How do I get this scabby dry skin to heal?
April 23, 2008 1:48 PM   Subscribe

How do I get this scabby dry skin to heal? Anon because it's in my groin and itches like hell...

For the last five years I've had the same patch of skin which is very dry and itchy. I regularally end up scratching it so much it bleeds. Even at it's very best it has a couple of minor scabs on it.

I've seen a couple of doctors and they've both told me that it's a sweat rash. They've given me cream (that doesn't work) and packed me on my way. I'd tend to believe them because the only time it's ever really been comfortable was on holiday - two weeks of wearing swim shorts, lying in very dry heat and dipping in the pool. It doesn't move around or grow, it just exists.

Diagnostically I think I'm sorted.

So I'm turning to you guys because I want to clear it up. Doctors seem unable to help, can you? I know YANMD, and I'll take any type of answer you throw at me...

Creams (like Lush's grapeseed based Cosmetic Lad) ease the itch but not enough to hel me heal. Talc helps a lot, but only for very short periods. Petrolium jelly type things make up feel uncomfortable.

What else can I try?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Balmex and commando. My son got crazy, crazy diaper rash just from sweat and heat, the same kind of rash you're describing. And what we had to do was cream up the rash while it was still moist, and let him go without diaper or underpants as often as possible.

Since adults don't get to walk around bareass as much as toddlers do, I would suggest very loose, breathable boxers, and very loose pants whenever you must be dressed, and nothing or perhaps loose jam shorts with no underwear when you have more latitude.

Wash the area well with a gentle soap, dry it well- don't leave it humid. When it's not actively rashy, use Gold Bond or non-talc powder to keep it dry and free of friction.
posted by headspace at 1:59 PM on April 23, 2008

Yeah, I hate to tell you but you've basically got yourself a stubborn case of diaper rash.

I'll make three recommendations that we use on my toddler son: 1) let the area air out as much as possible (can you sleep naked?); 2) plain old garden variety cornstarch applied to the area a few times per day; 3) Boudreaux's Butt Paste
posted by anastasiav at 2:02 PM on April 23, 2008

Try Cortizone10. Apply it once in the morning right after a shower and once at night before bed. Give it a week, maybe less, and don't stop if you don't get results right away. I had similar symptoms and this worked well for me after more than a year of trying various creams and lotions and whatnot.
posted by joshrholloway at 2:05 PM on April 23, 2008

Barrier cream? Recommended to me by a doc for a similar rash, it's also used for diaper rash. It basically coats the infected area with a silicone, taking away the both the itch and provides a barrier to other things that might be irritating the rash. It's not as thick at petroleum cream.
posted by cgg at 2:05 PM on April 23, 2008

Are you overweight? Losing weight might help. I got this sort of problem when living in a warm climate (it was terrible terrible terrible case of painful jock itch) and the doctor told me I was too fat (which I was). I went back to Canada for a visit and the doctor gave me cortisone, which solved the problem in about 24 hours.

Zinc cream also helped me out a lot.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:26 PM on April 23, 2008

I would recommend Aloe Vera. Not the shitty stuff they sell in rite aid but something like Lilly of the Desert Aloe Vera Gelly.
posted by saxamo at 2:29 PM on April 23, 2008

A very basic, very low-impact way to approach some skin rashes is that if they are in places normally hit by the sun, keep them covered and lotioned; if they are in places normally kept out of the sun, try exposing them to the sun every day. (I originally picked this up from Where There Is No Doctor (free pdf download); see ch. 15 in general and p. 195 in particular.) This approach has worked really well for me several times, though it is not a cure-all by any means.

This is why your rash did so well on that vacation, I think. If you aren't living in a place where you can get your crotch suntanned easily, you can try things like going commando, swimming in chlorinated pools, etc. But sunlight does good things in moderation, so if you have any good way to sprawl out in the sunlight, give it a try. (I don't know if a tanning bed would be the same or not, but it might be worth a try.) Do be careful not to give yourself a sunburn, as that will make walking (and sitting and sex and more) miserable for more than a week or so someone told me.

If you do go the lotion route and you have sensitive skin, Aveeno and Eucerin sell a variety of products that don't give sensitive-skinned people more rashes than they started with.
posted by Forktine at 2:37 PM on April 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

Just air it out.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:15 PM on April 23, 2008

Sounds like you might have ringworm. Get yourself some lamisil.
posted by kenzi23 at 3:30 PM on April 23, 2008

For what it's worth, since everyone else has equated it to diaper rash, the best ointment I ever used for diaper rash was the Lansinoh I got for dry, chapped nipples from breastfeeding. It works well on dry skin in general, I've found. Just don't use it if you're allergic to wool (or vegan).
posted by Cricket at 3:33 PM on April 23, 2008

Well, which is more uncomfortable, the petroleum jelly or the rash? Because I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's whatcha need. When I get horribly dry and itchy (either from chlorine or just because I'm living at 4500 feet) the only real way to settle it is to rub it with Bag Balm (half petroleum jelly, half lanolin, 0.3% 8-hydroxy quinoline sulfate). Put it on before bed, sleep in it, shower off in the morning, feel relief for days at a time.

Yes, it's a friggin dairy ointment. Sometimes you gotta bite the bullet. Bag Balm: Strong enough for a man, pH balanced for cows.
posted by eritain at 9:40 PM on April 23, 2008

I gotta second the Boudreaux's Butt Paste, sunshine on the privates and commando (or at least, loose boxers and baggy pants).
I know cooks who use Boudreaux's Butt Paste on the rashes that come with that job. Heat, moisture and long pants are not a recipe for comfort.
posted by Seamus at 10:55 PM on April 23, 2008

are you under stress and do you get enough sleep?
just a question, because skin type issuesare usually exacerbated by lack of sleep, or by stress
posted by edtut at 1:17 AM on April 24, 2008

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