Jock itch can be a highly annoying fungal infection of the groin for men, but some women can get it too. There are many different names for it—crotch itch, crotch rot, and gym itch—but it’s all a form of fungus called Tinea cruris. The infection occurs on the surface of the skin and causes a rash that is circular or with rings.
Even though it’s called jock itch, as often athletes can get it, any man of any fitness level can get it too. Teenagers and seniors of all ages can also suffer from jock itch.
Tinea cruris loves to thrive in moist, sweaty, and warm parts of the skin. Some people sweat more often than others, or don’t have time to wash with soap and water on a regular basis which can keep fungus under control on the skin. This is exactly the type of environment that fungus loves.
The rash can be red, tan, or brown, and have a flaking or peeling appearance as it heals. The rash can be extremely itchy and sore, and if it’s excessively scratched it can break open and cause further complications. At times it can be mixed up with eczema or psoriasis.
Many people can call it “ringworm of the groin”. Ringworm is also a fungal infection and has nothing to do with worms. This infection is characterized by circular rings on the skin.
While it can be embarrassing to have this type of infection, and cause alarm to your spouse, it can easily be treated and shouldn’t cause any longterm damage. It can be annoying, particularly when you can’t scratch yourself in public.
The infection is contagious though, so you’ll want to avoid contact with other people when you have it, and ensure that your dirty clothing is washed separately and thoroughly in the washing machine. Even bed sheets should be thoroughly washed every couple of days until your skin infection is gone.
If you’re alarmed because you have jock itch, you may or may not have gotten it from someone else. The Tinea cruris does live naturally on the skin of most people. Normally it’s kept under control by the other bacteria and microorganisms on your skin. Rather than worrying too much how you got it, work on getting it treated with natural tea tree oil. Then later, think about how you can prevent it from happening again.
Hot and humid weather will also trigger jock itch. It can be frustrating if you want to head to the local beach, but can’t wear your swim shorts because the infection may be spreading up your stomach or down your legs.
Even sitting for long lengths of time can cause jock itch to develop, particularly if you’re working in a hot humid environment without air conditioning.
Most men who get jock itch will want to have it treated immediately. If it’s not treated, it can actually spread to the buttocks and down the legs. The friction from clothing can also make it feel much worse.
Generally, the fungal infection isn’t harmless, beyond the discomfort and unsightliness. If you’ve visited a doctor before, they’ll prescribe an antibiotic ointment which may be expensive. These ointments can also kill off the good bacteria and microorganisms on your skin, leading it susceptible to other types of skin infections that are more serious.
Many men are interested in treating their jock itch with a safer and more natural product, such as tea tree oil. Topical antibiotics cannot be used for longer lengths of time. But you can safely use tea tree oil as an effective jock itch treatment. It also works as but a preventative too.
Most people have heard of tea tree oil, but it’s usage continues to become more popular as people steer away from the prescription medications.
What Is Tea Tree Oil?
Tea tree oil is a type of essential oil that is used to treat various skin conditions on people. The essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the tea tree plant called Melaleuca alternifolia. It shouldn’t be mixed up with tea seed oil which is pressed from Camellia seeds.
The Melaleuca alternifolia is a tree with small green leaves. It grows in New South Wales and southeast Queensland in Australia. There aren’t many parts of the world that grow this plant, but the oil is still generally affordable. A small bottle will last a long time and can treat many different skin conditions.
It’s usually just called tea tree oil, rather than tea tree essential oil, but you may see some references to ti tree oil or melaleuca oil which are basically the same thing.
Tea tree oil is generally not used for its aromatic properties, but rather more for its healing properties for the skin. The oil has a sharp camphor-like smell with a clear or pale yellow colour. It’s sold in small amber-coloured bottles from almost anywhere that sells essential oils.
Why Is Tea Tree Oil Effective for Jock Itch?
Tea tree oil is effective for treating jock itch because it contains compounds that have strong antifungal properties. It’s a natural antiseptic and germicide. It will help to kill the fungus that causes jock itch on your skin. It will also help to reduce that annoying itchiness while the infection is healing, and help to stop the inflammation on the skin that results.
There have been tests done of various concentrations of tea tree oil that provide antifungal activity that naturally kills the fungus that causes jock itch.
Tea tree oil has over 98 different compounds. The highest concentration is of terminen-4-ol at up to 48%. It also contains other terpinenes, cineole, pinene and cymene. These compounds are effective at killing bacteria and microorganisms that live on the skin and cause bad skin conditions.
Tea tree oil is not only effective on jock itch, but other fungus that lead to skin infections, including dandruff on the scalp, and Candida that also affects the groin, and athlete’s feet.
Tea tree oil has been proven effective in treating viral skin infections, such as warts or cold sores, and also bacterial infections.
The oil absorbs nicely into the skin and dries quickly without leaving behind a greasy residue.
Tea tree oil is good to keep in the first aid kit. It can be used instead of antibiotic ointment to treat minor cuts, scratches, and scrapes.
How Do I Use Tea Tree Oil to Treat Jock Itch?
Tea tree oil needs to be applied directly to the affected part of the skin. It’s actually toxic if ingested. It can cause upset stomach and vomiting. It should not be near the eyes, nose, ears, or nostrils, but can be applied to other parts of the face.
Tea tree oil is actually one of the ingredients in many OTC—over the counter antifungal remedies today. But it can easily be purchased OTC from most pharmacies, supermarkets, and online.
A few drops of the oil can be poured onto a cotton puff and then rubbed into the affected regions of the groin.
The oil may sting a bit, particularly if the skin infection is raised and extremely red, but this is a sign that it’s doing its job. The stinging will disappear after a few seconds.
Some men may prefer to use a carrier oil, such as coconut oil. Three to four drops of the oil can be mixed with 5 ml of coconut oil in a small bowl. This oil can then be rubbed onto the affected region with a cotton puff.
There are also healing compounds within the coconut oil that will help to speed healing. If you find that tea tree oil is stinging and burning your skin, then try it with coconut oil. Other carrier oils to try can include jojoba, sweet almond oil, or olive oil.
If you find that coconut oil is too greasy, you can try jojoba oil which absorbs well into the skin. You may also wish to pour a few drops of tea tree oil into a small bottle mixed with your favourite shower gel.
Be sure to use a cotton puff to apply it to your skin, rather than your fingers, as you don’t want to risk transferring the infection to your hands, then another part of your body. You should wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis, particularly after bathroom breaks.
If you enjoy baths, you don’t want the water to be too hot, as this can encourage your fungal infection to grow. You can pour a few drops of the oil into your bathwater, which provides an all-over benefit for your skin. It’ll also help to prevent the spread of the infection.
Be sure to apply the oil at least twice a day and up to three times a day for maximum benefit.
If you don’t currently have jock itch but know you’ll suffer it for the hot summer ahead, once a day apply a few drops of tea tree oil mixed with your favourite carrier oil. This helps to prevent Tinea cruris from growing on your skin.
Other Ways to Prevent Jock Itch
There are ways to avoid getting jock itch in the future.
- Always towel off properly after bathing with soap and water.
- Use towels only once before tossing in the washing machine.
- Shower at least once a day or after strenuous physical activities.
- There are natural powders you can buy that keep the groin region dry.
- Wear cotton underwear that allows the skin to breathe. Linen and bamboo are also good for air and moisture permeability.
- Put on clean clothes every morning.
- Never use other people’s towels or wear their clothing.
- Be careful that no one else touches your clothing or wears it.
- Avoid transferring the fungal affection to your partner.
- Avoid scratching as this can make make your skin infection feel worse.
- Wear loose fitting underwear.
- Wash your athletic supporters frequently or buy extra so you always have a clean one handy.
- Avoid heavily perfumed fabric softeners or laundry detergents as these can increase the itching and irritation.
- Be sure to treat other skin infections you may have so you don’t transfer any to your groin region.
- Audit your diet. If you’re eating too much sugar, alcohol, or carbohydrates, switch to more fruits and vegetables. Fungal infections thrive on sugars.
- Mix apple cider vinegar with equal amounts of water and use it as a cooling spray. Keep it in the fridge.
Precautions When Using Tea Tree Oil
You should be aware that tea tree oil is suitable for many skin conditions, but occasionally it doesn’t work for everyone. You may also have a stubborn infection that does require antibiotics.
- If your infection worsens, it may not be jock itch, it could be another type of infection.
- Visit a doctor if your infection doesn’t clear up in two weeks with treatment, as it can lead to a staph or MRSA skin infection that is serious for the health.
- If the tea tree oil only seems to worsen the infection, discontinue use.
- You can have more than one skin infection at a time. You’ll need to visit a doctor for advice.
- Tea tree oil is toxic if taken internally. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
- Do not use tea tree oil on young children, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Ensure you purchase a high-quality trusted brand of tea tree oil.
Final Thoughts on Using Tea Tree Oil for Jock Itch
Tea tree oil is a simple and natural remedy for treating jock itch. This fungal infection is something that’s going to affect most men at least some point in their lifetimes. Jock itch is extremely common. It might be an embarrassing condition, but is simple to cure with a few drops of tea tree oil mixed with carrier oil at least twice a day.
Don’t suffer an irritating jock itch condition. Start your treatment immediately. Soon your jock itch will be gone and you’ll have a happy life without distraction.