Mistakes I have made with saddle sores

Lots of good advice here. I’ll add to it, but my approach is very simple.
Avoidance: take hygiene to a whole new level. Wash both you and your bibs more than seems necessary. Also, whatever choices you make wrt grooming, be scrupulously consistent.
Treatment: days off, even more washing, change underwear a couple of times a day, sleep in loose boxers. Only wear cotton. Use the smallest amount of chamois cream possible.

Sleep naked.
Shower immediately.
Wear correct sizing
Assos chamois cream
Get your sit bones measured, then buy the correct saddle
Keep wipes and a spare change of clothes in your vehicle for post race cleanliness.

Unpopular opinion: it generally doesnt matter what brand of bibs you use. The only thing that matters is a correct bike fit. Whether its done yourself or by a professional.

1 Like

Can confirm, re EM types: We ALWAYS win what’s grosser than gross. Always.

However, that’s wrong about the sense of humor. It’s just most people are neither as original nor as funny as they think they are.

Re saddle sores: noxema is my miracle cure. Also watch the hair maintenance. Any landscaping in the area can be an open highway to saddle sores since it breaks down your skin and lets your normal bacteria cause an infection.

1 Like

One thing seems to work for me, every time. Lowering saddle. Bike fit lifted it up again recently, back they came. Lowered it all gone.


I’d amend that to say ‘Sleep in cotton underwear, if you can’t sleep naked’, ‘Use more cotton and other natural fibers off bike’.

Lycra does not ‘breath’. It can, and does hold the moisture in, and if people wear that for (minutes) hours post-ride, it’s just causing irritation and things like fungus to grow. And while shaving ‘down there’ can start or help maintain an irritation and infection, we also need to keep ‘hairy areas’ clean/dry. (I once got a huge fungus infection in my beard that required me to shave it all off until it was knocked down. I somehow end up with chest fungus on a continuing basis too. Wearing more cotton shirts, underwear, shorts/pants helps keep things cool dry comfortable.

And the saddle that gave me the sores WAS the right size. Weird. But I think it was due to the crappy seat clamp nightmare the trainer had. UGG…

1 Like

Some great advice above but additionally this was a bit of a revelation for me, recommended by a pharmacist

First indication of a sore developing apply a small amount and generally it’ll clear up before it becomes an issue :+1:

Tons of great advice above. Adding:

1 - It’s super important in these issues to dial down if your issue is a pressure issue, or an infection issue, bc the solutions / fixes are completely different for each. Sounds like OP is kind of experiencing both…

2 - Chamois Butt’r was a massive help, for me. Also relieved some pressure / bruising… guessing bc less friction, and more ability to move around a bit? No clue. Bruises gone.

3 - Tons above about cleanliness; getting out of the dirty shorts, and showered, immediately after the ride. 100%.

Adding, not yet mentioned:

4 - Hair adds surface area, and holds water, moisture, sweat, bacteria, and actual fecal mater. It’s gross to talk about, but it doesn’t help anyone to dance around the issue; we want to be honest here, and help ppl ride more kms / wk wo pain. It really doesn’t matter if you “like hair” or “dislike hair” ; it’s about keeping the area as clean as possible; and hair ruins that. Immensely.

Shaving causes irritation and insane itching, and increases chances of infection / saddle sores. Cold sugaring works very well; no itching during re-growth, lasts 3 - 6 wks, is far less painful than wax, but is very expensive to have done @ a studio, and is still pretty painful. Did that for 4 - 5 yrs, $ 75 every 5-6 wks.

VEET sensitive skin changed my life. It is cheap, easy, fast, zero itching during re-growth, zero irritation, and lasts 3 - 5 wks before re-treatment is needed [if you wanted to stay dead-bare, every 2 - 3 wks.]

They say you must be ultra-paranoid to not get it directly on the door frame, and obviously not inside the door, but that is just litigation / legal CYA on their part; you can absolutely apply it to the door frame to make sure you remove 100% of the hair, just yes, do not get it inside the door. And if you make a mistake and do, you do not instantly die, it just stings like vinegar or salt in a cut, you rinse it off w warm water, and it’s over.

I don’t think if I “like it” or “don’t like it” ; it keeps me way, way cleaner, and I have not had a single saddle sore / infection since I started doing it regularly, period, vs. 2 - 4 issues, and time off the bike, each season in the past. [+ immediate shower & keeping the area dry and clean.]

Pro notes:

1 - Do a small patch test first. Some ppl are sensitive. I have brutal eczema on my hands and back, and I am not sensitive to VEET. So it clearly works well, without causing problems, for many ppl.

2 - Rinse off w warm, not hot water.

3 - You’ll need an old face cloth, during the rinse-off, scrub yourself like you’re trying to remove a layer [don’t hurt yourself, don’t be an idiot, but ya, scrub hard.] It really helps make it way way more effective.

4 - Absolutely critical to use a timer: 10 mins. Do not guesstimate.

5 - Use a pair of disposable rubber gloves, if your hands have sensitive skin. It helps me.


An additonal treatment option to consider is a sitz bath with epsom salts. Coming into Unbound this year, I had developed three nodules, along with some decent perineal swelling. The nodules were very similar to one that I had removed a few years ago and the recovery was a nightmare for me (due to being on blood thinners, not the surgery itself).

Anyway, knowing I had to get the swelling and nodules under control, I tried sitz baths / epsom salt. It definitely provided relief for the swelling…and the pain / discomfort from the nodules was reduced. Was there a direct link to the nodule improvement and the treatment? No idea…could also have been the result of reduced volume leading up to the race…but there was certainly a therapeutic psychological benefit to the whole process.

1 Like

I noticed this too… Now I set my wash cycle to “very soil”. Thats add more of time in the washer but seems to do a better job. It doesnt clean it 100%, but it is better.

I have been debating about other creams, but I so far Noxzema seems to do the job for me and it cost less

If i ever get a sore I use the miraculous vicks vaporub to fix it!

1 Like

between Noxzema and Vick’s it sounds like Tea Tree Oil might be a good option as well. Topical anti-bacterial for the win.

Also the echo of Amber on many many podcasts. “Get out of those bibs ASAP” hanging around in swampy bibs is just asking for problems.


Actually the comment about keeping clean seems to back up the use of baby wipes to be ‘cleaner’. I haven’t had any issues since I started using them, but then those issues aren’t very common.

1 Like

I used to battle saddle soars frequently and even ointment, alcohol wipes, etc didn’t really help me personally. The things I did and haven’t had one since:

  1. Take off bibs as soon as possible after ride - usually within 10 minutes but if it’s at a race - at least within an hour (I bring baby wipes with me to the races so I can wipe myself down post- race and put on change of clothes rather than sitting in my car in my bibs
  2. Hand wash bibs in the shower with soap immediately after riding
  3. Wash in washing machine and then air dry after - the downside is the bibs breakdown more frequently, but they at least get fully clean
  4. If getting ready to do a sweaty indoor ride and I haven’t showered since prior morning, I’ll take a quick shower just to get clean

The above really helped me eliminate any bacteria which seems to be the prime reason for getting saddle sores - barring a really bad bike fit.

Good luck out there! Those are the worst.


@Power13 I do not mean to be rude or confrontational or mean in any way.

Please understand that I have asd & neurodivergent so me talking to someone is hard. I am not really sure what is offensive or what is normal. I can’t see that border, like normal people do. So I end up pissing everyone off.

I love your contributions to this community. I try to contribute value here.

I don’t want to argue. But I see above that you are struggling / have struggled with saddle sores.

And I feel like you didn’t even consider my comment / advice above.

Obviously this is all very hard for me to talk about. It would be hard for a normal human to talk about. As an asd person I am waiting for the police to come and arrest me.

I don’t know how else to say it or how to better communicate it.

Anyone: I struggled with saddle sores for 6 years of cycling, taking time off the bike.

As soon as I got rid of the hair, everything was fine. Haven’t had a saddle sore since.

1 Like

I’m not certain why you have singled me out in your post…I simply added another treatment option and did not discredit anything else.


Yeah, I went back and re-read both posts. One seemed like a great post about cleaning up hair in the area to prevent sores and the other a post about how to ease the pain if you get one. I didn’t see any contradictions.

1 Like

I suffered pain with my saddle for years. So I would be constantly moving about on my saddle trying to find a comfortable spot, which then led to soreness in other areas. I tried many saddles, and for me the SelleSMP Stratos was the solution.
This saddle has a very large obvious gap down the centre. It takes a little while to get used to it, as your weight becomes more focused on your sit bones. Essential the saddle is horizontal.
That was important for me as the pain I got was from the pressure on the pelvic floor soft tissue, both men and women have.
I still use cream “Aussie Butt Cream - for pain down under” - love the name :-). I apply it directly to the skin that sometimes gets sore, rather than to the chamois.
I agree totally, once you have a zit, cleanliness, treatment, ie, rest, is essential. We all get them occasionally, and they can be very painful.
The Laundry aspect:- research has shown that for any sports wear, it pays to rinse it as soon as your undress, ie, don’t let your cloths dry. The rinsing need only be just warm water, which gets rid of the oils and bacteria. This also stops your sports gear getting the typical permanent smelliness, be they synthetic of natural fibres.

In our seemingly overly clean western world I don’t understand why we‘re still using toilet paper and not a bidet or toilets with water fountains. Keep the area clean and change bibs after every ride. If you‘ve still issues get another saddle and/or a bike fit. Probably the saddle is just too high.

In the shower I give my groin and armpits a scrub with Dettol soap before shower gel as it’s a good antibacterial cleaner. I wouldn’t use it on face as my skin feels odd afterwards but this along with a slightly lower saddle seems to have cleared up my hotspots.

The mistake I made with saddle sores, was thinking they were normal with aging, and just using lots of chamois cream. On hindsight (that wonderful thing :roll_eyes:) they were a sign that something was up with my system. I probably restarted cycling to work in 2004, and in 2006 got my first road bike and ramped up the mileage (2013 was my peak year 16,000miles which included the Flanders and the Marmmote. After then I was still doing 12,000-14,000 miles a year no chamois cream up till circa 2017; I might have occasionally got a sore but it disappeared overnight. Then in 2018 I started to get regular sores that would last a few days, lots of chamois cream seemed to relieve them but it’d take a good few days for them to disappear. But they did disappear. I shouldn’t have ignored them though. It was likely due to my chronic iron deficiency back then caused by bowel (colon) cancer. I never really had a problem once iron levels were back to normal post my operation to remove the c thing, although I continued to use chamois cream until about 10months back. Whilst my riding is a lot less these days (I’ve not even done 4,000miles yet) my saddle sore behaviour non cream is back to its behaviour of circa 2013; I’ve maybe had two sores in 10 months that disappeared over night.