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.

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  1. EFK
    Reply

    IF everything else has failed…. Gold Bond body powder works wonders. I think it is the zinc. I had a SEVERE problem, GB cured within a week. I still use it regularly for preventative measures.

  2. Jim
    Reply

    Why put talcum powder on jock itch when they have jock itch medication in powder form to try?

  3. Mike V
    Reply

    I have had a chronic groin itch for years. It used to get so bad, that otc medications wouldn’t clear it up. Twice I have seen a doctor and expensive prescriptions did work. Then one time, I couldn’t find any men’s treatments at the store so out of desperation, I purchased the preparation for female yeast infections. My rash cleared up over night and with a weeks use, didn’t recur for months. I keep it on hand at all times. I apply at the first systems, they are gone usually in a day or two. Recently just to double check. I went thought a whole can of a men’s leading spray. Twice a day for a week. The itch was back in one day. Back to the ladies stuff for me.

  4. EK
    Reply

    Exact same thing worked for me. I use the pyrithione zinc soap. I lathered up in the tub at night and let it “soak in” for 10 minutes. Miraculous for me. It felt better first time. Use gold bond body powder after shower or bath
    Soaking with the soap feels “oh so good”

  5. Sam
    Reply

    I had it pretty bad. It’s taken a couple months, but it’s almost all gone. I use Nizoral shampoo on the area, its from Walgreens almost every day. Also I use “Boudreaux’s Butt Past” which is VERY effective! It also works on athletes feet. Also lots of air. I don’t wear underwear at all, just keeps in heat and moisture. Wash sheets and change cloths regularly.
    Warning! A lot of these home remedies aren’t effective. Especially the peppers, garlic and bleach. Do not use bleach!!! Makes it itch very badly. Remember this is a fungus not bacteria.
    Good luck!!

  6. ZAYN
    Reply

    I have a very bad rashes between my butt crack and the rashes is not red in color. Is it a rash thing or any other thing than rashes or fungus and I bought some medicines for it will it help? NEOSPORIN after MICONAZOLE… and the washing with epsom salt along with half boiled water…

  7. Jock Scratcher
    Reply

    I’ve been dealing with this jock itch/ringworm problem for many years. I thought I had psoriasis until I recently started to research my issue. One thing I have read to do is change bedding every night. Not many folks have mentioned that but it does make some since. I have used some anti fungus stuff for a couple weeks, lotromine and another otc type and had some relief, but I’m trying a variety of other things as well. I seem to sweat a lot around my crotch and feet. I stopped wearing underwear about 15 years ago and I think that helps. I’m thinking about getting some performance tight type underwear from rei or somewhere to help wick the moisture away from my crotcgh, that might work?
    For now I think I’m gonna try the tea tree/garlic/vinegar treatment along with the selsun blue or nizoral shampoo treatment wash. Sounds crazy lol! I also bought some Boudreaux”s but cream..haha! This jock itch is amazingly resilient!! I can’t believe how much time and money it takes some of us to kick this stuff! I am a clean guy, but I hear Irish and Scottish are susceptible to skin issues (about 25%!) I’m hitting it hard with all I got though and you should to, because it is very annoying and painful. I will post back with more results. Good luck!

  8. James R.
    Reply

    I know this sounds weird but I play rugby and ride my bike about 300 miles a week. I have had jock itch on and off for years and have used everything out there. Some over the counter stuff works okay but nothing has helped to keep it from coming back all the time.
    My wife turned me on to (believe it or not) a hot pepper spray for jock itch and it worked. It burned a little at first but once I started using it, the burning got less. I won’t name the product here but it’s a hot pepper jock itch spray. It took away my itch and seems to be keeping it from coming back.

  9. Ari
    Reply

    Lots of great information here! Thanks for sharing folks! I will try the diaper rash/zinc oxide remedy. Interestingly, when my baby boy gets these rashes between fatty folds of his skin (at the wrist and neck), the zinc oxide worsens the problem, but moisturizer helps! I believe that perhaps different people have different problems that lead to the development of these types of rashes that are being discussed here. This is why things like bag balm and coconut oil work for some (as they help people with moisture retention problems retain more moisture) and powders and zinc oxides work for others.
    For my part, I believe that my tinea cruris developed after I started using baby powder — and as a direct result of that! I’m guessing its because the baby powder dried my skin too much, leaving it open to fungal infection? In any case, baby powder is clearly NOT my friend.
    @Marcus: Do not worry, the Selsun Blue will not cause you any harm. You do not have much or perhaps any exposed mucosal tissue, and even if you did, putting that shampoo on your head would have equal or more risk of getting in contact with mucosal tissue (eyes, nose, mouth) that the tiny hole at the tip of your penis. Any small amount that is absorbed through skin or mucosal tissue will not adversely affect your health, particularly if you’re only using this for a week or two as a short term remedy for jock itch.
    In fact, any harm that may come to you from using the Selsun Blue is more about your anxiety about having used it, than any ingredient it might contain. Millions of folks use this shampoo (and other shampoos containing the exact same ingredients) every day and no harm comes to them from the suds and shampoo rushing down into their butt cracks and genitals (including vaginas, which are much more open to exposure that your penis).

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