Tinea Cruris (Jock Itch)

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Jock itch, or tinea cruris, is a very common fungal infection that affects the groin, genitals, inner thighs and/or the buttocks. It often appears as a scaly rash which can make the affected area burn or itch. This is a very common contagious superficial infection which is fortunately easy to treat.


Tinea cruris is caused by a variety of fungi. These are the same fungi that can cause athlete’s foot, ringworm, and toenail fungus.

This infection is easily picked up from many locations, and can stem from multiple sources (athlete’s foot, jock itch, etc.). Fungi like to grow in damp, closed spaces, which is why it occurs in hot sweaty locations like the groin.


Tinea cruris can often be diagnosed via physical exam by a physician. Laboratory testing with an in-office rapid KOH preparation or fungal culture can be performed for confirmation. Application of an anti-fungal agent to the skin before such a test can produce a false-negative result, so be sure to inform your physician about recent treatments.

Most often, topical treatments are used to treat tinea cruris. These are available in over-the-counter and prescription sprays, powders, lotions, creams and gels. In severe cases, an oral antifungal agent may be prescribed by a physician.

OTC Treatment Options

OTC Treatment


Lamisil AT Antifungal Cream


Lotrimin Ultra Cream (butenafine)

Tolnafate 1% cream

Miconazole 2% cream

Clotrimazole 1% cream


Wash the affected area & dry completely before applying antifungal cream. Apply twice per day until improvement is noted. Wash hands after application to avoid spread of fungal infection to other locations. Be sure to apply for a minimum of two weeks, but no longer than 4 weeks if not improved. If your symptoms do not improve after 2 weeks of treatment or have not gone away after 4 weeks of treatment, call your physician.

OTC Tips

There are several precautions that one can take to minimize the chance of contracting jock itch. Most importantly, keep the area dry. Thoroughly dry groin after bathing. Do not stay in sweaty underwear or clothing after working out.

Alternative & Complimentary Treatments

Puriya Wonder Balm (Tea tree & other oils)
FineVine Super Balm (Tea tree & other oils)

Evidence regarding efficacy of tea tree oil is limited. While tea tree oil may work well for some individuals, studies show that they are not as effective as more traditional treatments such as terbinafine or clotrimazole.

Following these regimens should completely clear your fungal groin infection. If after 2-4 weeks you do not see any improvement, it is important to follow up with your dermatologist. Other rashes in the groin can mimic jock itch, and your doctor can check for the presence of fungus with a simple in office test. Your doctor can prescribe prescription strength topicals or sometimes, for more severe cases, an oral antifungal agent to clear your infection.

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