What you need to know about Eczema on Your Genitals
If you are a man and you get eczema on your genitals, it is common for the symptoms to show up on your scrotum. This is the skin pouch that holds and protects your testicles.
What are the symptoms
When your eczema flares up, your scrotum skin can become red, sore, and itchy.
In general, eczema can also make the skin:
- Dry and sensitive
- Inflamed and discolored
- Rough, leathery, or scaly
- Cloudy or crusty
Some people with this condition have all of these symptoms. Some only have a few. Treatment can help make them go away and keep your eczema at bay.
What are the triggers?
Lots of things touching or getting on your scrotum can trigger your symptoms. Some triggers are:
- Tight clothes
- foam bath
- Certain detergents
- Dryer sheets
- Some shower gels
- Talc powder
- Moist toilet tissues
- After shave
- Hemorrhoid preparations
Not everyone has the same triggers. Once you’ve learned yours, you can avoid them.
How is it diagnosed?
A dermatologist can usually find out if you have eczema by examining your skin and asking about your symptoms.
They might ask you questions like:
- Does any of your blood relatives have eczema, asthma or hay fever?
- What are your symptoms
- When did you start getting them?
If they need more information or think it might be something else, they can take other exams, such as:
What are the treatments?
Your dermatologist can prescribe medication to help get rid of eczema on your genitals.
Steroids are the most common treatment for eczema on your genitals. However, if you use it excessively, you can thin your skin and that can lead to bruising and cracking, says Steve Daveluy, MD, associate professor and program director at Wayne State University in Michigan.
Your dermatologist can also recommend medications called topical calcineurin inhibitors. They don’t have the same side effects as steroids – for example, they don’t thin the skin – so they’re safe to use on the genitals, says Daveluy. They can sting a bit at first, and getting your insurance to cover it could be a hurdle, he says.
Wash your hands before and after using topical medicines that you apply to your skin. And if you’re using creams or emollients from a jar, scoop them up with a clean spoon. Sticking your hands in and out of the jar after applying it to your scrotum can increase your risk of infection.
If you have itching that keeps you up at night, ask your doctor if an antihistamine might help you fall asleep.
Can Home Remedies Help?
Yes. Some ways to relieve itching include:
Moisturize daily. That’s a must, says Daveluy. Choose a moisturizer that doesn’t have many perfumes and fragrances that can irritate the skin. Find one that you like and use it at least once a day, he says.
Cold. Lots of scratching and rubbing can damage the skin, so use an ice pack or bag of frozen peas to relieve the itching. You can apply it directly to your skin for a few seconds, says Daveluy. If you want to use it longer, wrap it in a clean towel or cloth first, he adds.
Shop safely. Don’t use over-the-counter products for your groin without speaking to your dermatologist first. Many OTC products contain ingredients that can irritate eczema, says Daveluy.
- Buy simple bleach – not concentrated. It should have a regular strength (6%).
- Use 1/2 cup bleach for a full bathtub of water, 1/4 cup bleach for half a tub of water, and 1 teaspoon of bleach per quart of water for a baby or toddler bathtub.
- Measure it first, then pour it into the running water as the tub fills. Use lukewarm water – hot water can dry out your skin and make your eczema flare up. And never apply bleach directly to your skin.
- When getting in, soak only from the neck down – do not immerse your head in the bath water.
- Stay in the tub for 5 to 10 minutes or ask your dermatologist how long they would recommend.
- After getting out of the shower, rinse with lukewarm water. Pat yourself dry with a towel.
- If you are using eczema medication, apply it right after, then use a moisturizer.
Try an oatmeal bath. This can also help relieve the itchiness. Here’s what to do:
- Buy colloidal oatmeal. You can usually find it in stores that sell health and beauty items.
- Put some oatmeal in running, lukewarm bath water.
- Soak for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Pat yourself dry, but keep your eczema-affected skin slightly damp.
- Apply your medication, then moisten it.
- The oatmeal can also make the bottom of the bathtub slippery, so be careful when climbing out.
- Don’t eat the oatmeal.
What else am I supposed to do?
Wash wisely. While keeping your genitals clean is important, washing your scrotum too often can irritate the skin, especially if you use abrasive sponges or washcloths. Wash gently there and use a mild, fragrance-free cleanser as bars of soaps could irritate your skin.
Also avoid other products that could dry out or irritate, such as:
- Antiseptic washes
- Wet wipes
- foam bath
Shampoo can also cause irritation if it gets on your scrotum. One way to get around this is to buy a shampoo that bears the National Eczema Association’s seal of approval. If you can’t find one, apply moisturizer to your scrotum before washing your hair. Rinse it off after rinsing your hair.
And when you do the laundry, use eczema-friendly detergents that have the NEA seal of approval. Also buy products that are labeled as “fragrance-free” rather than “fragrance-free”. Unscented simply means that it has a scent that you cannot smell.
Thank You For Reading!