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How to Treat Surf Rash

   March 17th, 2017   Posted In: Articles, How-To   Tags:

How to Treat Surf Rash

For this Wetsuit Wearhouse Blog installment, we’re addressing How to Treat Surf Rash. In our most recent affiliated segment, we tackled the issue of surf rash with a blog titled How to Prevent Surf Rash. Most of you have probably learned the hard way and are wondering, sure that’s all fine and dandy, but what do you do once it’s too late? We hear ya! Whether it’s a DIY natural remedy, or your store-bought over the counter solutions, we’ll cover it all to keep you in the water, doin’ your thing!

DIY: The Holistic Way to Treat Surf Rash

If you’re anything like me, you scramble around the house fixing up your own remedy before you opt for running to the store. First, it’s important to know which herbs will be useful to you, and the healing properties they contain:

  1. Calendula: With antiseptic and antimicrobial properties and is most commonly used externally for wounds, burns, rashes, etc. It helps to soothe and rejuvenate the skin as a powerful, yet gentle healer.
  2. Plantain: Favored for it’s powerful anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, plantain is used to draw out toxins, poisons, impurities, blemishes and infection from the skin when used topically.
  3. Comfrey: Made up of allantoin, an anti-inflammatory that also boosts the immune system, comfrey speeds wound-healing and encourages new skin and promotes cell growth.

how to treat surf rashMake Your Own Surf Rash Salve!

These three herbs combined into a salve work together as a great healer to treat surf rash. A salve is an herb-infused ointment used to treat a variety of skin conditions. Salves are a great, convenient way to bring the healing properties of herbs deep into the tissues for repair. To make your own salve, you will need the following:

  • 1 cup of coconut oil
  • Equal parts dried herbs
  • 1 ounce of beezwax
  • 1 cheesecloth
  • Glass jars
  • Crockpot


  1. First, infuse the oil. Place calendula, plantain and comfrey in a clean, dry glass jar. A mason jar will do just fine! Next, pour in your coconut oil, adding enough so that the herbs are covered by about one inch of oil. This is done so that the petals expand as they soak in the liquid, so adding extra oil will insure that they are covered.
  2. Secure the jar with a tight fitting lid and give it a good shake!
  3. Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of your crockpot and place the jar inside upright. Add enough warm water to cover about half the jar and set to the lowest setting (I set mine on warm) for 6-8 hours.
  4. Remove your glass jar and using your cheesecloth, strain the oil into a new clean jar. Store into a cool, dark place until needed.

Now that the oil is infused with the properties of the herbs, it’s time to make the salve!

  1. Gently heat the beeswax in a double boiler, (or just a stainless-steel bowl set inside a pot of boiling water). When the beeswax is melted, add in the infused oil. Allow it to warm up for 30-60 seconds, then stir until the wax and oil are thoroughly mixed.
  2. Pour your salve into clean, dry glass jars and allow to cool.

Even when you’re not catching waves, this herbal salve is versatile and can be used for scrapes and bug bites as well! However, if you haven’t got the items on hand or the time to make your own DIY remedy, you’ll need to know which store-bought solutions will work for you!

Store Bought Products

Broadly speaking, there are two different types of products you can buy to treat surf rash, those that are petrochemical (i.e petroleum) based, and ones that are naturally derived. The petrochemical option/generic products will provide a layer over the skin to keep moisture in, but they don’t actually aid much more than that. The biggest concern with petrochemical options is that due to different refining standards, not all cancer-causing carcinogens are removed, and over time will damage items like your wetsuit or other gear. Plus, what you put on your skin ends up in your bloodstream and also in this case, the ocean…. no thanks! With that aside, petrol products aren’t sustainable or eco-friendly, which is important to any water-sport enthusiast.

Let’s talk naturally-derived, eco and surfer friendly options!

Let’s face it- if it isn’t as harmful as petrochemical option, it already sounds more appealing, and the best we’ve seen is SETT Surf Rash Cream! Designed to specifically to treat surf rash by soothing the burn and reducing the redness and sensitivity, it also ultimately will get you back out enjoying the waves again! The formula includes natural moisturizers like Coconut Oil, as well as other heavy-hitters like Manuka honey, Aloe Vera, Papaya and Seaweed to help remove the dead skin cells and keep your skin in great condition. SETT Surf Rash Cream is paraben free, sulfate free, silicone free and petrolatum free!

Wave goodbye to surf rash! No more walking like a crab because of board short rash, or having to explain the “hickey-like” chafe marks on your skin. Have any of these methods worked for you in treating surf rash? Perhaps you even have other tips to share with your fellow surfers! Leave your ideas in the comments below! Or, if you have questions, don’t hesitate to call us (866.906.7848), e-mail or catch us on live-chat! We love to hear from you!

When Paige is away from Wetsuit Wearhouse, you can find her by following the sound of rock ‘n roll and the call of the open road. She’s probably cruising around in the sun, likely to be doing something outdoors, picking through flea markets, reading or crafting.

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