While your nether regions aren’t on public display nearly as often as your perfectly groomed mug (we hope), it’s still imperative—for your health, and for your partner’s ego—that you keep everything down there clean and healthy. Because your junk spends most of the day in the dark, and because moisture so easily accumulates in this area, it’s all at greater risk for infection (not to mention nastiness).
Here are the best ways to keep your man parts presentable… even if only for you.
First, develop a grooming regimen for your junk:
Washing: You’re remiss not to shower—did we really have to tell you that? Give everything a scrubdown with a nourishing, mild soap or body wash. “Wash the area daily, and after working out,” says New York-based dermatologist Anthony M. Rossi, M.D. “This helps prevent bacterial and fungal skin infections that can happen.” We recommend something like Old Spice Odor Blocker Bodywash, which kills odor-causing bacteria and prevents musky smells from accumulating for the next 16 hours.
Powders: Then, as you get dressed, sprinkle some moisture-wicking body powder into your drawers, and evenly distribute it around your business, even down there between the legs. Jack Black’s Dry Down Friction-Free Powder keeps your skin soft as it soaks up any sweat. It also prevents chafing throughout the day, and during workouts. (It also smells freaking great.)
Creams: As an alternative to powder, you can invest in a soothing cream, like the aptly named Fresh Balls Lotion for Men which is less cumbersome to apply than powder, and dries with a cooling tingle. It’s talc- and aluminum-free, so it keeps everything dry without putting any potentially harmful ingredients into your body. Rossi’s favorite topical creams have zinc oxide, which he says is “a great barrier paste that prevents chafing and irritation” by settling in the folds of the skin to block yeast and bacteria buildup. Try Mayron’s Goods Junk Stuff for that—it also doubles as a healing cream for existing chafing and irritation.
Manscaping: Lastly, keep things trim. Some guys like to remove all their hair, but that’s not necessary. Instead, just trim the area with an electric clipper, to minimize the amount of moisture that gets trapped by the hairs. If you choose to shave all the way down, Rossi warns, you run the risk of shaving over infected skin or using a blade that has accumulated bacteria. In either scenario, you can infect the hair follicle; folliculitis is painful, so it’s imperative to keep the area clean, and to only manscape with a fresh razor.
Equip yourself with the right underwear
You can’t go wrong with cotton. It’s the most breathable fabric, and if you’re taking the aforementioned preventative measures, you should already be less prone to any swampy buildu, since cotton easily absorbs and holds sweat. Rossi suggests finding a good cotton-polyester blend, since polyester helps migrate any moisture to the outside of the fabric, allowing it to evaporate. A brand like Saxx is ideal: Their underwear is made with comfy pima cotton along with stretchy spandex and polyester; plus, SAXX’s unique “Ballpark pouch” panels act like dividers for your junk and your legs, providing the perfect combo of breathability, form-fitting comfort, and architecture (read: room for your balls).
But even if you take preventative measures, you might still get sweaty during the day. For some guys, simply sitting for a few hours can cause things to get swampy. Solution? Pack an extra pair of underwear in your work bag. Sure, it seems excessive, but sitting in your own filth all day is akin to skipping a shower after a workout and letting everything fester—it’s a recipe for a fungal infection.
If you get jock itch:
Rossi suggests over-the-counter anti-fungal solutions like Terbinafine (laminal) creams, or Lotrimin. They should remedy the situation in a few days. (Many athlete’s foot creams are also effective against jock itch; they’re both fungal infections.)
“Of course, any rash that is not clearing up or improving should be seen by your dermatologist,” Rossi adds. “Not all rashes in the groin are jock itch. Some can be cancerous.” So, if things aren’t fixed quickly, discontinue the anti-fungal cream and talk to your doctor.