Seriously, trust me.
In my progression from casual cyclist, to bike commuter, to cyclocross racer, I’m becoming increasingly aware of how important these areas are to protect.
Unfortunately, that usually means spending a bit more money on really good gear for these areas. Yeah, I’m talking about shorts/bib shorts, gloves, shoes, and compression socks.
Ask a cyclist that spends any amount of time in the saddle, and they’ll tell you that a kick ass chamois cream is paramount to protecting your butt. And believe me, if your cheeks are getting sore, you won’t last long in the saddle…guaranteed.
What’s a Chamois and why does it need cream?
The chamois is the padded part of a pair of bike shorts. Yeah, you think you don’t need dedicated bike shorts? You do. Trust me.
When it comes to spending some time on the bike — be it 30 minutes or 4 hours — your gluteal adversary is friction. Let’s say you’re riding for an hour at 100 RPM’s. That means you’ve had 6,000 repetitions on each leg.
Again, that’s a lot of friction…potentially.
The chamois part of your bike shorts or bib shorts (I use and recommend bib shorts) is going to provide a bit of padding on your saddle (which is bike-speak for the seat), but a good chamois cream will do 2 things:
- Fight funk…yeah, you know what I mean
- Fight friction
Having a chamois pad sewn into a pair of tight-fitting bike shorts means there is plenty of chance for bacteria to build up…which we don’t want. A good chamois cream will fight that funk as well as help keep you free of the dreaded “saddle sores”.
Our experience with Doc’s Cycling Salves
We’re fortunate to have quite a few avid cyclists around the Eco-Snobbery Sucks crew. We’ve all used several different kinds of chamois cream (which I won’t get into), but everyone was excited to try Doc’s chamois cream.
Doc’s “all-natural” chamois cream’s slogan is, “All the ingredients you need and none of them you don’t.” Here is the ingredient list of Doc’s chamois cream:
- Aloe barbadensis (Organic Aloe Vera) juice- When used topically, aloe vera juice can soothe skin and serve as an anti-inflammatory.
- Cocos nucifera (Coconut) oil – Utilized for its emulsifying, skin-conditioning, and anti-caking effects.
- Emulsifying Wax NF – Emulsifying Wax, Synthetic Wax and Synthetic Beeswax are manufactured waxes. In cosmetics and personal care products, these waxes are used in many types of products including lipsticks, baby products, eye and facial makeup, as well as nail care, skin care, suntan, sunscreen, fragrance, and noncoloring hair preparations
- Palm stearic acid – A natural fatty acid occurring in vegetable fats. It has good emulsifying & thickening properties (stabilizes emulsions), gives soft waxy, pearly & cooling feel on the skin. Imparts a soft feel to lotions and creams.
- Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel) – Functions as a skin conditioning agents. Enhances the appearance of dry or damaged skin and help to reduce flaking and restores the suppleness of skin.
- Cetyl alcohol -A long chain organic alcohol; according to the PETA’s Caring Consumer guide, this ingredient can be of either animal or plant origin. Cetearyl Alcohol and the other fatty alcohols keep an emulsion from separating into its oil and liquid components. Also used as a thickening agent.
- Xanthan gum (Polysaccharide gum) – A sugar-based polymer produced by bacteria; it is used as a viscosity agent in personal care products and foods.
- Mannan – a plant polysaccharide that is a polymer of the sugar mannose.
- Tetrasodium EDTA – A preservative, plain and simple.
- Phenoxyethanol – Non-formaldehyde-releasing preservative used in cosmetics and personal care products that prevents or retards microbial growth, and thus protects cosmetics and personal care products from spoilage. It may also be used in fragrances.
- Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Essential Oil – An essential oil that has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral qualities when used topically.
- Citric acid – a weak organic acid. It is a natural preservative.
Compare that to the nastiness of the ingredient lists of three of the most popular chamois creams on the market…yeah, exactly. Thank the cosmos for Doc’s.
The nearest you can come to perfect is as close as possible
Don’t be fooled. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” product. For all you label-readers our there, I’m sure a couple of those ingredients in Doc’s Chamois Cream will raise a couple of red flags…so I decided to go ahead and ask Doc about them on your behalf.
Me: Can you explain why you use Emulsifying Wax NF?
Doc: Our Emuslifying wax NF is vegetable based not animal based. It is necessary to achieve a cohesive cream. It is our very strong opinion that one cannot create a cohesive and stable cream without this…and the botanical alternatives are brutal (e.g. Borax from Beeswax).
Me: How about the Tetrasodium EDTA?
Doc: It came to this preservative vs. parabens! Easy choice.
Me: If you have even one artificial ingredient in your formulation, why does your label say all-natural?
Doc: The basic product development from us (i.e. Doc’s Skincare, LLC) comes from our desire to create a product that utilizes must-have ingredients and performance characteristics that can still be mass-produced within our cost expectations and achieve this nebulous “all-natural” moniker. The moniker “all-natural” is not a certified designation but we use it to get the point across that our products are as botanical or as organic as possible; I stand by this philosophy.
Bear in mind, unlike a lot of “organic” or “natural” cosmetic/personal care product companies, we are not making this stuff in my kitchen. Our products are made in a well-known, FDA approved facility that mass produce tens of thousands of products (some of our production runs are 10,000 units!). Our produc has to perform, is made under FDA/USDA scrutiny, and has to have REAL shelf life.
While we can certainly make a very similar product that is completely botanical, we simply could not make a product that was reasonable cost-wise. We cut-out the most offensive agents commonly used like silicone and mineral oil and added a ton of helpful botanicals like Tea Tree Oil and Witch Hazel and Aloe Vera Juice. Our main goal was to create an effective product
Personally, I’m totally cool with that philosophy and explanation. How do you feel about it?
I have poured over chamois cream ingredient lists for hours upon hours, and Doc’s chamois cream is the best I’ve found…in both form and in function. Doc’s formulation is based in organic aloe vera juice…not water or mineral oil.
That one element alone sets it worlds apart from the competition.
The bottom line (which includes a discount)
Doc’s chamois cream, cool weather embrocation, and saddle sore ointment are second to none that any of our team have tried. We’ve used it on long road rides, gravel grinders, cyclocross races, and daily commutes, and it’s held up like a champ.
Bottom line, Doc’s cycling salves are kick ass…and do a hell of a job protecting it too. So how do you get a hold of some Doc’s cycling products?
- You can buy an 8-ounce tub of Doc’s chamois cream $20.95 on Amazon.
- You can buy a 4-ounce tub of Doc’s cool weather embrocation for $16.95 on Amazon.
- You can buy a 1.4 ounce tub of Doc’s saddle sore ointment for $16.95 on Amazon.
Doc was nice enough to extend a 50% off coupon code through the end of the year to readers of Eco-Snobbery Sucks! Use code “ChamE4Me” at your Amazon checkout, and bada-bing, you’ve got THE top-of-the-line chamois cream on the market for a crazy affordable price.
What’s your favorite chamois cream and how do you apply it?