Raw Denim Jeans and Chafing: How to Avoid Chafe With Raw Denim
As Mark Twain famously said: the clothes make the man. What you wear can say a lot about who you are, how you operate, and what other people should expect from you. There are other aspects of your appearance that contribute to others’ first impression of you, of course, but your clothes are high up there on the list. If you want to look professional and in control -- especially in a professional environment -- there’s nothing like a crisp, clean, powerful suit. And if you want to look sexy, stylish, just trendy enough without going overboard, nothing does it like a pair of raw denim jeans.
If you’re here reading this, you might already be a raw denim enthusiast. Maybe you’ve got a couple of pairs that you’ve been breaking in for the better part of six months, and which you still haven’t washed (because that’s what raw denim wearers do, after all). You love raw denim, you say -- but you’re not in love with the chafing that’s come along with it.
Or, maybe you don’t fall into that category. Maybe you’re here because you’ve read about raw denim somewhere online, or heard about it from a trendy friend, but you’re not sure if it’s for you. You’ve probably encountered people complaining about chafing, bemoaning the amount of sweat that comes along with a thick, heavy pair of raw denim jeans on a hot summer night, and you’re wondering if you really want to go down this road. Should you sacrifice comfort for style? Is it worth it?
Well, we’re here to tell you that you can have both. You can be stylish in your raw denim jeans without turning into a hot, sweaty, chafed mess. You don’t need to end up with a horrible case of monkey butt and a terrible rash down the insides of your thighs just for the sake of impressing your date with your sense of style. No, all of this can be avoided with the right strategy.
In this blog post, we’re going to talk about the top three things you can do to prevent chafing, cut down on sweating, and stay cool and dry while wearing raw denim. We’ll look at what kind of underwear work best for preventing chafing, what sort of body wash you’ll want to use, and how to use body powder to cut down on friction (both to help chafed skin heal and prevent chafing in the future).
First, though, let’s talk about what raw denim is and how it can lead to chafing. Not everyone is born a raw denim expert, and it’s worth making sure that we’re all on the same page before we go any further. As you’ll see, raw denim brings with it some qualities that can make chafing a bigger problem than it might typically be for the average jeans wearer. Ready to get started? Here we go.
What is Denim?
Before we answer the question of what raw denim is, let’s take a step even further back. What is denim exactly? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Without getting too technical, denim is a form of woven cotton. More specifically, denim is made from a cotton twill textile that’s woven according to a specific method. Twill in general refers to a textile woven with a diagonal pattern of ribs, and denim has its own particular weave. This weave involves passing horizontal threads under pairs of vertical threads, resulting in the familiar pattern and texture of denim. If you take a close look at your jeans, you’ll probably notice that they’re not entirely blue: there are flecks of white thread interspersed within the dyed blue threads. That’s because the vertical threads are usually the ones that are dyed indigo, whereas the horizontal thread is typically left white.
Denim’s been around for a long time. As far as we know, denim was used as early as the 1600’s in professions where physical labor was important, and was a common clothing material for railroad workers. Why denim? For one thing, traditionally made denim is incredibly strong and resistant to tearing. Why indigo? Back in the day, a deep indigo dye was a great way to hide all of the dirt that workers would accumulate on their clothes over the course of a day (or a month, or multiple months, depending on how often they were actually washing their clothes).
Levi Strauss & Co patented their particular denim sewing pattern in 1873, forming the basis of what would grow into an entire industry centered around denim pants. As denim became a popular clothing item worn by Hollywood actors throughout the early 20th century -- especially cowboys in Western films -- young men started wearing denim out of a desire to imitate their big screen idols. Denim really reached its mainstream clothing status thanks to the likes of James Dean and Elvis Presley. Once Elvis was seen wearing denim and teenage boys caught sight of James Dean with his cuffed jean pants, it was all over. Jeans were officially the rage.
By the way, in case you were wondering, the origin of the word “jeans” is an interesting tale unto itself. Long story short, though, it comes from the French term “jean fustian,” which refers to a particular type of cotton twill weave (Fustian) from a particular part of the world (Genoa, Italy). The term first showed up in 1843 in the United States, where it eventually caught on and became common parlance for denim pants.
What is Raw Denim?
Now that we know what denim is, we can answer the more pressing question here. What is raw denim? How is it different from, well...regular denim?
Here’s the thing. Even though denim has been around for centuries, and has been a popular staple for many decades here in the United States, the average denim you’d find in your typical department store has very little in common with what you would’ve encountered 75 or 100 years ago. Prior to the explosion in denim popularity back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, denim was a durable, high quality, handcrafted item. But over time, the way that denim was produced started to change. Companies began cranking out larger and larger quantities of jeans, and the market for jeans that already had a broken-in, faded, pre-worn look started to grow.
In response to market demand in terms of style (and just the sheer quantity of demand), companies began using fabric that had been pre-washed, pre-softened, pre-shrunk, and was ready for mass assembly into jeans. These pants looked like they’d already been worn many times, and lent an instant “broken-in” look to the wearer.
Traditionally, jeans didn’t look or feel like this. Half a century ago, all denim was what we would today call “raw denim.” Raw denim hasn’t been washed, broken in, pre-distressed, or treated in any way. It comes straight off the loom, meaning that the fabric is much tougher and stiffer than it would be with your standard pair of jeans. Raw denim also generally hasn’t been sanforized, meaning it hasn’t gone through a chemical treatment process intended to prevent any further shrinkage of your jeans after you wash them. As a result, you’ll likely find that sanforized jeans will shrink by as much as 10% whenever you wash them for the first time.
Raw denim is also frequently “selvedge” or “selvage” (depending on whether you prefer the British or American English spelling). This just refers to a particular weaving and stitching technique, wherein the denim is woven on a shuttle loom rather than a projectile loom. Because the edges come out of the loom finished and ready to go, denim produced on shuttle looms is referred to as having a “self-edge,” hence the name “selvedge” denim. Weaving denim with a shuttle loom is slower going, but can cut down on fraying in the long run. Plus, it produces an interesting looking edge to the fabric which is particularly stylish looking if you cuff the bottoms of your jeans.
Raw Denim and Chafing
As you can see, there are both some practical and stylistic advantages to raw denim. Practically speaking, raw denim jeans are more durable than your average pair. When it comes to style, they come with a deeper indigo dye that really makes them stand out. And over time, a pair of raw denim jeans will slowly break in, developing interesting fades, and gradually come to fit you like a glove.
That’s the problem, though: they break in slowly. And while they’re breaking in, you’ll be experiencing some major friction. They’ll rub the skin between your thighs, and you’ll be prone to chafing. And given that many raw denim jeans are thicker than regular jeans, they’re going to be hotter than your typical pair of denim pants -- which means you’ll be more susceptible to excess sweating. And that extra sweat will make the chafing and friction problem even worse.
So, what’s there to do? How can you prevent chafing and stay nice and cool in your new pair of raw denim jeans? We’ve got three major tips for you.
- Choose the Right Underwear
One of the best things you can do to cut down on chafing in your new pair of raw denim jeans is simply choosing the right underwear. When you’re wearing a standard pair of jeans, maybe you can get away with a cheap, subpar pair of 100% cotton underwear. With raw denim, though, not so much.
If you’re trying to reducing chafing and excess groin sweat in your new pair of raw denim jeans, we highly recommend that you get a pair of anti-chafing underwear. The right pair of anti-friction athletic underwear will help lower the temperature between your legs and around your balls, provide the right kind of soft cushioning to minimize the impact of body friction, and help to wick excess sweat and moisture away from the surface of your skin.
By keeping the skin between your legs and around your junk and butt as dry and cool as possible, you’ll cut down dramatically on chafing and monkey butt. While cheap cotton underwear tend to soak up water and keep this area moist and uncomfortable, high quality anti-chafing underwear will go a long way towards reducing these issues.
That said, though, switching underwear alone isn’t likely to be enough if you want to reduce or eliminate chafing and sweat.
Use Moisturizing Body Wash
Aside from switching out your underwear, using the right kind of body wash can go a long way towards preventing chafing and cutting down on odor.
There are a lot of guys out there who use cheap bar soap or body wash. Not only do these cleansers contain potentially harmful ingredients, they also tend to dry out your skin. Believe it or not, maintaining the right amount of moisture on your skin -- that is, keeping your skin nice and soft -- can go a long way towards reducing chafing. When your skin is dry, red, and irritated from cheap soap, it’s more likely to chafe as a result of your thighs, butt, and balls rubbing together.
By choosing a shower cleanser that’s designed specifically for your more, ahem, “sensitive areas,” you’ll maintain the right balance of moisturized skin on the one hand and cleanliness on the other. Chassis® Shower Primer is a great choice, and we highly recommend it if you’re looking to reduce the chafing that many raw denim wearers experience.
Add Body Powder to Your Daily Routine
If you’ve never used body powder, you’re not alone. A lot of guys haven’t. But when it comes to preventing chafing, especially with pants as thick, heavy, and hot as raw denim jeans, nothing is as singularly effective as the right body powder.
When you use a good brand of body powder, you can reduce body friction, cut down on sweating, keep your skin cooler, and soothe skin that’s already irritated all at the same time. Chassis® Premium Powder does all of this and more, thanks to our proprietary blend of natural ingredients. By starting your day with your Shower Primer and following up with a dash of Premium Powder, you’ll reduce the discomfort of any existing chafing and prevent it from occurring in the future.
Staying Cool and Dry in Raw Denim
So, there you have it. You now have the knowledge you need to cut down on sweat, prevent chafing, and stay cool and dry in your raw denim jeans. With the right underwear, Chassis Shower Primer, and Chassis Premium Powder, you can say goodbye to itchy skin, excess sweat, and unpleasant odors. Are you ready to eliminate chafing once and for all? Want to stay dry and cool in your brand new pair of stylish raw denim jeans? Shop our collection of man care products now