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Do You Need Chamois Cream?

9 Jul 2015
Randall Cooper
Chamois cream, these days also know as anti friction cream, is a product used by many cyclists and endurance athletes to help prevent saddle sores and chafing. Years ago, the pad in cycling shorts was actually made from chamois leather, a soft, non-abrasive, and porous leather which would dry out and become tough and inflexible unless it was conditioned with creams, hence the name chamois cream.

These days modern fibers are used in the pad that help disperse moisture and are washable, but friction still occurs between your skin and clothing, and areas of skin irritation, saddle sores, or at worst an abscess can develop if not managed appropriately.

If you ride occasionally for an hour or so, you don’t need chamois cream or anti friction cream. However for rides over 2 hours, and particularly during periods of increased training and hot and humid/wet conditions, you should consider using a high quality chamois cream.

Most cyclists and endurance athletes will happily discuss which anti friction cream is their preference, however when the conversation turns to how and where to apply it, most get a little shy. I’m happy to tell you how to do it though. The most important thing is to know where the areas of pressure and fiction occur. For cyclists, this is the area around and between your genitals and anus, and the inner part of your upper thigh. Some people apply it to their knicks, some to the skin, some both. It doesn’t really matter as long as you get it in the right spot.

So how much should be applied? Again there’s no right answer as your skin type, your seat, how long you ride, the weather, and the quality of the product all play a part. Some people get away with as little as 20mL, others need 60mL or more per ride. After a few rides with chamois cream you’ll work out what’s right for you, but to start it’s better to use a little more than a little less for obvious reasons. And for those who ride all day (and night), you should reapply every 3-5 hours.

Photo: Approximately 20mL of Premax Anti Friction Cream

Lastly, it’s important to choose a good quality chamois cream that has an anti bacterial ingredient, is long lasting, washes out well, and feels nice on your skin. An anti bacterial ingredient such as tea tree oil will help keep the nasty bugs away, but you should also wash your shorts after each ride and ensure they are completely dry before putting away. The “really thick” chamois creams are often difficult to get out in the wash, so a product that washes out well but still does the job will help give your cycling shorts a longer life. Longevity in the product will help keep the chamois cream cost down and convenience up as you won’t have to keep reapplying or using an excessive amount for each ride.

Oh, and lastly. Don’t get your chamois cream and sports cream mixed up. It does happen, and most don’t find it very funny at the time. Happy riding and stay safe!

Premax Anti Friction Cream is the official chamois cream of Cycling Australia, Avanti Racing, Team Budget Forklifts, Holden Women’s Cycling Team, Data#3 Symantec Racing, 4SHAW DYAD, Cannondale-Enve Racing Team, Ward Brothers, and many other professional and amateur cyclists around the world.

Photo: Con Chronis

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