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I am about to ride a 300km brevet, and the plan is to let the faster bike alone at home, and go with a heavier one, for a lot of reasons, and one of them is the riding position on the fast one makes friction against the saddle a long-term problem. Besides, it is fixed gear and since I cannot stop pedalling, the problem is even bigger.

I have seen people talk about the wonders of chamois creams and powders, and I am planning to use some. But since I tend to have a traditional approach (and to be very skeptical about fancy advertisements), perhaps using some traditional home-made solutions could become an interesting exercise in self-sufficiency.

Some folks told me from experience that corn starch makes an excelent sweat-absorber, and also helps the skin to not suffer from friction.

Some folks told me from experience that solid vaseline might be useful, too.

How can I make my own chamois cream?

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I've heard that petroleum products can break down spandex/lycra, but I can't substantiate that. –  Neil Fein Mar 8 '12 at 18:17
    
I think one point is that you should probably avoid products that are heavy on the oils side, vs the water-soluble components. Not just petrolatum, but even those that use cocoanut oil, etc. –  Daniel R Hicks Mar 8 '12 at 21:39
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6 Answers

Most of your chamois creams/"butt butters", such as Paceline's "Chamois Butt`r", are fairly conventional combos of standard skin cream ingredients, with a heavy emphasis on lanolin.

I've never tried petrolatum (though many swear by it), and I'm a bit skeptical as to how it would fare compared to the more skin-cream-like concoctions. Plus it would make more of a mess of the chamois and be harder to launder out.

I'll admit that the commercial concoctions are a bit expensive, but a little goes a long way, so it's not that big of an investment.

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I think I tend to agree both with the "not so special" argument about some fancy products, and with the "not such a prohibitive investment" part. It's not so common to see those products around where I live, so I'll try to buy some, but also have a possible B-plan just in case. –  heltonbiker Mar 8 '12 at 20:00
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Not home-made, but pretty darn cheap (less than $5 last time I bought it, and it's lasted over 2 years): Lantiseptic.

http://www.rusa.org/newsletter/08-04-10.html

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I'm not sure about homemade formulations but there are cheaper alternatives to expensive, branded chamois creams.

Are there alternatives to expensive, branded chamois creams?

Yes indeed. There are a number of cheap substitutes that work just fine. Some popular choices are Bag Balm, Queen Helene’s Cocoa Butter Creme, Udderly Smooth, and Noxzema Cream. Those are all worth a shot. It’s also worth noting that the Noxzema Original Cream contains neat ingredients – camphor, menthol, and eucalyptus – like Assos does.

The only product I would avoid is Vaseline. I just don’t think it mixes well with expensive leather saddles, and it doesn’t come out in the wash, so you’re kind of stuck with it after one use!

I use Udderly Smooth. It's cheap and a little goes a long way. I've also used Noxema which has worked fine. As for corn starch I've used it in cooking, and considering that, I'm not sure that I'd want it in my pants after sweat gets added to it.

Quoted liberally from: CoachLevi.com the article: Chamois Butter Exposed! Common Myths, Folk Lore, and Reality

Here's an actual recipe on Instructables since you said you'd like to try making it yourself. It's basically shea butter, aloe vera and olive oil; plus they offer some options. The ingredients are in the ball park of commercial versions.

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Yeah, I suspect that stuff of the Bag Balm genre would work pretty well. I suspect you want to avoid camphor & menthol, though, as they would likely be more irritating than soothing after 6 hours in the saddle. –  Daniel R Hicks Mar 8 '12 at 23:49
    
Yes, Noxzema is tingly. ;~) –  user313 Mar 9 '12 at 0:04
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Back when shorts had real chamois, I used Vaseline (petroleum jelly) on the chamois all the time with no problems.

If I were doing it today, I think I'd go with lanolin. This brand works very well and is obviously very gentle.

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I have used hemmroid cream on "hot spots"due to chaffing on my feet but not more sensitive areas.Apparently it shrinks the membranes that cause blisters to form and thickens the skin so it is less likely to open.

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On multi-day rides it's good to have some cortisone cream along, to take care of "hot spots". Also good for bug bites. (Of course, you shouldn't use it in place of butt butter -- you'd OD on cortisone if nothing else.) –  Daniel R Hicks Mar 9 '12 at 2:36
    
@DanielRHicks Actually Hydrocortisone would be more advisable, because it is less potent than actual Cortisone. Medium power corticosteroids can contribute to skin thinning and breakdown. By the way, I have already used it, saved me twice already :o) –  heltonbiker Mar 9 '12 at 14:06
    
@heltonbiker -- The term "cortisone cream" is generally understood to mean a hydrocortisone product such as Cortaid. I seriously doubt that a true cortisone cream is even available. –  Daniel R Hicks Mar 9 '12 at 23:48
    
@DanielRHicks (a bit late) there are some more potent cream corticosteriods for skin use, but I think they require prescription since they are intended for very specific skin diseases. –  heltonbiker Jan 5 '13 at 18:03
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Not sure of your location, but check for "Udder Cream". Designed for chapped cows or goats teats. Great as a chamois cream. Easily available in Australia and NZ. Probably most countries.

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Yep, it's sold in the US, often in regular drugstores. "Bag Balm" is the best-known brand, though there are several others. –  Daniel R Hicks Jan 5 '13 at 4:01
    
Do you think this could be available in veterinary stores? –  heltonbiker Jan 5 '13 at 18:02
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