rc: What are some preventative measures runners can take to avoid chafing?
JE: There are several things that you can do to prevent chafing, though none are perfect! First, before long runs apply a thin layer of Body Glide, Vaseline, or Aquaphor to the areas prone to rubbing. Second, the type of clothing you wear can make a big difference! The best pick is clothing made of synthetic materials such as Coolmax that wick moisture away.
Avoid cotton, as it stays wet once it gets wet and is also a rougher fabric that will generate more friction and therefore irritate the skin more if it does rub. Along these same lines, avoid loose-fitting clothing and opt for a more snug fit. If the clothes stay put, they are less likely to rub against the skin! It would also make sense then, to try to find seamless clothing if possible, this is more practical when looking for sports bras or bike shorts, but is another way to avoid an uncomfortable rub! Third, and finally, stay hydrated! This helps with lots of potential sports-related maladies, including chafing!
rc: Once it occurs, what can be done to get these chafed areas feeling better?
JE: As far as treatment goes, the idea is to form a barrier over the affected skin that both soothes and protects from further wear and tear, allowing the skin to regenerate on its own. I like triple-paste or A+D ointment. These are a little thick but really protect well and put vitamins and zinc on the skin, which aid in healing. You can place these on 1-2x per day, and it should improve in about 24 hours.