Should I Be Moisturizing My You-Know-What?

A dermatologist explains why moisturizing your nether region could lead to itchiness in all the wrong places.

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Men aren’t strangers to “moisturizing” their privates, even though, admittedly, silky-smooth skin isn’t normally the first thing on our minds when we reach for that lotion. But should we be moisturizing down there to keep our skin healthy? According to dermatologist Lisa Chipps, the answer is no.

“Generally speaking, those areas are plenty moist on their own,” she explains. “And I would caution men not to over-moisturize their creases and crevices because that can create a nice environment for a fungus, like jock itch, to grow.” That’s why, rather than moisturizing your genitals, your butt crack or the space in between, you want to do the exact opposite, especially if it’s noticeably moist: Apply talcum powder to soak up any excess moisture, use a zinc oxide cream to soothe any irritation or redness and, of course, change your underwear frequently.

On the flip side, there are skin conditions — things like psoriasis or eczema — that can cause dryness downstairs, but Chipps recommends visiting a dermatologist before taking action against it. Her personal recommendation would be as follows: “If there’s a dry spot down there and you were to use a moisturizer, I would suggest using something very bland — something that doesn’t have any perfume or potential allergens in it because that skin is very sensitive.” A moisturizer that’s too thick or potent, then, may just exacerbate the problem.

That said, don’t worry: The occasional “moisturizing” (the kind that also requires tissues) won’t do your private places any harm. Just be sure to mop up the excess.