Chamois cream ... Idiots guide

by Farky   March 4, 2012  

After over 20 years on a bike I thought I'd ask what for many is a personal question.

Am I missing something by not using chamois cream/butter etc?

I do get hot around the nuts and have had the occasion to apply creams after a ride but never used anything during it.

Do you apply the stuff to the chamois or your nuts?

And if you use a synthetic pad rather than actual natural chamois, does it effect your pad in any negative way?

Question on pads too.

There are so many pad types, chamois, synthetic, gel insert, 3d, etc etc.

What's the best for a balance of sportive comfort and a lack of chaffing?

I'm looking shorts IRO about £50 as its a budget I reckon is sensible for my use but for would you spend more for this kind of use and why? (other than style, brand, etc).

Never bought shorts based on anything but a chamois pad and good value for money so I just want to make sure I'm not missing out on something in making my purchase. I know a lot of this can be subjective and personal but any advice is worth consideration.

Cheers.

29 user comments

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Ha! Fair set of questions, and often not discussed in polite company, which makes it perfect for the internet! Big Grin

I've been using chamois cream with a synthetic pad, and it seems to work well. After a long ride I also use a skin repair gel after showering (both products from Assos), although I'm less convinced of the benefit of this.

It is my understanding (happy to be corrected if I'm doing it wrong!) that you apply the cream to the region in contact with the saddle, so nuts, sit-bones, perineum etc.

I just got back into cycling in September, so only have 3/4's and tights, yet to buy shorts, will be interested therefore to hear any recommendations that others have.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2616 posts]
5th March 2012 - 11:12

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Same here, which creams are recommended? I've only ever slapped Sudocrem on when riding long MTB routes or 24hr events. But it doesn't have much staying power. Are there any that are better than others for sensitive skin?

posted by Spud [47 posts]
5th March 2012 - 11:37

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I put cream on my sit-bones and perineum only and that seems to work well, I use the Assos one which got great reviews on wiggle
I've got shutt vr pro bib shorts, plus some (sale) rapha cross 3/4s which are very comfortable.
I've also got some dhb bib longs which are nearly as comfortable.
Buying for the pad seems to be the right approach, they do wear out I've been told. I've got an aging pair of bib shorts which are not comfortable on my road bike. Either pads have got better or the padding is squashed through use.
Washing promptly I've read helps both you and the shorts

Cannondale CAAD10, Condor Terra-X and an orange Brompton.
Ride for East London Velo

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posted by zzgavin [195 posts]
5th March 2012 - 12:08

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Not much sharing going on here apart from the few other interested individuals and one other.

I always thought you put the stuff on your nuts, hence, DZNuts being a cream brand. However I bought a cheap pair of Nalini shorts today that where on offer and the specifically say use a relief cream on the chamois when the chamois is dry and hard. Are they just to shy to say put it on your nuts?

After using said shorts I can agree, they would benefit from the use of a cream, very comfy synth chamois, good balance in racing and comfort profile for training and short rides and fitted well as in a decent shape when fitted so stayed in place not matter how much I moved around on the seat, but they did chaff a little.

Sudocream eh? Yes, that's been my saviour....or relief, after a long abusive ride. Trying to prevent it getting this far though.

Come on peeps, don't be embarrassed. Share your tips...sorry, wrong use of words, share your experiences, there's gotta be some big mile riders out there. Don't have me asking the Downing bro's, theyll only tell me they use the creamy head of a Boddingtons or something! Lol

posted by Farky [175 posts]
7th March 2012 - 1:32

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I'd also be interested to hear from anyone who's used those little gel-sized packs of chamois BUTTr (I think that was it's name). Presumably these are intended to be taken with you on a long ride and applied when you stop for a coffee with a load more miles to go.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2616 posts]
7th March 2012 - 10:06

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Sudocrem, works as well as anything on the market, nothing has a complete protection to chaffing . Just keep your shorts clean; and apply Sudocrem to your tender bottom.

posted by Mostyn [387 posts]
7th March 2012 - 12:53

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I'm another Sudocrem fan - but only *after* the ride

Tried it once during and the sensation was "disquieting"

posted by mad_scot_rider [519 posts]
7th March 2012 - 15:24

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If you ride the correct shape saddle and clean, good quality shorts in good condition, you shouldn't have any problems. Occasionally after a long ride you may experience some bruising. Sometimes you will get an infection, like a spotty pimple. In the former case, lay off for a day or so, in the latter, a disinfectant cream will quickly clear it up.
How to find the correct shape saddle? Only one way - try different shapes. It's no good asking what others use, their rear is not your rear and won't be same shape.
Some can sit on a flat saddle, but I can't and vice versa.
Once you've found the correct shape for YOU - stick with it.
Borrow a saddle and try it for a few rides. You'll soon find which shape suits you.

Oh, I nearly forgot. Do NOT wear underpants or knickers under your padded shorts or you will be rubbed and chafed by the seams on that garment - that's why the shorts have that funny pad inside them - to give a little cushioning and to avoid seams.

Binky

posted by davebinks [115 posts]
7th March 2012 - 18:55

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Sudocrem for me, applied directly onto the perineum and immediate area. Great for communting (no showers at work), superb for touring, perfect for all rides that involve getting dressed up for the occassion (lyrca, etc). Don't bother using it for trips around town, to the shops, etc. I've found Sudocrem excellent for preventing spots, inflammations, chaffing, etc. I don't apply much, and have never applied it onto the chamois.

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posted by cavasta [191 posts]
7th March 2012 - 18:59

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Interesting tip re no showers - is sudocrem antibacterial as well then?

Also loving the fact that only a few posts ago Farky was trying to resurrect this thread with a few words about not being shy, and now we have someone telling us about a painful anus! Big Grin

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2616 posts]
7th March 2012 - 19:55

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I have used Assos Chamois cream and it is pretty good, I feel that that Elite O3one Endurance Chamois Cream is the best stuff out there as it is very thick and lasts a long time.

Chamois cream lasts longer (you will need to use less) if applied to your butt but provides more comfort if applied to the pad itself IMO, try both and see what works best for you.

Sudocrem is for after a ride or a thin layer applied before chamois cream for added protection for a long ride!

posted by Rob_Ward [18 posts]
7th March 2012 - 22:46

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Now that's a bit more like it, cheers for sharing in more detail lads.

Notfastenough...studio cream is antibacterial yes, I only ever used it afterwards for a relief and recovery as such. Just trying to reduce the number of times I end up needing it. Hence this thread as I never asked anyone before.

Blinky.....correct saddle yes, I can see that as an obvious one that most don't try too. But while your trying these saddles, you do go through a bit of pain that creams could help with. I'm never going to be doing the hours a stage race rider would do so don't need it for the same reason but until I find that magic seat anything will help.

Nickobec.....mmmm, yes I've been there, piles they call it, the curse of age. My mother told me not to sit on a cold stone wall so many times but did I listen, hell no! Bad dose of them last year that I couldn't let stop me from cycling so Sudocream it was for me too. It worked!

If the theory about these creams is that any seat pad will eventually cause some irritation against the skin, then surely a cream is an answer no matter what the seat, pad or issue.

I've heard things about the ingredients (is it still an ingredient if you don't eat it?) of some creams to put me off them a bit or at least be hesitant but it's one of those things you won't know your missing til you've tried it, but where do you start?

I think we've sussed that you apply the creams to your skin, nuts or anus, anywhere else is completely recreational. Covering the pad may get it to more places of use including places you might not go near due to assumption but then the question here is, will it do damage to certain or any particular pads, ie synth vs natural?

posted by Farky [175 posts]
8th March 2012 - 0:35

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Big fan of the Eurostyle chamois BUTTr, PBK branded chamois creme is my 2nd choice. Udderly Smooth 3rd and Assoss a distant 4th.

Synthetic pad in my cheap Nalini bib shorts good for 80km, don't really like natural chamois (I have a pair of bib shorts again only good up to 80km). Have better synthetic pads in Craft & Castelli bib shorts for longer rides.

Only use creme on my sit bones (the only part the gets sore), not on pads or other parts of my body.

Except when I had inflamed prostrate (side effect of weird virus), applied chamois creme liberally, just above anus and it allowed me to keep riding, instead of taking a couple weeks off the bike to recover (rest of symptoms had disappeared by then). This was discussed with and had tacit approval from my doctor.

posted by nickobec [260 posts]
8th March 2012 - 6:51

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Farky, I add more details to my original post, it was written rather hurriedly.

It was not piles, but an inflamed prostrate, which my Dr checked out (not something you really want to know about), had blood tests, nothing serious but it took time to clear up. Chamois creme got me back riding a couple of weeks earlier than expected.

Only apply creme to the bits I know will be sore after riding, before the ride.

Only way to know if it is for you is to try it. Chamois creme is cheap, I would probably avoid Eurostyle chamois BUTTr as it has the most intense intial sensation of the 4 brands I have used recently, (I like it, others may have different opinions) Assoss is very mild in comparison, PBK midway between the two.

posted by nickobec [260 posts]
8th March 2012 - 7:03

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@Nickobec, when you refer to the initial sensation, do you mean that minty feeling that has you hopping round a dark bedroom on a Sunday morning?!

If so, Assos is about enough for me...

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2616 posts]
8th March 2012 - 10:28

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from a shorts point of view, i run rapha classic, shutt vr and dhb aeron race. the best ones in every aspect.. dhb by a country mile.

i use butt'r and it recomends applying it to the chamois direct which i do and i also rub a bit around the crotch/thigh area, not the nuts as its the euro cream so minty nuts doesnt do it for me Confused

posted by russyparkin [550 posts]
8th March 2012 - 14:39

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Only on a cycling forum can we get away with discussing our nether regions with other unknown males Rolling On The Floor

Personally i will join with the other voices in voting for Sudocrem.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2448 posts]
8th March 2012 - 15:13

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Oh, I know of a few non-cycling sites where you can discuss- erm, allegedly. So I'm told.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2616 posts]
8th March 2012 - 16:36

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notfastenough wrote:
@Nickobec, when you refer to the initial sensation, do you mean that minty feeling that has you hopping round a dark bedroom on a Sunday morning?!

If so, Assos is about enough for me...

Similar, Assos is cooling mint, Buttr more of a warming sensation and the old sports rub smell. PBK is more subtle, far less heat, more calming canomille scent.

If Assos has that reaction with you, you could try the PBK branded creme, you probably still be hoping round the room. Buttr probably will have you jumping round the room swearing and knocking things over.

Note I use chamois creme a few days a week (42km one way commute) and generally only on my sit bone area

posted by nickobec [260 posts]
8th March 2012 - 16:47

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notfastenough wrote:
Interesting tip re no showers - is sudocrem antibacterial as well then?

From the label on the front:
"Antiseptic healing cream. Napkin rash, Eczema, bed sores...sunburn, minor burns, surface wounds, acne, chilblains."

I apply it before my 10 mile ride into work and again when I arrive. I also apply it again before setting off for home. I then have a shower when I get in. I don't lather it on, but apply just a small amount.

Prior to using Sudocrem on my daily, shower-free commute, I suffered the occasional spot/inflammation on my perineum and immediate area. Since using using it (and I've been using it for several years now), I've been inflammation/infection free. Call it coincidence if you like, but I'm not about to stop using it to find out.

I also use it on day rides, shorter rides, and when touring and can confirm its efficacy in each and every one of those instances.

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posted by cavasta [191 posts]
8th March 2012 - 19:34

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Does Assos (or other chamois creams) have a shelf life once opened?

posted by Spud [47 posts]
9th March 2012 - 21:30

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I got shot down in flames here before for suggesting Savlon cream instead of one of the ridiculously priced chamois creams.

I took to using it on the recommendation of an Audax rider who is no stranger to 400k runs etc and it has stood me in good stead for runs of over 100 miles. I find that applying it reasonably generously to myself works, although, I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to apply it to the chamois as well,washes out of synthetic pads no problem.

Personally, I find that it works well, is good for at least 60+ miles and you can easily carry a small tube of the stuff in a saddlebag for reapplication if you need it - and it's cheap.

posted by FMOAB [217 posts]
10th March 2012 - 0:35

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Spud wrote:
Does Assos (or other chamois creams) have a shelf life once opened?

Says 12 months on my new tub.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1303 posts]
10th March 2012 - 1:15

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Well being a girlie I can't comment on the 'nuts' Wink but I have done a couple of charity rides to Germany and back and the associated training that goes with it.

Some of our team use Sudocreme and swear by it but have said it does leave greasy stains on their chamois (real or synthetic). I was advised to use Body Care Sportsbalm chamois cream. It is antibacterial and water resistant. So even with being a heavier person than the average cyclist and on the bike for up to 10 hours a day, for a week I only ended up with one small hole in my skin. I applied it to me rather than the chamois.

I'm doing the charity ride again in June so have been using the cream once again.

posted by Footpather [38 posts]
10th March 2012 - 7:59

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In answer to your original questions:

Quote:
Am I missing something by not using chamois cream/butter etc?
I use Assos chamois cream for any ride longer than about 30 mins, I get nappy rash otherwise. If you've not needed to up til now, why bother?

Quote:
Do you apply the stuff to the chamois or your nuts?
I apply the chamois cream to my shorts once a month or so, and apply it to my sitbones and the sides of my nuts (between the thighs).

Quote:
And if you use a synthetic pad rather than actual natural chamois, does it effect your pad in any negative way?
My main pairs of shorts are Assos, so no.

Quote:
What's the best for a balance of sportive comfort and a lack of chafing?
This is as personal as choice of saddles. Try as many as possible. I love Assos, but they are hideously expensive.

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posted by schmiken [45 posts]
11th March 2012 - 22:20

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UPDATE:

Thanks for all your honest replies and advice.

I bought the Assos cream with tentaive thoughts of needing some form of emergency removal/cleaning facility on the first application, but I neednt have worried.

I applied the cream to my pad as well as directly to the hotspots I get. Felt that cooling sensation some have described in various ways, which is really a menthos cooling, nothing else.

This increased once I put the shorts on but again, nothing to worry about, just noticable.

I use, this was the best thing since the wheel itself!

I rode a 60mile sportive with a small group of riders at almost a race pace...typical of sportives but with the headwind on the day I wasnt for going it alone so suffered to hold the wheels.

With all the effort I put in and the fact that I rode 45miles non-stop/flat out, I was expecting to be in real pain but when I did stop, I realised that I only suffered from minor tiredness around the sitbones.

In fact, this actually allowed me to find a decent position on the saddle so i could concentrate on my pedal stroke better. I can safely say my saddle isnt right for me but positioning ive got spot on, need one of those relief saddles for the perinium area.

Amazed how ive suffered for over 20 years without this stuff.

Not just a convert, a preacher!

posted by Farky [175 posts]
19th March 2012 - 14:44

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Good to see you've got a result. Just out of interest, what was the elapsed time for the sportive? I've not done one yet, and am curious to know how quick the faster groups go round. Was it a very hilly course?

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2616 posts]
21st March 2012 - 12:28

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I use Deep Heat, because I'm a badass.

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

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posted by Cooks [468 posts]
22nd March 2012 - 22:51

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@cooks - not as hard core as winter green Devil

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posted by giff77 [965 posts]
23rd March 2012 - 1:01

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