We’ve conducted a lot of surveys with our DSC members over the years, asking you guys pretty much anything and everything. But the above results, showing what men use to “stay fresh downstairs,” made us want to investigate further — particularly on behalf of the five percent who are spraying cologne on their nethers (why?). We spoke to dermatologist Anthony Rossi to see what he thought of the results.*
First up, no — you really should not be using cologne down there. “Cologne is not necessarily harmful, but it can be irritating because of the alcohol content,” says Rossi. “Therefore I don’t recommend spraying it on the penis.” So now you know. Rossi is equally down on anti-perspirants in that region: “We don’t normally recommend antiperspirant in the groin area due to the sensitivity of the skin in the inguinal and penile area,” he says. “If someone has sweating or moisture, I usually recommend a barrier cream like zinc oxide paste.”
Even talcum powder (or baby powder) isn’t ideal, according to Rossi. “There has been some concern over breathing in talcum powder recently,” he says, citing a study that claims there is a possible link between accidentally inhaling the powder and lung cancer (the same study suggests that for women, use of talc has even been linked to ovarian cancer). Of everything on this list, Rossi says that moist wipes, used throughout the day, are your best option for freshening up.
So what about the 58 percent who do nothing to maintain a fresh groin area, outside of their (hopefully) daily shower? If you’re not experiencing any rashes, fungal infections or excess sweating, then you’re fine to keep leaving your bits to their own devices. “Wash the area daily with mild soap and water, and keep the area cool and dry, as moisture can cause more fungus or bacteria to grow,” advises Rossi. “A change of underwear is always useful too, so I tell guys to bring some in their gym bag.”
If you do start seeing problems, be sure treat them with the proper medication (i.e., not cologne). “Using barrier creams in the skin folds will help prevent bacterial or yeast overgrowth, as well as prevent irritation,” says Rossi. “If you have jock itch, antifungal powders will help to fight the topical fungal infection, as well as keeping it dry.”
As for the “other solution” that 23 percent of the guys we asked reported using — we kinda want to know what it is, but also, we really kinda don’t.
* You may notice this chart does not add up to 100 percent. This is because participants were able to check more than one option, so the results added up to more than 100. Math!