Do Wetsuits Stop Chafing At Some Point?

Chafing can be a real nuisance when you’re out there in your wetsuit, enjoying various water sports or just swimming. You might be wondering if wetsuits will stop chafing over time as you break them in, or will they keep chafing you for their entire lifespan?

do wetsuits stop chafing

If a wetsuit is chafing you, that is a sign that there is something wrong with the fit, the stitching, the neoprene material, or your movements while wearing the wetsuit. The chafing is unlikely to go away on its own unless you do something about it, such as applying anti-chafe balm or getting a new, better-fitting wetsuit.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into understanding chafing and wetsuits, exploring better ways to protect your skin and ensure comfort during your water adventures.

Wetsuits and Chafing

Chafing can be a real nuisance when you’re trying to enjoy your time in the water. When it comes to wetsuits, chafing usually occurs in certain key areas, like your thighs, nipples, and crotch. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent it.

Even though wetsuits are made from neoprene, not all neoprene is the same, and neither do all wetsuits fit the same. The fit of your wetsuit is crucial to both your comfort and minimizing chafing issues.

  • A well-fitted wetsuit should feel snug without restricting your movement.
  • It should not have too much excess material that can cause rubbing against your skin.
  • Pay special attention to areas such as the armpits, neck, and knees, as these can be common trouble spots for chafing.

To help reduce chafing, you can also use specially designed balms or lubricants on your skin before putting on the wetsuit. These products hydrate your skin and create a barrier to minimize friction between your skin and the wetsuit material. 

If you’re still struggling with chafing, washing your wetsuit with a gentle detergent can help remove any irritating chemical residues from manufacturing. We delve into these topics in more detail below.

Common Areas of Wetsuit Chafing

In this section, we’ll discuss the common areas where wetsuit chafing often occurs. By being aware of these problem spots, you can take preventative measures to help minimize discomfort during your aquatic adventures.

  • Neck Chafing: The neck area is one of the most susceptible to chafing when wearing a wetsuit. The constant friction against your skin as you move and twist can cause irritation and discomfort.
  • Armpit Chafing: Armpit chafing is another common issue, especially during activities that involve a lot of arm movement, like swimming or surfing. To reduce armpit chafing, ensure that your wetsuit sleeves fit comfortably and are not too tight around your arms.
  • Leg and Thigh Chafing: The leg and thigh areas can also experience chafing due to friction from your wetsuit. This is especially common around the crotch and inner thigh area, where the wetsuit material rubs against your skin during movement. 

Now that you are aware of these common chafing areas, make sure to find a well-fitting wetsuit and the use of anti-chafe products can make all the difference in avoiding these uncomfortable issues. More on that in the next section below.

Preventing Chafing

Proper Wetsuit Fit and Selection

One of the most effective ways to prevent chafing while using a wetsuit is choosing one that fits correctly and is designed for your specific activity. E.g. specifically get a surfing wetsuit for surfing, a scuba wetsuit for scuba diving, a triathlon wetsuit for triathlons, etc.

A well-fitting wetsuit should be snug but not restrictive, and should allow for a full range of motion. If chafing prevention is a priority, look for wetsuits with soft neoprene, flexible design features, and interior sealed seams that reduce friction and increase comfort.

Applying Lubricants and Balms

Lubricants and balms play a crucial role in preventing chafing by creating a barrier between your skin and the wetsuit. Products like BodyGlide are designed specifically for this purpose and can be applied to areas prone to friction, such as the neck, armpits, and thighs. 

Avoid petroleum-based products such as Vaseline, as a lubricant. They can wear down the neoprene material and deteriorate your wetsuit over time.

Protective Clothing

Wearing protective clothing under your wetsuit can help reduce chafing and increase overall comfort. A rash guard is a popular choice as it’s made of quick-drying material and provides a barrier between the wetsuit and your skin. 

Not only do rash guards help prevent chafing and skin irritation, but they can also provide extra sun protection during your favorite water activities like surfing or doing a triathlon.

Just make sure that whatever you choose to wear under your wetsuit fits you snug as well, otherwise your wetsuit undergarments may cause the very problem they are trying to solve!

Choosing the Right Wetsuit Features

When it comes to finding a wetsuit that prevents chafing, paying attention to specific features is crucial. In this section, we’ll discuss the importance of seams and zippers, softer neoprene materials, and extra padding and edges.

Seams and Zippers

Selecting wetsuits with the right seam and zipper types can greatly reduce chafing. Flatlock seams, for instance, are designed to minimize irritation by providing a smoother surface against your skin. For zippers, opt for those with protective flaps that cover the zipper teeth, preventing them from rubbing against your skin during your water activities.

Softer Neoprene Materials

Softer, high-quality neoprene materials can lessen the incidence of chafing by providing a comfortable, snug fit. Allergic reactions are also less probable with better neoprene, so it’s worth investing in a wetsuit that uses premium materials. Additionally, consider wearing a rashguard underneath for added protection from irritation.

Extra Padding and Edges

Wetsuits with extra padding in high-friction areas, such as the neck and armpits, can provide an added layer of cushioning and help prevent chafing. Furthermore, look for wetsuits with rolled or reinforced edges as they can provide a softer surface against your skin, which may reduce irritation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent neck chafing from my wetsuit?

To prevent neck chafing, ensure you have a well-fitting wetsuit and consider applying an anti-chafing balm or product such as BodyGlide before wearing the suit. You can also use a rash guard with a high neckline under your wetsuit as an extra protection layer.

What are the most effective anti-chafing products for swimmers?

Some popular anti-chafing products include BodyGlide, KT tape, and silicone-based lubes. These products can be applied to susceptible areas like your neck, underarms, and behind the knees to help reduce friction and irritation.

Which wetsuit brands are best for preventing chafing?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, as the most comfortable wetsuit brand depends on your individual body shape and preference. It’s important to try on different brands and sizes that cater to your measurements and comfort requirements.

How to treat chafing caused by a wetsuit?

If you experience chafing, applying topical solutions like aloe vera, cocoa butter, baby powder, or even diaper rash creams can help reduce discomfort. If the chafing persists, it may be time to invest in a new, properly fitted wetsuit. In the meantime, take a break from the water until you’ve fully healed and have a new wetsuit ready.

Can wetsuit neck protectors help with chafing?

Wetsuit neck protectors can indeed provide an additional barrier between your skin and the wetsuit, reducing chafing. However, you should also focus on having a well-fitting wetsuit and using anti-chafing products to further minimize irritation in this sensitive area.