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Runners Tech: Review – Gold Bond Friction Defense

Posted Sep 26 2012 2:49pm

Do you love running but hate chafing? You are not alone. Many seasoned runners know about the condition commonly known as chafing or friction burn – the abrasion of skin as a result of prolonged rubbing between the skin and clothing. The conventional way to deal with problem is to prevent or relieve it with ointment like Vaseline. The trouble with any petroleum or oil based ointments is that they are messy – they get on your clothes don’t don’t last long enough. Fortunately, there are several products available to runners that can help.

One such solution is the new Gold Bond Friction Defense . It is a skin protectant formulated to prevent, reduce, and relief skin irritation due to friction. Recently I’ve received a free sample of Gold Bond Friction Defense to try out and review. Below is what I found out about this product.

What is it?

Not unique to runners or athletes, chafing can occur even during daily activities under regular clothes. The symptoms of chafing include rash-like red regions of skin that’s stinging or painful to the touch. And in the most severe cases, bleeding can occur. The most frequent locations of chafing include nipples, armpits, groin, thighs, and feet. It can also be found around the waist where you wear your belt or drawstring – as well as on the shoulders and back for women (bra straps).

The Friction Defense comes in a 1.75 oz (49.6 g) stick – much like a regular deodorant in terms of shape, size, and application method. This soothing formula includes triglycerides, silica, aloe, ginger root extract, vitamin E. Inside the container, the Friction Defense appears to be a white waxy, substance that feels like a candle or bar soap – without any scent. It is smooth and slippery to the touch yet not greasy.

How does it work?

To use Gold Bond Friction Defense is easy. You twist the dial at the bottom of the container to roll out the compound and apply to your sensitive areas. I’ve also noticed that the Friction Defense is stain-free – I can go ahead and put on my clothes immediately after applying the Friction Defense without having to worry about it getting on clothes. There is no waiting period to let the stuff dry or be absorbed by the skin, unlike Vaseline or other over-the-counter ointments.

How did it perform?

After a week of running with it on my sensitive body parts (chest and thighs), I was satisfied that the Friction Defense did its job. Even after a steamy 3-hour 20 miler over the past weekend, I didn’t notice any discomfort or irritation on my skin. It stood up quite well against sweat and rain for the duration that I’ve run – although I suspect it might be necessary to re-apply the Friction Defense for longer runs beyond.

One interesting advertised benefit of the Friction Defense is that it soothes, moisturizes, and comforts the skin as well. To put this to the test, I used the Friction Defense on my thigh, on a chafed patch of skin where I did not use any preventive care. The result was quite astounding. The stinging stopped at once – and I was able to go about my day without having to walk like a funky penguin.

The final verdict

On the whole, Gold Bond Friction Defense works in almost the same way as its competitor, BODYGLIDE, does. This is a compliment because I’ve been using BODYGLIDE religiously for as long as I’ve run. Although the ingredients in these two products are entirely different – their both provide what they claim to do very well. The key key differences between the two, however, is price and availability. The Friction Defense is cheaper – $6.99 at the most for 1.75 oz ($3.99/oz). The cheapest unit MSRP for BODYGLIDE I can find is $14.99 for a large 2.5 oz stick, or $6.00/oz. Also, Gold Bond is a household name with products found at major retailer such as Walmart , Target, Walgreens, CVS, etc. BODYGLIDE, on the other hand, can only be found at specialty stores. So if you are unable to take a trip to a running store, don’t forget to check your local drug store for Gold Bond Friction Defense next time.

What’s your experience with chafing? How do you deal with it normally? What other products have you tried to prevent or relieve skin irritation from running or other activities?

- Kevin

(Kevin Lu is an engineer, currently working in the field of orthopedic devices. He received his B.S. and M.S. in biomedical engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology. Science, technology, and running are Kevin’s passions. In his spare time, Kevin trains for and participates in races of various distances. His recent personal records include 20:58/5K and 5:48:22/50K. Follow him on Twitter (@ SweatEngine ) and check out his blog  Beyond Distance .)

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