bad neck chafe on the back of a man's neck due to wetsuit rubbing

Top 5 anti-chafing creams and balms to prevent wetsuit rash

Posted on: BY: Saga Svensson
Tags: balms | Body Glide | chafing | creams | lube | Ruby's Lube | Trislide | Vaseline | wetsuit rash

Wetsuit chafing can be brutal, as you’ll already know if, like me, you have raced your neck red raw in the pursuit of open water swimming excellence. (And by ‘excellence’ i mean finishing.) For that reason, i am always trying out the newest and slipperiest creams and balms on the market. I have tried lots, but these are my favourites so far.

It’s worth mentioning that you should under no circumstances use my dad’s favourite solution, no name vaseline, as it will damage the neoprene of your wetsuit. If you are trying to get away with using a cheap, easily available option, baby oil or vegetable oil will work well for a little while, though i find it tends to get absorbed pretty fast.

OK, here is my top 5 countdown:

In five: Blue Steel Sports anti-chafe cream

‘Blue Steel Sports’ because ‘Blue Steel’ was already trademarked.
Positives
  • Lasts well and prevents chafing.
  • Smells like tea-tree oil, which it contains, which for me is a positive.
  • Water and sweat resistant, so it doesn’t wash off in your suit like some anti-chafe creams do.
Negatives
  • It is not all-natural.
  • Did wear off on longer swims – i’m talking 5km/3mi plus so not a concern for everyone.

In four: Aloe Cadabra Ocean Safe Lube

Aloe Cadabra Ocean Safe wetsuit lube
Negatives
  • Like Blue Steel, i found it did wear off a little on longer swims – i’m talking 8km/5mi plus so again not a concern for everyone.
Positives
  • It’s natural and free of junk and chemicals that enter your body through your skin.
  • It is ocean safe and i love how it promotes that that is even a thing.
  • It provides protection from chafing for upwards of 3 miles.

In three: Body Glide outdoor

The solid and reliable Body Glide Anti-Chafing Balm

Note: I commandeered this from my partner’s kit bag. It did such a good job that i right-out stole it and Body Glide was my go-to anti-chafe solution for a while. There is a women’s version too if you are interested, called Body Glide ‘For Her’ , which doesn’t have a girly fragrance as you might imagine but does have emollients and vitamins to help replenish your skin’s nutrients while protecting you from chafing at the same time. I’m not sure why men don’t care about their skin exactly.

Positives
  • Reasonably priced.
  • It’s really popular and can be reliably found again if you run out.
  • It is fragrance free, which is a huge plus for the fragrance sensitive folks – not all products on this list are fragrance free.
  • It works great as a daily training solution for wetsuit chafe, and for me it provided good protection for upwards of 3 miles.
Negatives
  • You could lose it in a bush.
  • Actually you couldn’t because the camo print comes off after just a few weeks of hanging around in your damp swimming bag…
  • While great to have in my bag for regular swims (right now i do have a stick of ‘For Her’, alongside my Ruby’s and my Trislide) it tends to need replenishing after distances of 3 miles.

In two: Ruby’s Lube

Ruby’s Lube – a little goes a long way, and it lasts well on distance swims. I like that it really is all natural
Positives
  • As they tell you on the bottle, this goop is made with just five all-natural ingredients: Beeswax, Olive Oil, Benzoin, Lemongrass, and Calendula. I absolutely love this because while i confess i didn’t know exactly what all the ingredients are, they turn out to be time-tested natural products, and there are no additional weird chemical names like many so-called ‘natural’ products on the market.
  • It has a feint but delicious, lemongrass smell that i actually adore.
  • A small amount goes a really long way – like i only need a dime’s worth well rubbed-in and it does the trick.
  • It lasts for longer distances. I found it to be considerably better than anything else for longer times and distances in the water and it was my go-to for marathon swims until very recently.
Negatives
  • I am hard pressed to find any negatives about Ruby’s. On all but the longest marathon swims it is up to the anti-chafe task.
  • If you are highly-sensitive to fragrance, you should be aware that it does have a mild Lemongrass smell. Maybe because it is a truly natural smell, i find it subtle and non-offensive so for me this is actually a big plus.

And at number one:

TRISLIDE Anti-Chafe Continuous Spray Skin Lubricant 

Slipperier than a jellied eel – Trislide anti-chafe spray
Positives
  • I found that it lasts longer by far by any of the other solutions i have tried. I have used it to swim distances of up to 12km/8mi and if i am not free of wetsuit rash then it is minor.
  • It’s fragrance free for those who are sensitive to fragrance.
  • It eeks out a surprisingly long way, i think because it sprays. I had to get used to not lathering it on and trust that a normal covering would do its job. That is opposite to the more-is-better policy i use with gels and creams, though granted they are cheaper too.
Negatives
  • It is pricy.
  • It does contain non-natural ingredients
  • Although it is ‘fragrance-free’ it has a ‘scent’ of aloe vera. Definitely not overpowering or irritating but worth mentioning in case you are super sensitive to fragrances.

Conclusion

Actions speak louder than words so let me tell you what i use day-to-day. I love Ruby’s Lube. i love the smell, the fact it is really all natural, which for me goes a very long way, I love that it is reasonably priced when you account for how long a bottle lasts and – what at the end of the day is the most important quality in an anti-chafe wetsuit lube – i love its remarkable ability to keep me lubed up for hours without turning my neck into a giant piece of sandpaper for a week, which on all but the longest marathon swims is perfect for me. For those reasons you will always find a bottle of Ruby’s Lube somewhere in my kit. However, i have to be honest and say that for those occasions that i know i am going to be swimming more that 5 miles, i do keep a bottle of Trislide in my kit bag because i find it lasts a lot longer than anything else i have tried. It is pricier and definitely not half as cool as Ruby’s, but when it comes to a raw neck, as it turns out, all my principles go out the window.

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