It happens to the best of us. One day, you leave the house and into the steamy pit of summer, and you find yourself sweating profusely in places where the sun don’t shine. If you got thick thighs or large breasts and you live in a hot, humid climate, the sweat, chafing, and chub rub can ruin your summer. Even if you weren’t born with a lot of jiggly bits, you can still have perpetual swamp a** — also known as swamp crack, sweaty bum, or butt sweat. I didn’t think my bottom could sweat so much. It can.
Wet skin can make chafing worse which therein lies the problem with Korean summers. The summers here are essentially just one hot, humid, wet mess. “Sure, I can deal with it!” you may tell yourself. If you’re coming from a drier climate, you do not know what you’re in for.
Rather than curl up into a little ball every summer in your nice, air-conditioned hotel room or apartment, there are some ways of surviving summer in South Korea and managing or avoiding sweaty chafing.
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Baby powder that a** (and other bits)
Sweat isn’t just uncomfortable. The trapped moisture between your skin folds can result in an accumulation of bacteria and germs, increasing your risk of developing infections or rashes. Apply powders to absorb any moisture and don’t stay in wet or sweaty clothing for long if you can help it.
Warning: Talc and talcum powder has been linked to cancer. I’ll let you do your own research on that one and leave this article from WebMD here, “Can Talcum Powder Cause Cancer?”.
Snake Brand Prickly Heat Cooling Powder
I recently heard about Snake Brand Prickly Heat Cooling Powder (스네이크 쿨링파우더), a popular heat rash remedy invented in Thailand for foreigners living there. It contains Menthol, camphor, triclocarban, perfume, kaolin, and talc. You can find it online at Coupang, SSG, or Amazon.com.
Lush Silky Underwear Dusting Powder
Silky underwear by Lush is a cornstarch-based dusting powder that is easily found online and in-store in South Korea for 20,000 KRW.
Johnson’s Baby Powder
Good old, Johnson’s baby powder. Johnson’s Cornstarch Powder (존슨즈 콘스타치 파우더) is available online at Coupang, Gmarket, or their official Naver Store.
HealthDay Baby Powder
HealthDay Baby Powder is available to purchase online at Coupang and comes with a powder applicator. I mean, we already powder our faces, so we might as well also powder other bits? The applicator seems like a less messy idea when touching up your sweaty bum-bum or underboob on the go.
Anti Monkey Butt Powder
Anti Monkey Butt Powder isn’t available in South Korea, but it’s worth mentioning if you find yourself in the U.S. The Lady Anti Monkey Butt Powder with Calamine is available on Amazon.com though and does ship to South Korea. They’ve also switched up their formula to replace the talc with cornstarch.
Gold Bond Powder
Gold Bond Powder has been around for as long as I remember in the United States, but I haven’t seen it much in South Korea. You may be able to purchase it on Coupang.
Caldesene Baby Cornstarch Powder with Zinc Oxide
Caldesene Baby Cornstarch Powder with Zinc Oxide is available on Amazon.com.
Lube yourself up like a Slip ‘N Slide
You can reduce the friction and protect your skin by using anti-chafing products which form a film on your skin. Wipe your skin down with water tissues (mul tissues) or facial cleaning wipes in-between applications.
Megababe Thigh Rescue Anti-Friction Stick
Megababe Thigh Rescue Anti-Friction Stick ships only within the U.S., but can be found on Lotte On via a third-party reseller.
Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm
Body Glide Anti Chafe, Anti Blister Balm ships only within the U.S., but you can purchase it on Amazon.com. You can also find Body Glide on Coupang.
Squirrel’s Nut Butter All Natural Anti Chafe Salve
Squirrel’s Nut Butter All Natural Anti Chafe Stick can be found on Amazon.com. You can also find Squirrel’s Nut Butter on Coupang.
Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel
Monistat Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel, Anti-chafe Protection can be purchased on iHerb and shipped to South Korea.
Prevent Sweating with Deodorant
Not just for your underarms, deodorant placed in other strategic areas will help with the sweat. Nivea deodorants, for example, can be easily found in-store at any Daiso or Olive Young, or you can purchase them online at Coupang.
Olive Young carries more deodorants now — unlike yesteryears when deodorant was a rare sight. You can find Crystal Mineral Deodorant Roll-On (크리스탈 데오드란트 롤온), MS44 Super Cooling Powder Sheet (MS44 슈퍼 쿨링 파우더 시트), and more by visiting their Deodorants category.
iHerb carries a few natural deodorants like Jason Natural, Deodorant Stick, Purifying Tea Tree, 2.5 oz (71 g), Crystal Body Deodorant, Mineral-Enriched Deodorant Roll-On, Unscented, 2.25 fl oz (66 ml), Arm & Hammer, Essentials with Natural Deodorizers, Deodorant, Juniper Berry, 2.5 oz (71 g), and Thai Deodorant Stone, Pure & Natural, Crystal Deodorant Stone, 4.25 oz (120 g).
Routine Deodorant and Undercarriage Natural Deodorant Cream aren’t available in South Korea, but if you can ship them to the U.S. or Canada and forward them to Korea, they are worth mentioning.
This one is fairly easy to find. You can find aloe vera at any Olive Young, Holika Holika, Tony Moly, Nature Republic, or Daiso. You can also purchase aloe vera online on Coupang. It’s always a good idea to stock aloe vera in the house for sunburn relief. I also use it to soothe irritated skin after shaving.
Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline)
You can find aloe vera in-store at Daiso easily or online on Coupang.
You can find coconut oil at some grocery stores in South Korea. It’s more likely to be in the specialty food section, to be honest, and I haven’t seen it in every store. If you’re having trouble finding it in-store, you can order it online easily on Coupang.
Diaper Rash Cream
Non-zinc Oxide Creams
You may actually be able to find Bepanthen (비판텐) Nappy Rash Ointment and Antiseptic Cream at your local pharmacy over the counter in Korea.
Bepanthen Diaper Rash Ointment Ingredients: Purified water, wool fat (anhydrous lanolin), liquid paraffin, white soft paraffin, dexpanthenol (pro-vitamin B5), almond oil, white beeswax, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, protegin XN.
Mother Love Diaper Balm is available from iHerb.
Zinc Oxide Creams
Zinc oxide creates a barrier at the skin’s surface and is the active ingredient in mineral sunscreen and diaper rash creams.
Desitin Diaper Rash Paste (iHerb), Mustela Diaper Rash Cream (iHerb), and Aquaphor Fast Relief Diaper Rash Paste (iHerb) all contain Zinc Oxide and can be shipped to South Korea via iHerb.
Believe it or not, you can also get fungus in other sweaty areas besides your feet. Without going into full details, I had some reoccurring issues during my first few summers in South Korea and felt like I was throwing everything but the kitchen sink at it, trying to figure out how to fix it. When I asked my friend about it, she said, “yeah, I went to the dermatologist about it my first year. It’s because your skin never fully dries off in the summer. My skin eventually adapted.”
For fungal sweat rash relief, you can go into any pharmacy and buy an antifungal cream with clotrimazole like Canesten (카네스텐.) The active anti-fungal ingredient clotrimazole in Canesten, effectively treats athlete’s foot, fungal sweat rash infections, and yeast infections.
Cortisone cream is not available over the counter at pharmacies here in Korea. You can go to your local doctor or dermatologist and get a prescription for hydrocortisone (히드로코르티손.)
Alternatively, if you need to get rid of the itch, you can maybe try a hemorrhoid cream with the anesthetic, Pramoxine (프라모카인.)
Obviously, if it’s serious, please go to the doctor. I am not WebMD.
Tea Tree Oil
It’s worth mentioning that tea tree oil is known to treat prickly heat, pimples, fungus, and so forth. You may find that the moistness down there promotes some, um, growth.
Keep in mind that not everyone’s skin reacts well to tea tree oil. Please do a skin test before you try. It’s also very drying in my experience, so using it every day may not be the best decision. My skin is perfectly fine with small concentrations of tea tree oil diluted in other products but does not like tea tree oil directly on my skin whereas one of my friends can’t even touch the stuff or she’ll break out in an angry rash.
If you’re looking for tea tree oils, you can purchase Ma:nyo Factory Tea Tree Oil (Coupang) or The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil (can be found in-store at The Body Shop or online on Coupang.)
If you’re looking for tea tree soaps or body washes, The Body Shop sells The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Body Wash among other tea tree products, and Aromatica also sells a few tea tree skincare products like the Aromatica Tea Tree Cleansing Bar.
Anti-chafing or Chub Rub Shorts
Anti-chafing shorts are a godsend if you suffer from “chub rub.” You may also want to opt for light, breathable cotton underwear that will help absorb sweat.
Many skirts in Korea also have built-in shorts for — I’m assuming — two reasons: thighs rubbing together in the summer and avoiding upskirt shots from creeps.
You can search for chub rub shorts by typing “속바지” on any Korean e-commerce website. Uniqlo sells AIRism shaper shorts that do the job. 09women also sells anti-friction underpants.
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