Q. I have a bad case of jock itch, for want of a better word. I’ve used Neosporin and Lotrimin Ultra and one other medication I can’t remember right now. I thought it was getting better, but while I was still using the medications, it came back. Nothing I used has helped at all.
I dry the area well after bathing and I use baby powder, but I am still having trouble. The skin has now reached the point of being dry, cracked and bleeding. Can you offer any suggestions?
A. Jock itch is normally caused by a fungal infection. Neosporin, which contains topical antibiotics, is not likely to cure a fungus.
Lotrimin Ultra contains butenafine, an antifungal ingredient, so it should have helped. You may want to alternate it with other OTC antifungal products such as clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF, Mycelex), miconazole (Micatin, Zeasorb-AF) or tolnaftate (Aftate, Tinactin).
Many readers of this column report that a skin cleanser called Cetaphil can be very helpful against chronic jock itch. It is soothing and contains propylene glycol and cetyl alcohol, which have antifungal activity. One young woman said it was as effective for her as for men.
Some people benefit from applying dandruff shampoo such as Selsun Blue to the area. Lather, let it stay on the affected zone for five minutes and then rinse. Selenium sulfide, the active ingredient, has antifungal activity.
Once the inflamed skin has healed, you may want to try applications of vinegar or original (amber) Listerine. Listerine contains herbal oils that fight fungus, while vinegar makes the skin too acidic to be hospitable to the fungus. Antiperspirant on the groin area can help keep it dry and discourage fungus overgrowth as well.