Skin fungus is extremely common, especially in the hot, humid summer months. Warm, dark places are particularly susceptible to fungus. But it’s possible to develop athlete’s foot, ringworm, and other itchy, unpleasant conditions at any time of year. They’re contagious and spread on the floors of wet gym showers, at nail salons, or from contact with infected skin. An ounce of prevention goes a long way, so consider taking a pair of flip-flops along on your next visit to the gym shower. But no matter how ubiquitous the fungus, there are remedies to try if you wind up with the telltale itch.
My husband suffered from jock itch for a long time. He would use medicine to clear it up, but it always returned. Then he tried applying antiperspirant to the affected areas daily. This solved the problem.
Jock itch is caused by a fungus that thrives in moist areas. The antiperspirant probably keeps his skin dry and discourages fungal growth.
I have been plagued with jock itch for weeks and had tried a couple of OTC creams with little success. I was getting ready to see my dermatologist when I read about using Listerine for jock itch, athlete’s foot, and other fungal infections. Listerine has now cleared the problem up in a couple of days. It stings for a minute or two when first applied, but it isn’t that bad and it really worked.
The herbal oils in the original formula Listerine include eucalyptol, menthol, and thymol. There is some evidence that these herbal extracts in combination may have antifungal properties.
MILK OF MAGNESIA
A friend who is an internist recommended a mixture of milk of magnesia (MoM) and Lotrimin AF to combat seborrheic dermatitis on my face and the backs of my ears. She suggested mixing roughly half a 12-ounce bottle of MoM with a whole tube of the Lotrimin AF cream. The first application certainly had a positive effect on my skin. I did not follow through as I should have, so I don’t know how well it works in the long term. Have you ever heard of this remedy?
We could find no research on this intriguing remedy for seborrheic dermatitis. This skin condition is characterized by itching, flaking, scales, and redness. It frequently occurs on the scalp as superdandruff or even on the eyebrows, on the forehead, around the nose, or on the chin. This condition appears to be an inflammatory response to fungi that belong to the genus Malassezia and are known as yeast. Dermatologists frequently treat this problem with antifungal creams (such as clotrimazole, the active ingredient in Lotrimin AF). Topical steroid creams such as hydrocortisone are also used. Dandruff shampoos containing ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, or zinc pyrithione can be helpful. Readers claim that applying milk of magnesia to the armpits is a gentle and effective way to reduce sweating and odor. Perhaps the drying effect and alkalinity of MoM together with the antifungal activity of Lotrimin AF discourage yeast belonging to the genus Malassezia.
I have been using milk of magnesia on my face for the past two months since reading about it in your column. My face flakes are gone! I pour it in my hand and massage it on my face—forehead, eyebrows, and around the eyes, nose, cheeks, and chin—while showering. Then I rinse it off at the end of the shower. It’s a great, cost-effective alternative to expensive Nizoral, and it works better.
A reader told us that a doctor suggested a topical mixture of milk of magnesia and Lotrimin AF for seborrheic dermatitis.
Source Credits: Joe Graedon & Terry Graedon, The People’s Pharmacy: Quick & Handy Home Remedies, published by National Geographic