Q. Dear Gear Guy. My friends and I do a lot of swimming in saltwater in the summer, and a common problem we have is the infamous itchy groin. Is there a solution?
— Itchy Ian, Baltimore, Md.
A. Hey Ian, I love the ocean myself, so I know all about that infamous itchy groin. As I see it, there are a couple things going on that are making you and your buddies itchy.
First off, when you swim around and play in the waves your thighs are rubbing against each other and the material of your swim trunks causing irritation. Add in little bits of sand and the tiny salt crystals that collect on your trunks and you’ve got something like sandpaper rubbing your skin raw.
To make matters worse you’re probably hanging around the beach all day in soggy swim trunks that never quite have a chance to dry. So that’s where all the irritation and itchiness probably comes from.
Once the itchiness sets in, there are a few things you can do to soothe your skin. First, get dry. Put on a fresh pair of underwear and a dry pair of shorts. Next, get a handful of baby powder and cover your whole crotch/groin area. This will help keep things dry down there. If your inner thighs are so raw that it’s uncomfortable to walk, rub some petroleum jelly or even diaper rash cream on the raw spots. That stuff helps reduce the skin-on-skin friction.
As for preventing the itchiness and irritation in the first place, after your day at the beach make sure you rinse out your trunks really well (inside and out) with fresh water, then hang them to dry. This will help remove all those little salt crystals that build up in the fabric. Do that stuff and you’ll probably be free of itchiness and irritation all summer long!