You're got this saddle sore that has grown on you, literally. It has established such a persistent presence that you decided to name it Chewbacca. You've heard of several home remedies to get rid of Chewbacca, but do they really work?
Most cyclists will get a saddle sore at one point or another during their riding adventures. These are riders that have the right bike fit, remove shorts immediately after riding and wash shorts before wearing them again. In spite of doing these things right, a darn rash or saddle sore shows up.
For any number or reasons, the cyclist doesn't want to run to the doctor to have the entire office take a look at the angry Chewbacca. Many cyclists would prefer to try some home remedies to solve the problem themselves before making an appointment with the doctor. Should home remedies fail, only then do they make a doctor's appointment.
Talk to any experienced cyclist and they have their own potion or method for getting a saddle sore or chamois rash to heal more quickly.
Over the years, and many group ride discussions, I've collected a list of some of these home remedies and have many of them for you in this column. Along with each remedy, I've listed why the remedy may work and the intended effect or the active ingredients.
Listed in no particular order, let's begin with crèmes and ointments.
This skin crème was originally created as a remedy for sunburn and was commonly referred to as "no-eczema." Later it became a popular skin cleanser.
The active ingredients include camphor (slight local anesthetic and is antimicrobial—killing or inhibiting bacteria, fungi or protozoans), menthol (local anesthetic and counterirritant properties) and eucalyptus (has anti-inflammatory, analgesic (pain relief) and liniment (relieves pain and stiffness) properties).
Though typically thought of as a feminine care product, plenty of cyclists—male and female—use this product. Some use it prophylacticly (intended to prevent sores before they appear), and others use it as a treatment after the saddle sore has appeared.
The active ingredients include benzocaine (local anesthetic and topical pain reliever) and resorcinol (antiseptic, helps reduce the possibility of infection, and disinfectant, kills microorganisms living on substances)
Though this ointment is advertised to shrink the swelling of hemorrhoidal tissues, some cyclists believe it helps shrink saddle sores. Active ingredients include glycerin (water soluble and is hygroscopic—that is, it attracts water molecules from the surrounding environment), phenylephrine (a vasoconstrictor that decreases blood flow to the area, leading to decreased mucosal edema), pramoxine (local anesthetic) and white petrolatum (topical ointment with healing properties)
Tea Tree Oil
Some cyclists use the oil, while others prefer a stick similar to lip balm. Its medicinal properties include antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral.