To choose the best chafing ointment, individuals should first determine the source of their chafing as well as the level of damage which may have already occurred in that area. Chafing is a condition of the body that can occur when two areas of skin, or skin and clothing, rub together and become irritated. This condition may be more commonly experienced by individuals during times of peak activity, such as while exercising, or in humid, hot climates.
The first step in preventing this uncomfortable condition is to identify the source of the chafing. A lightweight chafing ointment may be used if the irritation is due to friction caused by skin and clothing rubbing together. This type of product is typically gel based, and can be applied directly to the skin in a manner similar to using deodorant. Creamy and heavy ointments can cause clothing to become damp, which increases the amount of friction experienced by the wearer and can encourage the growth of topical bacteria in areas which become raw and damaged.
Areas of skin which may be subject to friction as a result of skin to skin, or skin to water, contact can benefit from using a thicker types of chafing ointment. Water can cause skin to become dry and cracked over time, eventually breaking and bleeding when left untreated. These conditions are frequently experienced by those with careers in which they must wash their hands frequently. Creams and petroleum based ointments can create a protective layer of product that rests invisibly on the surface of the skin. This layer can act as a moisture barrier that holds the body's natural oils in while preventing water and other slightly abrasive chemicals from penetrating the upper layers of the epidermis.
The second step in choosing the best type of chafing ointment is to determine the level of damage that has already occurred to the affected area. Certain types of ointment include healing agents, such as vitamins A, D and E, that work to actively promote skin healing while protecting it from further damage. These ointments may be preferred by individuals who have already experienced bleeding, cracked skin, and scabbed areas as a result of severe chafing. These areas may also be more commonly referred to as hot spots because of their location on the body which is subject to frequent sources of friction. Healing ointments are frequently preferred by mothers in the treatment of diaper rash and may be found in the baby section of most stores.