Natural Treatments for Jock Itch

By Scott J. Banks, Joe Kraynak, J. J. Virgin

Jock itch is a fungal infection that affects the groin area. Symptoms include itching and burning around the affected area along with red, flaking, peeling, and cracking skin. Common causes of jock itch include a lowered immune system; tight, restrictive clothing; fungal contact through shared showers, locker rooms, clothing, or towels; and being overweight. The most effective cures begin with addressing the common causes first:

  • Shower immediately after athletic activities.

  • Stay clean and dry.

  • Apply antifungal powders after showering (don’t use antifungal powders that contain cornstarch, which feeds the fungus; use a powder with baking soda instead).

  • Don’t share clothing or towels.

  • Avoid tight‐fitting clothing.

If you get jock itch, try one or more of the following natural cures:

  • Tea tree oil or oil of oregano: If your skin is cracked and irritated, proceed with caution because tea tree oil and oil of oregano can sting. Soak a cotton ball in the oil and apply several times during the course of the day. For severe cases, mix tea tree oil or oil of oregano with coconut oil and apply several times during the course of the day.

  • Apple cider vinegar: Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 2 cups of warm water. Soak cotton balls in the solution and apply liberally to the affected area. Let the area dry on its own. Apply during the day and before going to sleep.

  • Rubbing alcohol or Listerine: Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol or Listerine (the dye‐free version) and apply several times during the course of the day, letting the area dry on its own (rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly). A word of caution: If your skin is severely cracked, the rubbing alcohol burns, so don’t use rubbing alcohol unless you want to hit the ceiling. Listerine also burns initially but not as intensely, and it burns less with continued treatment.

  • Salt bath: Use Epsom salts, or plain or iodized salt. Fill a bathtub with warm water and mix in a generous amount of salt. Soak in the tub for 20 minutes twice daily.

  • Manuka honey with minced garlic: Make a paste of 2 teaspoons of honey and a small amount of minced garlic. Apply the paste to the infected skin, leave it on for a few minutes, and then wash it off. This may burn at first, but the cure is worth the pain and effort.

In severe or stubborn cases, consult your doctor; you may need to use a conventional antifungal medication.