Best immediate treatment for severe wetsuit/nappy rash?
May 31, 2009 2:38 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to immediately treat severe wetsuit rash on neck?

Hey all,

I've been a surfer for years. I wear a rash-vest and am careful about choosing my suits and the fit of them. No problems there.
However I'm also a long distance swimmer. In the winter I swim short distances without wetsuit. However in the spring (in Ireland) I have to wear a swimming wetsuit as I swim longer distances before the water gets up to 60F in the summer and I can go without the suit.
I wear a rash-vest under suit and I also put liberal lanolin on my neck (thicker & longer lasting than vaseline or Bodyglide, preferred by swimmers for long distance). However a few hours of swimming will still cause sever neck rash.
After a 2 1/2 hours, 8KM swim yesterday my neck is raw.
I've previously tried Sudocrem & Morhulin, both Zinc Oxide treatments for nappy rash. But they don't really help in the short term. I've used Germoline, a topical off-the-shelf anaesthetic antiseptic mainly to reduce the pain.
Any other suggestions? (Since I'm in Ireland, any suggestions would need to generic rather than specific, unless you know the Irish/UK market) But I'd really appreciate any suggestions.
(Yes, it will pass in 4 to 5 days), I'm thinking about a 5 hour race soon where I'll be completely raw afterwards. (Actually the race is split. I'll be raw and have to get back into a wetsuit for a few further hours swimming.)
posted by lndl to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Is there something like Solarcain in Ireland? It's a spray that's for sunburn, minor burns, bug bites and rashes. I used to keep it handy for scraped knees as you don't have to touch the raw flesh and it seems to numb the pain while giving you a little antisceptic. Could you stand covering it with a bit to gauze afterwards? Sounds awful.

And, dumb question from someone who's never been near a wetsuit: why isn't there a soft liner inside the neck? Can you glue a bit of polar fleece type stuff inside the collar? Wear a small choker or short neck warmer type thingie to keep you from being rubbed raw? Fleece doesn't soak up a lot of water and dries fast.
posted by x46 at 2:50 PM on May 31, 2009

Best answer: I find Aloe Vera gel helps with any skin irritations. Promotes healing and is slightly analgesic.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:13 PM on May 31, 2009

Best answer: The rash guard should really be helping more. It sounds like you're taking all the precautions you can. What a drag. :(

Maybe its little hairs that are becoming problematic. I wonder if it would help to have the back of your neck waxed, then wait a week before getting into the water again. This would be a preventative measure of course, and shouldn't even be considered until your neck is fully healed. Or consider seeking the advice of a dermatologist or sports therapist. Maybe they can prescribe something, or suggest something that you/we haven't thought of.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:39 PM on May 31, 2009

Best answer: To answer x46's question about a fleece liner - my experience from kayaking is that it's not the material, it's the salt crystals from sea water that cause the abrasion. I think the fleece would simply hold the crystals in place and not stop any abrasion.

Rather than treat the rash, how about addressing the cause? I'm not sure if there's some kind of dry suit neck seal you could use instead? We have them on dry cags for kayaking and they're much more comfortable.
posted by arcticseal at 5:03 PM on May 31, 2009

UGH. This happened to me last year on my first open water swim with my new triathlon wetsuit. Unfortunately, I don't really have any groundbreaking treatments for you - I just used simple antibiotic cream (bacitration) and covered it with a bandage. Basically, I kind of treated it as I would a new tattoo.

Anyway, for preventing future rash incidents, I would recommend Body Glide. This stuff is incredible, trust me.
posted by smalls at 6:25 PM on May 31, 2009

The best and quickest way to get rid of a rash is with a shot of cortisone.
posted by Zambrano at 6:26 PM on May 31, 2009

oh crap i just read that you know about body glide... sorry. Well, just accept my sympathy re: the rash.
posted by smalls at 6:28 PM on May 31, 2009

You might be allergic to the "wool alcohols" in lanolin.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:09 AM on June 1, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for responses all.
Reading from bottom up:
:- No I'm not allergic. I use lanolin all the time when doing long swims without wetsuit & no problem.
:-Shots of cortisone may be the best but not practical just after a swim. Long distance swims are usually Saturday or Sunday.
:-Body glide is ok up to about an hour. After that it's gone. Pure lanolin (i.e. sheep grease) is horribly thick and sticky, therefore great as a lubricant. Just not enough for hours in a suit swimming. in a wetsuit. I can surf for hours in a wetsuit with no problems, there aren't the same thousands of continuous repetitions of movement.
:-I have no tattoos, sorry, but I'll keep that in mind.
:- Yes, it's the salt. Every open water (sea) swimmer knows that 20 mins is probably the max you can swim without lube before chafing starts. But I'll talk to a kayaking friend of mine about the neck seal. Good idea.
:- Little neck hairs. There's a very good point. I might try a DIY wax on my neck, although I'm laughing writing that.
:- I 'll try the Aloe Vera also. Thanks
:- As mentioned, it's the salt. Even skin to skin the crystals build up and will abrade skin. Pretty badly.I recall my first 12 mile (not-wetsuit) swim where I lubed up well but it was cold so I wore a t-shirt briefly before start. I realised after 30 minutes there was no lanolin left when the scraping started. With hours of swimming left. I had the scars under my armpits for a year. Bad wetsuit fit will aggravate/cause a problem. On long distance swims we don't wear suits but right now I can't train more than about an hour and a half in 55F. By the time it hits 60F I can stay in for a few hours without suit.

My neck right now looks like it's recovering from 2nd degree burns, 2 days after swim, although I've been sea swimming both days without suit. It's not helped by the fact we've had the first 3 days of continuous sun in 2 years!
Thanks for all the responses.
posted by lndl at 12:04 PM on June 1, 2009

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