I Bled From Chafing While Marathon Training—This Anti-Chafe Stick Worked Magic


Welcome to Deep Reviews—your one-stop destination to discover the absolute best products and brands the beauty industry has to offer. The Who What Wear staffers you already know and trust will research, test, and review the market's most sought-after and buzzed-about products to see which formulas (of the hundreds up for consideration) are truly worth your hard-earned money and attention. You can expect honest, completely uncensored feedback and no-BS recommendations our hard-to-please testers endorse without reservations.

The majority of our Deep Reviews will feature our editors' honest, ultra-hot takes on entire product categories or multiple products from a particular beauty brand, but every so often, we'll sprinkle in a special single-product format called Honestly, I Love It. As the name suggests, these reviews will hone in on one standout beauty formula our editors quite literally can't shut up about. This time around, I'm highlighting the First Aid Beauty Anti-Chafe Stick ($20).

When I first decided to run the New York City Marathon, I had no idea what I was in for. I knew that training would entail long, grueling runs and working out most days in between, but I didn't expect a lot of the challenges that come with it. I'm talking shin splints, trialing a million handheld water bottles, and tons of exhaustion. One thing I really wasn't expecting? The chafing

I've been a runner for a few years now, and I've run my fair share of half-marathons. Up until I started training for the full marathon, however, I'd never run more than a half-marathon, so I wasn't sure how my body would react to longer distances. I'd never experienced much chafing on my runs, but once my milage started going up, I started chafing everywhere. I was getting chafed under my bra line, where my arms rubbed against my shirt, on my collarbones, and more. As the distances got longer, the chafing got worse—to the point where I would bleed. (I'll save you the photographic evidence, but it was gnarly.)

As you can imagine, I tried everything to stop the chafing. I tried two of the leading anti-chafe sticks, and while they helped a bit, I still had angry welts after every run. In desperation, I was slathering myself in Vaseline—a bit more helpful, but it was staining my running clothes. I was ready to give up and accept that I would probably just have scars on my body from this training time, but then I remembered that one of my favorite sensitive-skin brands, First Aid Beauty, had an anti-chafe stick. 


First Aid Beauty's Anti-Chafe Stick is infused with shea butter, colloidal oatmeal, and SymRelief. "Using shea butter and colloidal oatmeal, the First Aid Beauty Anti-Chafe Stick serves as a skin protectant, creating a barrier to protect the skin from external irritation like chafing," says Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD. Garshick is a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City and New Jersey. "In addition, the SymRelief complex, containing bisabolol and gingerroot extract, helps to soothe and soften the skin."

The First Aid Beauty Anti-Chafe Stick is also incredibly easy to use, and you can use it on virtually any part of your body. "Anti-chafe sticks can be applied one to two times per day or as needed to any area that may be at risk of chafing, which commonly involves the inner thighs but can also involve the chest, underarms, buttocks, or anywhere the skin can rub against skin or clothing," says Garshick.


The best way to use this stick, according to Garshick, is to apply four to five swipes to whatever area you're trying to protect from chafing. One caveat? "Anti-chafe sticks should not be used on broken skin, and if the skin is already raw or irritated, it is best to speak with a board-certified dermatologist to determine if there are any other treatments that may be needed," says Garshick. 

I dove in headfirst and started by testing out the First Aid Beauty Anti-Chafe stick on a 20-mile run. I expected the same results as every other anti-chafe stick I tried—a little bit better than not using anything but definitely not a cure-all. But instead of finding red marks all over my body after my run, I was pleasantly surprised to see absolutely zero chafing. 


The ultimate test was the NYC Marathon. Not only was I running more than I'd ever run before, but I also had to put on my anti-chafe stick hours before I actually started running since I had to take a car, a ferry, and a bus to get to the starting line. Unbelievably, I finished the race without any chafing. (You can see the clear skin under my arms that would normally be red and irritated in the photo above.)

If you're training for a race and prone to chafing, I highly recommend trying the First Aid Beauty Anti-Chafe Stick. Having tried my fair share, I can guarantee that it's better than anything else on the market. 

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Associate Beauty Editor

Katie Berohn is the associate beauty editor at Who What Wear. Previously, she worked as the beauty assistant for Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and Prevention magazines, all part of the Hearst Lifestyle Group. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a major in journalism and minor in technology, arts, and media, and earned her master's degree at NYU's graduate program for magazine journalism. In addition, Katie has held editorial internships at Denver Life magazine, Yoga Journal, and Cosmopolitan; a digital editorial internship at New York magazine's The Cut; a social good fellowship at Mashable; and a freelance role at HelloGiggles. When she's not obsessing over the latest skincare launch or continuing her journey to smell every perfume on the planet, Katie can be found taking a hot yoga class, trying everything on the menu at New York's newest restaurant, or hanging out at a trendy wine bar with her friends.