Not sure how to apply chamois cream?
Have you ever asked yourself:
- How do you use chamois cream?
- How do you apply chamois cream?
- Where do you put chamois cream?
- How much chamois cream should I use?
- Do I put chamois cream on me or my chamois?
If you’ve wondered about any of those questions, you are not alone. The most common questions we get at Doc’s Skincare have to do with how to use chamois cream or how to apply chamois cream. Some people get REALLY specific and even ask “where do you put chamois cream?”.
Not long ago, we put together a brief video on the subject of how to use chamois cream. That video can be viewed on YouTube here. This article will cover much of what the video does but in more detail and depth. In order to get a better understanding of the technical aspects of chamois pads, check out this article. The nuts and bolts of that article are that chamois pads were originally made of actual chamois leather. Modern chamois pads like the type that you are most likely riding on are made of polyester fibers (more on this subject below).
Where do you put chamois cream?
A little bit of an anatomy lesson is in order here:
The part of the human pelvis that makes most of the contact with the bicycle saddle and carries most if not all of the pressure of sitting on a bicycle saddle is shaped like a ‘V’ (depicted in blue in the diagram to the right). In men, that ‘V’ is a bit narrower that it is in women. This is why saddles shaped specifically for women work so darn well (women are not little men). It is the soft tissue and organs overlying the ‘V’ and within the ‘V’ that suffer the wear-and-tear of sitting for extended periods of time on a bicycle; these areas are the places you should focus on for applying chamois cream.
More specifically, the perineum (yellow star in diagram) is the area between the external genitalia (blue oval; scrotum in men, vulva in women) and anus (blue circle). Your more crass riding buddies might call this area the “taint”. The perineum is the area that universally gives riders the most trouble. It is in the area of the perineum that you should place a generous dollop of chamois cream. The perineum is the most common site of saddle sores and chafing in both men and women. If you do a little self-exploration, you’ll find that the anatomic locations within the ‘V’ of the pelvis have a lot of overlap and are ill defined. When applying chamois cream, don’t worry about where you are technically applying the stuff. Just use our diagrams as a rough guide and go with what makes the most sense. Other areas people like to apply chamois cream:
- Some men find that they need a little extra chamois cream on the scrotum itself
- Some women find applying chamois cream on the vulva to be helpful, particularly more to the back
- Some cyclists apply extra chamois cream on seams, edges, stitches and various bumps on their chamois pad
- Some cyclists apply some high up on their inner thighs
Chamois cream on ME or my chamois pad?
Back in the old days, chamois pads were made of actual chamois leather. In order to keep chamois leather soft and supple ride after ride and wash after wash, it was necessary to condition chamois leather with…you guessed it, chamois cream. Modern chamois pads are fully synthetic and do not require conditioning. Cyclists have kept on using chamois cream for its anti-friction and anti-chafing properties. Since modern chamois pads do not need conditioning, we recommend putting chamois cream on your skin rather than the chamois pad. In fact, we specifically formulated Doc’s Natural Chamois Cream to be used on the skin. Some cyclists find, however, that they need to apply chamois cream to certain areas of the chamois pad like the edges, seams, stitches or bumps because those areas cause irritation and chafing (as described above). Other cyclists have just always applied chamois cream to the pad and feel most comfortable doing it that way. The key here is to not over-think it and just go with what makes most sense.
How to apply chamois cream
A finger-full at a time? A whole hand-full at a time? After you put your shorts on? While you’re completely naked? With your shorts half-way on? Midway through a ride? Before a ride? Other than considering a few specific anatomical areas, there’s no right or wrong way to apply chamois cream. Just get the stuff on…and consider washing your hands afterwards.
How much chamois cream do you use?
Andrew Carnegie or any other titan of capitalism would implore you to use our chamois cream as often as possible and in as many ways as possible (toast? cereal? lawn fertilizer?). Actually, the amount of chamois cream to use is a matter of personal preference. Some people can’t stand the feel of a goopy and sloppy chamois. Others don’t feel right unless their shorts feel like a loaded diaper.
In theory, the more chamois cream you use, the less friction you’ll experience to a certain extent. Additionally, Doc’s Natural Chamois Cream contains Tea Tree Oil, Aloe Vera, and Witch Hazel which work to decrease bacterial and fungal overgrowth. Therefore, the more you use, the better you’ll keep that nasty stuff away. In reality, however, we believe that applying a reasonable amount to the RIGHT areas as described above makes the most sense.
The bottom line when using chamois cream is to not over-think it. Use the advice above as a guide, slap some on, and adjust as needed from ride-to-ride. Eventually, you’ll have your own method and preferences.