With “private itching” we are referring to any type of itching that’s embarrassing to scratch. It could be “irritant dermatitis” in the axillae (underarms), or under the breasts. But most often we are talking about the groin creases, the perianal area, or the genital areas. Genital itching in men is best diagnosed by a Dermatologist. Psoriasis causing rash on the penis and Atopic dermatitis causing itching on the scrotum are both very common.
Vaginal Itch Relief: First Steps
Vaginal itching must first be evaluated by providers in Family Practice and Gynecology for infections. Vaginal dryness, STDs, and bacterial and yeast infections must first be ruled out as contributing to itching. When itching persists, a dermatologist can help with skin testing for allergies to hygiene products, and evaluation for contribution of eczema and psoriasis. Some products for vaginal itching contain 20% Benzocaine. This is simply “numbing medicine” and does not treat the cause. It’s also the most likely product to cause a new allergy to Benzocaine. Dermatology providers also frequently treat with oral medication when yeast overgrowth appears to be contributing itching.
SmartLotion® is a product designed for normalizing the barrier functions of cutaneous skin. It’s not for treating mucous membrane skin like the vagina and inside the mouth. By itself it would be too stinging for the vaginal membranes. It can be mixed in the palm with white petrolatum, and carefully applied to outer mucous membrane skin, for itching.
Private Itching: Recovery Options
The first thing Dr. Harlan does for Private itching is to eliminate excessive bathing with hot water and strong soaps and liquid cleansers. Hot water feels good briefly, but it does break down the skin’s barrier and contributes to dryness and itching later. Products with fragrances should be eliminated, at least at first. Liquid cleansers, shampoos, and conditioners often contain a preservative known as either Methylisothiazolinone MI, or Methylchloroisothiazolinone MCI. This preservative is often part of the itching problem and should be avoided by reading labels. One can also Google: products free of MI and MCI. When there are signs indicating an allergic contact dermatitis ACD), a Patch Test Allergy Series can be done by the Dermatology provider for Fragrance allergy and other chemicals and metals. Gold or nickel from rings can get into reusable products and cause allergic itching in only the most sensitive skin areas.
The signs indicating Atopic eczema or psoriasis involving Private skin, can be identified by a good Dermatology provider. After Irritant dermatitis, by far the most common cause for Private itching is Atopic dermatitis or Atopic eczema. Eczema causing Private itching Is sometimes flared by yeast overgrowth with Candida, or overgrowth of Staph bacteria. A healthy skin barrier and a healthy skin microbiome is the best defense for these overgrowth problems contributing to itching.
SmartLotion® and Private Itching: Long Term Treatment
There is no better product for treating itching in Private skin areas than SmartLotion®. It was named Smart because of it’s universal versatility and safety. When Dr. Harlan’s patients are using products to prevent yeast overgrowth, like topical Nystatin, Miconazole, or Ketoconazole and still experiencing itching, burning, and redness on thin sensitive skin, there is nothing better to add to the program. Over the years Dr. Harlan has followed hundreds of patients who struggled with Private rash and itching that never cleared until SmartLotion® was added.
For itching that is triggered by heat, perspiration, body fluids, or a person’s weight, the use of strong topical prescription steroids are not helpful. They’re not safe for using for prevention, because they thin the skin. These heat/moisture issues cannot be totally prevented, and therapy must be safe and effective for long-term prevention of itching and rash. With a Dermatologist provider’s supervision, SmartLotion® can be used along with small amounts of and antifungal like Miconazole or Ketoconazole cream for the long-term prevention of Irritant dermatitis and eczema. After using the products twice daily until clearing is achieved, Dr. Harlan’s patients reduce the SmartLotion® to once daily, and then three times a week for prevention. Once daily is needed sometimes for prevention and supervised patients may do this.
There is nothing more gratifying to a dermatologist than when patients tell them: “I thought nothing would ever help, and you changed my life for the better.”
SmartLotion® Success Stories to Support Private Area Itching Relief
Here are common stories from Dr. Harlan’s Practice that were positively impacted when SmartLotion® was used strategically:
Men with shaving rashes on the neck that sting look ugly and attract attention. SmartLotion® used after shaving or at bedtime clears it up and prevents re-flaring.
Women who suffered from red bumpy embarrassing shaving rashes of underarms and pubic area. With a hypoallergenic gentle cleansing program and SmartLotion® the itching and rash cleared and were prevented from re-flaring.
Vulvar itching related to Atopic eczema and urine leaks. SmartLotion® used two to four times daily for two weeks, and then a taper to once daily with supervision is used. When at home, icy cold compressing for 2 minutes is helpful, immediately after applying SmartLotion®. The most severe cases may need a brief course of oral Prednisone at first to “break” the itching. Skin biopsy should be considered on any area that looks clinically different or concerning.
Scrotum itching related to Atopic eczema flared by heat, perspiration, and urine leaks. Treatment is exactly the same as ibid, Vulvar itching strategy.
Perianal dermatitis itching. Often related to Atopic eczema. Often flared by spicy food, high sugar in the diet, and yeast overgrowth in the gut. Consider oral Nystatin strategy for reducing yeast in the gut and modifying diet. Then follow the same strategy as Vulvar itching and Scrotum itching. Gently re-cleanse the perianal skin two hours after any bowel movement because of delayed leakage and irritation.
Women and men with redness, itching, or burning under the breasts or the groin creases where heat and moisture are constantly a problem. Gentle cleansing daily with a small amount of bar Dove soap or a white bar Dial soap. Treat dryness or scaling with CeraVe® lotion, Curel® lotion, or Cetaphil® lotion. Apply SmartLotion® twice daily with or without a yeast antifungal product. Apply small amounts of any product so there is no sticky moisture. Taper strategies to once daily, or three times weekly with regular skin exams.
Penile rash with persistent redness. Immediate Dermatology exam to rule out skin cancer in uncircumcised men. Eczema or psoriasis of the penis triggered by friction from intercourse is common. Sometimes exposure to yeast overgrowth in the partner is a flaring factor. The foreskin must be retracted, and the skin cleansed with bar Dial soap or dilute vinegar soaks strategy, daily and after intercourse. Apply a small disappearing amount of SmartLotion® after cleansing. Once a proper diagnosis is made and yeast reduction strategies are in place, SmartLotion® works on both penile eczema and penile psoriasis in Dr. Harlan’s Practice. Close supervision is needed. After topical and local anesthesia, a small skin biopsy test should be considered in difficult or concerning cases.
“When it comes to Private Itching, there’s no substitute for a proper diagnosis at the Dermatology Clinic, and SmartLotion®.”
Steve Harlan, MD FAAD
Board Certified Dermatologist