jock itch

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. Barry

    I am sooo glad I found this site. I had jock itch for 2+ years. Not the itchy kind, more like irregularly-shaped dark patches on both sides of my groin that wouldn’t go away. If I didn’t put cream on them, they got angry-looking. I tried everything – all of the Walgreen’s creams (fail) plus three different prescriptions from my doctor (useless, and one of them had side effects that scared the H– out of me.)

    So I searched on Google and read all of these posts. They all sounded promising. The one I decided to try was the sea-salt and water (don’t use regular salt, it said). The reason? I knew salt was a 2,000 year-old cleanser so it made sense. I made a paste out of it as best as I could and put it on in the morning, covering as much as possible on both sides of the groin. Left it on all day, then put it on in the evening and left it on all night. I did this for three days. On the morning of the second day, it had turned fire-engine red. A little burning feeling off and on, but nothing serious. Ditto for the third day.

    The third evening was the last night of the salt. Day four in the morning – the jock itch was REALLY fire-engine red, both sides. The salt was obviously burning it away. That morning of the fourth day I switched to Gold Bond body powder, recommended by others on this site. I used the regular one in the orange container. Once in the morning, once in the evening at bedtime. Within two days the redness was gone and the irregular-shaped pattern of the jock itch began to disappear. Day by day it grew smaller. A week later it was G-O-N-E. Wow. After 2+ years and all the useless junk I put on it. The 1-2 natural and safe treatment took ten days.

    I am grateful to this site. I’ll continue to use Gold Bond, probably once every couple of days to make sure the stuff doesn’t return. Thank you!

  2. James

    I was at work last summer when I noticed I was getting an itchy rash down my leg. I didn’t really think anything of it and over the course of the next couple of days, the itch became unbearable.

    I went to the hospital and the doctor looked at it for all of 30 seconds and said, “Yeah, looks like something fungal is going on there.” Gave me a prescription of clotrimazole/betamethasone cream and sent me on my way. Out the door, I paid $175 for the visit and $65 for the cream.

    I applied the cream as directed and it seemed to help. After two weeks of misery, paranoia and self diagnosing, it seemed to be over. Great!

    Two weeks later it comes back, which started an on/off routine that turned me into a complete clean freak for the course of the year following and became something bigger as it went from an itch to a burning sensation, burning sensation to good months to clammy balls and penis, to rashy bumps in my groin, total f****** nightmare, total chaos.

    I am in a monogamous relationship and from the first signs of something was off I knew I didn’t want jeopardize my SO’s personal health, so I was tested for everything under the sun. Full panels. Negative down the line.

    And that didn’t take long for that to have a lasting mental effect in the form of paranoia and depression. I didn’t have the money to go all out and see specialist after specialist.

    Last week, at my wits end and taking fluconozale with no effect, I broke down and called a urologist and a dermatologist. I had surrendered. I was exhausted from the constant daily battle and damn near OCD bathing and laundry routine…

    I was casually reading and found a random forum where people said they had similar symptoms;

    Clammy testicles
    Clammy penis
    Tacky/Sweaty groin
    Occasional burning (Even though my case seemed more pronounced)
    Itchy groin
    Negative STD/STI results
    OTC medicine/Prescription medicine didn’t work or worked temporarily

    Someone was just like “Yeah, I think I had this same thing. I used Selsin Blue and it cleared right up.”

    And if I could buy this guy a month worth of beers, I would.

    I was like, “What’s the worst that can happen? I’m about to blow $1500 dollars on the doctors.”

    I bought Selsin Blue Medicated (Even though there didn’t seem to be a difference between the three).

    I took a brief shower, dried off completely with a hair dryer. Lathered the shampoo up and applied it liberally to my genitals and groin. I laid out in my room for 5-10 minutes and then rinsed it off and dried off with a blow dryer.


    I just knew. I didn’t get my hopes up, but I knew.

    I’ve been using it for the past 3 days and it is NIGHT/DAY.

    Day 1: The tacky feeling and the burning subsided
    Day 2: The tacky feeling was gone
    Day 3: The burning has completely subsided
    Day 4: Back to normal.

    After a terrible year, all it took was a $10 dollar bottle of shampoo.

    Thank god.

  3. Rakesh

    I have had jock itch since last 1 month. I used to run everyday 3-4 Miles. It was so bad one night that i had to go to emergency. The doctor gave me a 7 day pill (Itraconazole). This healed jock itch completely. However even after using coconut oil, proper hygiene and keeping the groin clean and dry , it returned back within a week.
    I read all the comments here but one thing everyone have missed is the DIET.

    I did a lot of research after that and found the following.

    1) Jock itch can be cured by attacking it both internally(proper diet) and externally(using antifungal creams)
    2) Diets which have sugar(even fruits) encourage fungal growth. No matter what you use externally if you keep consuming sugar these stubborn fungus wont go away. Stop aerated sugary drinks, fruits like grapes, cherries, Coffee etc.
    3)Stop taking high carbs food like Pizza and anything that has wheat in it.
    4)Eat Salad (brocolli, lettuce, brussel sprouts, lots of carrots and cucumbers) without any dressings or less dressing.
    5) Grape fruit and Garlic are the best. Eat 4-8 garlic cloves daily(not is a single meal) and onion with boiled eggs.
    6)Clean the groin area with anti fungal soap , pat dry and stand naked in front of a fan and let it dry completely. After that apply Tea tree oil or Lotrimin Ultra generously. Repeat this for 3-4 times daily. Especially before sleeping. Wear loose, clean cotton pants. Change after every treatment. Do not wear the same pant again without cleaning.
    7) Have a good night sleep. Yes Sleep matters .


    • randall

      I was suffering from persistant jock itch for 2 miserable embarrassing years. I used to scratch myself so much I would bleed. Nothing my doctor gave me got rid of it and I tried all of the over the counter antifungals. I am not a home remedy organic sort of person, but out of desperation, I bought some tea tree oil shampoo and began using it for about 2 months.

      It helped sooth some of the itching, but it I have to admit was a little irritating to my skin. However, after 2 months, I stopped using it and my skin went back to normal as in before I ever had this maddening jock itch. I feel like a new person. Now I am no longer using anything. I really thought I was doomed to live with embarrassing itching forever.

  4. Guerry
    Southern SC

    A lot of talk but I’m not hearing of a lot of relief. Your problem resides within your body. Treat the inside well and the outside will follow suit. A great way to start is with a great probiotic. I use Kefir. Made from Kefir grains you can order or usually find locally. Next is Extra Virgin Coconut oil taken internally and applied topically. I take about 4 tablespoons per day orally and gently massage some into the affected area after a shower and again whenever the notion strikes throughout the day. Relief was within about a week.

  5. curtis m

    I have small little bumps on the inner part of my thighs like its a rash, and I am itching around the whole area and under my groin area to.. and I have some bumps on the inner part of my butt checks also.. I have never had this before.. so could anyone tell me is this a case of the jock itch, or could it be just a case of a skin rash…

  6. Guy

    Salt paste (just sea salt and water) saved my penis from a very bad fungal infection. I am so angry at the mainstream doctors i went to for not knowing this. They had me on non effective pharma creams that cost big bucks, causing me more weeks of horrible pain and causing the infection to spread. The cure was so simple that the doctors still can’t admit that the salt is what actually cured it. It works immediately, that how how i know it was the salt. Here’s my experience:

    Layer salt paste over the infection and let it sit for as long as you can, at least 20 mins but i recommend and hour to be sure you kill the fungi. You should notice alot of swelling occur within a FEW MINUTES under and around the infected area…..mine swelled up so much i was a little scared! But through the swelling, i saw little patches of the fungus that was embedded in my skin turn reddish/brown (which is the fungus dying). When the fungus dies it leaves a hole in your skin that has to fill in. From here use organic healing oils to assure a fast recovery. If the hole isn’t too big, the scarring should be minimal. Good luck my friends

  7. E.Rich
    bmore MD

    I have had wrangled with jock itch since my early 20’s,i have relied heavily on prescription creams then all the sudden THEY STOPPED WORKING… But it was a blessing! I read an several things on line about *TEA TREE OIL* yes this miracle saved me, i itched sooo bad some times it kept me from sleeping… I applied tea tree oil once an in the First treatment it helped! If you have debilitating jock itch…TEA TREE OIL WORKS! AND FAST!

    • commonsense

      If you put 100% tea tree oil on your crotch, you’re going to be in a lot more pain than from jock itch. That’s strong stuff.

      • Mathew

        It barely burns… But I’m hoping it works just put it on for the first time

      • Annie

        Straight tea tree made my mild, not itchy rash into a horrible, itchy, bright red rash. TEST it first, on a VERY small patch, and I recommend dillution with a carrier oil. Almond? Olive? BTW – Only the places where the fungus is got red and itchy – not my un-effected skin.

  8. c

    Aloe Vera, INSTANT RELIEF! I couldnt believe how good it felt, it feels like I have my balls back! I used the plant, but apparently creams work too.

  9. rocky r.
    United States

    What is the best undewear to use to help eliminate my jock itch? I think the bleach and perfumed detergents used on my underwear has caused this problem as well.

  10. EFK

    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.

  11. Jim

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

  12. Mike V

    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.

  13. EK

    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”

  14. Sam

    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!!

  15. ZAYN

    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…

  16. Jock Scratcher

    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!

  17. James R.

    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.

  18. Ari

    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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