Author Topic: How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)  (Read 5348 times)

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Offline BikeFreak

How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)
« on: February 26, 2012, 06:19:15 pm »
Hi,

I believe that saddle sores/rashes are due to bacteria ... at least to a large degree. I have never really dealt with the issues of how to actively avoid the rash problems, but here are some thoughts:

Main problem: You cannot shower and/or wash your bike shorts every day - especially if you are on a tight budget and doing camping to save money.

I read that one should use chamois cream or petroleum jelly. I once tried using petroleum jelly for 1 week but I got rashes anyway. I haven't tried specific chamois creams but I suppose they leave some sort of greasy layer on the skin/pad. Basically what I don't like about creams are the fact that they clog up the chamois/pad in the bike short unless the product is 100% water based. So, when you apply the cream every morning, more and more of that stuff clogs up the pad ... something I would avoid. The more you put on, the less moisture the pad can soak up and all sweat stays between your skin and the greasy layer on the pad (and cannot escape).

Then I got a totally different thought. Why not use hand sanitizer or baby/wet wipes instead? Instead of applying cream, you clean yourself "down there" every night before sleep to kill all bacteria/germs. This stuff evaporates very fast (within seconds). Then, you should also be able to spray alcohol on the pad of the bike shorts - to kill the bacteria in the pad...however I don't know if this is a bit far out. Anyhow, that way the shorts and you stay clean for a long time.

So, has anyone been using the hand sanitizer/wet wipe method? I would be happy to get some feedback...or just comments. Maybe its a bad method?

Thanks,

Lucas
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 06:24:46 am by BikeFreak »

Offline johnsondasw

Re: How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2012, 09:10:20 pm »
Actually never had that much of an issue with all this.  Clean carefully every day (water on paper helps), shower daily if possible, use chamois cream, wash shorts as often as possible, even if it's in a cold water spigot--just use some biosuds or equivalent, and ride on. 
May the wind be at your back!

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2012, 09:45:26 pm »
Cycling shorts don't really weigh all that much, I'm happy to carry 2-3 pairs.  Wash before re-wearing; slop sink or shower if necessary, but laundromats get them really clean.

Same for skin; wash at least with a washrag daily, shower preferred.  Most of the time I don't need anything extra, but there's Bag Balm, chamois butter, and talc if/when necessary.

Offline John Nelson

Re: How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2012, 10:27:48 pm »
I carry two pair of shorts, the pair I'm wearing and a spare in case I dry camp. (No more, since shorts weigh about a half-pound each, and that's not nothing.) Most of the time, however, I do get to wash my shorts in a sink, under a spigot, in the shower, etc. Even if I don't get to take a shower, I at a minimum wash my saddle contact area with a washcloth. I don't take wet wipes, since a drop of soap, a washcloth and a squirt of water from my water bottle does just fine, without the skin-drying effects of an alcohol-based wipe.

Offline tonythomson

Re: How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2012, 07:26:07 am »
This is an ongoing problem for me, despite  changing shorts daily - being as scrupulous clean as possible - always use wet wipes, i try to get the bio-degradable ones. Never thought of using hand sanitiser before (I always carry a small bottle for when eating) maybe I'll give it a go in the other areas as it seems to me the problems start when you get hot and sweaty.  And I have tried everything, believe me.

Having recently cycled across Australia I managed to end up with a boil on the butt and rode like that for several days  :o before I could find a first aid post.  Not a lot of anything out there.  So willing to try anything to avoid that again.
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline dkoloko

Re: How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2012, 08:17:06 pm »
I carry one change of clothes, and wash myself and clothes every day.

Petroleum jelly was not recommended by a specialist who said it clogged pores. Bag Balm is anti-bacterial, besides being a lubricant.

Baby wipes or similar are better than nothing, but I wouldn't rely on them.

Offline doenges

Re: How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2012, 10:17:25 pm »
I too believe that the "rash" which is really like a deep pimple with a much longer life is due to bacteria.  Several years ago  I tried this and it really has helped:

Noxema has a face wash with triclosan (spelling, not sure) in a squeeze tube.  Before each ride rub a tiny bit on my site bones or chamois and have no issues.  Don't over-do it.  Things got a little raw down there once on a very hot and sweaty all day ride. 

Offline waynemyer

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Re: How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2012, 12:21:13 am »
Petroleum jelly was not recommended by a specialist who said it clogged pores. Bag Balm is anti-bacterial, besides being a lubricant.
The pores in the crotch are rather large and not prone to clogging. Petrolatum is bacteriostatic and Bag Balm uses a petrolatum base.

This is an ongoing problem for me, despite  changing shorts daily - being as scrupulous clean as possible - always use wet wipes, i try to get the bio-degradable ones.
I have a hypothesis about this: the "scrupulous clean" might actually be part of your problem. There is a natural flora that lives on human skin and the combination of some of the bacteria help to protect us against staph infections (this part is actually backed by scientific study). This flora is easily disrupted by  "hygiene" practices. When I was touring last summer, circumstances occasionally left me two to four days without showers. Normally, on any long-distance ride, I will invariably develop some manner of saddle sore. But during that tour? No problems whatsoever.

Another option that I find works really well for putting the kibosh on boils is preemptively wiping down with povidone iodine after each ride. When I do this, I never develop any boils or abscesses. And I, like pretty much all long distance cyclists/randonneurs, tend to be prone to them. Povidone iodine is like the nuclear option of skin sanitation.
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Offline waynemyer

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Re: How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2012, 12:25:53 am »
Noxema has a face wash with triclosan (spelling, not sure) in a squeeze tube. 
Triclosan is bad news. Accumulates in the water supply and has nasty intermediate decay products.
waynemyer.com
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Offline bogiesan

Re: How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2012, 09:56:12 am »
The term saddle sore has slightly different meanings. It can be an infection that manifests as a boil or pimple or it can be an area of abraded skin that can lead to serious infection. I've got a half dozen bicycling tour books and they each describe saddle sore slightly differently and they suggest conflicting treatments from lancing to protecting. The best treatment for saddle sores seems to be prevention. But the cause isn't absolutely known; there is no concensus that I see, not even on the high end bike racing sites. Looks like staph bacteria is blamed most of the time. Friction and heat encourage eruptive growth of any bug taking advantage of the location and conditions. Could be in a hair follicle or pore or any nick or scratch.

Hand sanitizer is just jellied alcohol and perfume. You can carry a squeeze bottle of isopropyl and achieve the same thing without the fragrances. I prefer witch hazel which is mostly alcohol.

I ride a recumbent so I have a different glute-to-saddle relationship but I carry a long walk kit on the bike when I know I'm out for more than 50 miles: bath tissue, witch hazel, pair of latex gloves, hand sanitizer, tube of anti-chafing gel.

There are no showers after charity centuries so I have a post-ride bag that includes a bottle of withc hazel, alcohol, wet-wipes (cottonelle unscented, hard to find!), water, a wash cloth and a towel. And a set of fresh clothes if I'm driving.

I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline tonythomson

Re: How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2012, 01:32:45 pm »
What's interesting for me is that years ago before I could afford or were readily available I used to tour (talking min 3 month to 12 month tours) just using regular cheap cotton shorts, with regular under pants, often wihout the u pants, NEVER had a problem.
Since upgrading to real cycling/touring shorts etc , always seem to get some sort of problem.  Maybe I'll switch back or is it age related?
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline bikenorth

Re: How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2012, 11:21:46 pm »
This is an interesting topic in an odd sort of way. I have been suffering from saddle sores the last couple of years and have tried many different things from different brands of bike shorts to different creams. I think most of my saddle sore originate from an infected hair follicle. I have just started using a chamois cream from Doc's. It seems to be helping prevent them. If you go to the manufacture's website there is actually a fair amount of information about saddle sores and prevention. The guy that created the stuff is an M.D.

I do think wearing clean shorts and getting out of them as soon as you are done riding helps prevent issues. I know changing out of your shorts right away post ride is not always possible, but something to think about. When backpacking,  I always get out of my hiking boots as soon as possible when I get into camp and this helps prevent feet issues. 

Any Dermatologist's who happen to bike a lot wish to chime in?


Offline BikeFreak

Re: How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2012, 01:38:32 am »
A few updates:

There is a lot of good information on http://docscycling.com/blog/. Thanks "bikenorth"
Also see this: http://www.liquicell.com/assets/pdf/Saddle%20Sores%20(P.%20Kortebein).pdf

I have to agree with "bikenorth": In my case I'm probably struggling with infected hair follicles.

From my original post I forgot to mention at what mileage saddle sores are a problem to me. From reading the posts some people can go bike travel without padded shorts and chamois cream at all. I guess if I "only" do 40 mi/day with frequent rest days I can go without padded shorts and cream. However my pace is approx 125 mi/day with no rest days at all. Padded shorts are mandatory to me in that situation, it would be impossible to have that pace with normal cotton underwear - I think it would be a blood bath.

At the moment there is another interesting thread going on:

http://www.adventurecycling.org/forums/index.php?topic=10423.0

I really like primitive camping and I have no need to shower every day. I have never stayed at at motel/hotel/hostel/bed breakfast etc. I very much prefer campgrounds in National Parks, National/state Forests, city parks, fire dept lawns etc. In these situations it is not possible to shower which conflicts with common sense in terms of hygiene as mentioned everywhere: Shower daily, wash your shorts daily. Which makes totally sense. This is why, in the original post, I was interested remedies that could help touring cyclists if showering was not an option.

Lucas

Offline indyfabz

Re: How to avoid saddles sores and rash (hand sanitizer)
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2012, 03:52:49 pm »
I very much prefer campgrounds in National Parks, National/state Forests, city parks, fire dept lawns etc. In these situations it is not possible to shower

Not always possible to shower. Some NPS campgrounds have shower facilities available. Coulter Bay in Yellowstone, Rising Sun in Glacier and the campground at Mesa Verde come to mind. I have also stayed at several city parks that either had showers or shower access (e.g., at the city pool). Truck stops are another source. When all else fails, there's the good old fashion sponge bath or a dip in a lake. Lake McDonald in Glacier was most refreshing.   ;)