Home Remedies for Saddle Sores and Chamois Rash

Antibacterial Ointments (Neosporin, Polysporin)

The specific ingredients vary, but these ointments are commonly used to prevent infection in minor wounds.

Hot Compress, Bath or Tub

Hot compresses have been used to treat acne, with the goal to bring pimples to a head so they can drain and dry out. Some cyclists use one of the many home formulas used for acne treatment, and apply it with a hot compress.

Since it is somewhat difficult to apply a hot compress to your bum, some cyclists will sit in a hot bath or hot tub to encourage the saddle sore to come to a head and drain. Often, an antiseptic or a wound cover is applied after the pimple drains.

Tegaderm

This is a thin, transparent wound dressing that I covered in the column "When Flesh Meets Earth". It is a wound care product that some cyclists have found helpful when covering and treating saddle sores.

The powder category is used more for chamois rash than for saddle sores. Some cyclists believe the powders prevent saddle sores, while others have not had the same positive experience.

Talcum Powder

Often referred to as "talc", it is a mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate in the loose form. Interestingly it is used in many industries, including electrical switchboards, due to its resistance to heat. It has astringent properties (tends to shrink or constrict body tissues) and is often the main ingredient used in baby powder, tailor's chalk and a hand-drying agent for basketball players.

There is concern that inhaling talcum powder can lead to serious respiratory problems.

Baby Powder

The original Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder is 99-percent non-fibrous talc. Other baby powders include some variation of the following ingredients: corn starch (used for generations to prevent or help heal diaper rash and other skin irritations as starch is thought to absorb wetness), arrowroot powder (arrowroot is a tuber containing about 23 percent starch), tapioca starch (another plant root starch), zinc oxide (antibacterial and deodorizing), calendula extract (aids in wound healing), as well as other ingredients.

Anti Monkey Butt

This is a powder using talc or cornstarch and contains calamine, which is a combination of zinc oxide and iron oxide. It has mild antipruritic (anti-itching agent), antiseptic and astringent properties.

On a positive note, at least one cyclist has had a positive experience with every item on this list. It may take you a bit of experimenting to determine which product or technique is best for you, because like most things every body is different and what works for you may or may not work for someone else.

If you have other home remedies for saddle sores or chamois rash, let us know.

Of course, see a doctor if your saddle sore or rash condition gets worse or causes you to stop riding.


Gale Bernhardt was the USA Triathlon team coach at the 2003 Pan American Games and 2004 Athens Olympics. Her first Olympic experience was as a personal cycling coach at the 2000 Games in Sydney. She currently serves as one of the World Cup coaches for the International Triathlon Union's Sport Development Team. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale's pre-built, easy-to-follow cycling and triathlon training plans. Let Gale and Active Trainer help you succeed.

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