube. Carry a rag in your kit for degreasing your hands - paper towel actually works best but is hard to keep dry in a swim environment.
  • I never thought I'd be involved in a sport that require lube but based on the above I'll have to give it a whirl on Wednesday. Will report back when done. Thanks for the help!

  • So I can report that there was no damage to my skin after the 5km ocean swim today. On the other hand, I think I swallowed half an ocean of salt water and my throat is pretty sore and I got so cold it took hours to warm up afterwards (you'll all probably laugh when I tell you it was 20C, which I think I once read loneswimmer describe as mythical, but it's all relative right?). Anyway, thanks for the advice.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    edited January 2013

    Like @evmo I go with 50% vasaline, 50% anhydrous lanolin, and 10% zinc oxide (math is hard)

    @david_barra I'm kind of curious at the addition of the Zinc Oxide. If you are doing it for additional sun protection it would seem that you would need to apply the mix all over for it to be useful? Or are there other advantages?
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member
    I sometimes apply sunscreen all over... sometimes only on my face, back of knees, neck.
    Depends on the season, forecast, etc.
    Zinc oxide in the mix protects my pits whether I go with sunscreen or not
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • @dc_in_sf you have to take into consideration David's complexion. For those of us fair skinned OW swimmers, we need to apply the zinc oxide (Desitin maximum 40%) liberally, like Ray Gandy. It is great for chafing and sun protection and it stays on forever.

    image
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember

    I sometimes apply sunscreen all over... sometimes only on my face, back of knees, neck.
    Depends on the season, forecast, etc.
    Zinc oxide in the mix protects my pits whether I go with sunscreen or not

    Thanks for the clarification.

    My longest salt water swim so far has been 4 1/2 hours and Vaseline worked fine on that to prevent chafing. However since my next swim is going to be in the 8 hour range I figure I should switch up, and making sure I understand the options around the Vaseline/Lanolin mix.
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    gregoc said:

    @dc_in_sf you have to take into consideration David's complexion. For those of us fair skinned OW swimmers, we need to apply the zinc oxide (Desitin maximum 40%) liberally, like Ray Gandy. It is great for chafing and sun protection and it stays on forever.

    image

    I think I've seen this photo before..it cracks me up. it's without doubt the most outstanding lube job I've ever seen :) I think even a lamprey would slip off if it tried to latch on!! Imagine tripping over and falling in the sand... :)
    Zinc is the best though. I wore it for the Key West swim and still ruined six hotel towels afterwards because there was so much still stuck to me.
  • NiekNiek Member
    edited January 2013
    You can remove it with a cloth soaked in petroleum (oil) or kerosene.
    Don't smoke. ;)
    Afterwards was yourself with water.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • For those in the U.S.: To remove Desitin or ANY sunscreen go to a Dollar Tree store and get a shaving gel called "Shave Gel For Men" (catchy name) - it's in a blue tube. With that and a loofah sponge, you can get it off easily. Also, it's only $1.00.

    It's also very good for shaving with as well. I have the horrible combination of tender skin and a beard you could use to clean a barbecue grill and this is the only thing that doesn't make it look like I tried to commit suicide by slitting my throat.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • Simple baby oil (mineral oil) works well too.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    I mixed up my first batch of "channel grease" last night, a somewhat messy affair.

    I am thinking just going with @AquaRob 's Bag Balm might an easier and cheaper affair in the future. It is basically just channel grease + mild antiseptic agent (though the actual proportion of lanolin to petroleum jelly is unknown) and it is readily available at Walgreens (unlike anhydrous lanolin).

    Though if SolRx doesn't hold out on the Rottnest Channel swim I might switch to the Desatin coating concept :-)
    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited January 2013
    dc_in_sf said:

    readily available at Walgreens (unlike anhydrous lanolin).

    I get my lanolin from Amazon - LINK.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    evmo said:


    I get my lanolin from Amazon

    I got the same stuff from a different vendor on Amazon, glad to know I picked the right gunk :-)

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member

    For those in the U.S.: To remove Desitin or ANY sunscreen go to a Dollar Tree store...
    -LBJ

    If you walk into a Dollar Tree store looking like the picture above you might get strange looks from the cashier.

    Oh, wait! You mean before the swim. Ok. Got it.

    ;)
  • SharkoSharko Sonoma County, CAMember
    I have used a product called Aquaphor which has 41% Petrolatum or vasoline, Mineral oil, Lanoline and Glycerin....seemed to work well with chaffing and stayed on pretty well...3.5 oz jar is about $6.

    Sharko
    "I never met a shark I didn't like"
  • Aquaphor is prescribed for diaper rash, so I imagine it's good stuff for marathon swimming.
    Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska
    http://mollysbigswim.blogspot.com/
    www.facebook.com/molly.nance
  • ForeverSwimForeverSwim Charter Member
    edited February 2013
    @dc_in_sf - Make sure you test out the Bag Balm before you use it for Rottnest. I know swimmers who use it, however I had a bad experience with it during the Molokai Channel. Re-applying grease several times mid-swim = no more Bag Balm for me! Not sure if salinity/water temp in Hawaiian waters did something to the product, but it did not provide chafing protection very well. Just a thought...
    www.darren-miller.com
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    An unexpected hazard of buying this stuff off Amazon - I bought some lanolin online that was actually sold as a babycare product, and am still receiving the occasional ads from them for baby stuff. The system seems to assume that I looked up the products when I had a small baby, and that must therefore be about three - so they send ads for age-appropriate products. Very annoying. But the good news is that my imaginary child will be going to school in the next year or so, which we're all very excited about.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Congratulations! I hope you booked he/she into a good school at an early age.
  • The ideal child.
    No sickness, sleepless nights, designer clothes, worries later if she/he is carefully etc.

    When is the birthday and what is the name @KarenT. I'll send a postcard.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • @karenT, the sprog can have all of us as godparents. Big Christmas present haul.
    http://www.loneswimmer.com
    More ocean than man
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