It’s always uncomfortable to talk about Staph and Tinea Cruris (Jock Itch).  Both are conditions that are, unfortunately, very common in the life of a gym goer or fitness fanatic.  While they are often exaggerated in severity, the embarrassment and pain that go along with it are very real.  I’ve had had the pleasure of experiencing these nasty infections two separate times.  On one occasion, I caught both at the same time, which was extremely challenging to deal with.  During my time with the conditions, I tried basically every natural “cure” I could find online.  I visited a medical doctor on 4 separate occasions and ran cycles of a number of antibiotics.  In the end, I was able to get clean naturally, but finding the right combination of health, remedies, and hygiene wasn’t easy.  Because of my struggle with these conditions and lack of good information on the subject, I will cover my step by step strategy for ridding myself of both Staph and recurring Tinea.  I’ll outline what worked, what made it worse, and what didn’t do anything altogether.  I hope that someone else experiencing these same issues (please not simultaneously!) can find some help within this article.

The first piece is going to be about my experience and the progression of the diagnosis, treatment, etc.  I’ll talk about all of the products I tried and give links throughout the story.  However, if you’re looking for what actually worked, jump to the bottom.  I’ll also post pictures there so you can read this article comfortably without disgusting infection shots crowding your desktop screen while you read this at work or on your phone.  If that’s all you’re looking for, just jump there. 


Let’s take a step back to the Staph and Tinea Diagnosis

I enjoy riding my bike to and from work to save some bus far money occasionally. It’s a difficult 7 mile ride, given the terrain, and with a 14 mile round trip, it’s pretty intense for a bodybuilder who doesn’t do cardio often (like myself).  Anyways, the rides would look something like this.  Ride bike with tight compression shorts in roughly 61 Fahrenheit weather to work.  Shower. Change clothes. Work. Ride bus home. Walk to gym. Workout. Walk from gym 20 minutes. Shower not long after returning home.  I would try to skip the cycling on days I would workout just to make sure I had the strength to hit my targets.  There were occasions where I couldn’t get to the shower as quickly as normal, but since I’m not the sweatiest person, I didn’t feel concerned with my hygiene.

Fast forward about 4-5 months into riding the bike.  I’m dating a girl and would split time between our two houses.  I started noticing that I would get “itchy” when I was using her sheets.  At first, I attributed this to some new allergy (I’m not allergic to anything), but as the bumps and redness got worse, I realized this was something else and scheduled a doctors appointment to have it checked in a weeks time.  Because the pain was only a minor discomfort, I kept cycling and didn’t think anything of performing my normal daily routine.  During this time, 1 bump in particular on my hamstring had gotten more inflamed. It resembled a very irritated zit.  Little did I know that when I walked into the doctor’s office a week later, I would be diagnosed with both Tinea and Staph at the same time.

“That’s Jock Itch and that boil looks like Staph”, “I’ll need to drain it, take a sample, and see how antibiotic resistant it is”

Obviously, I was a little upset.  I’d heard tons of horror stories about “Staph” in the medical world.  A quick google search will definitely put you in a pessimistic mood.  In addition, with Tinea on board the infection train, I was now going to have an uncomfortable conversation with the girlfriend.  When the doctor diagnosed me they treated it like the most common thing in the world.  I’ll run you through the nitty gritty.  The doctor asked me to put on a robe and checked out the areas I had requested.  She very quickly said “That’s Jock Itch and that boil looks like Staph”, “I’ll need to drain it, take a sample, and see how antibiotic resistant it is”.   She went on to tell me that the Jock Itch probably contributed to the skin irritation that let in the Staph bacteria.  She then cleaned the infected area, pulled out a medical knife, made an incision and attempted to drain the puss from the infected hair follicle (Staph).  She put a happy little bandaid on and started writing up the prescriptions.  She gave me a very strong antibiotic (Clindamyacin I believe) which she told me to take twice daily until the bottle ran out.  Then she said I would need to apply Clotrimazole to the Jock Itch twice daily for 2 weeks.  Afterward, she gave me a nose topical anti-bacterial cream for MRSA in the nose.  She instructed me to put my clothes back on and promptly ushered me out the door without a chance for any more questions.

Antibiotics round 1

I’m sure all of you reading this article know the next step I took.  I immediately started scouring the hell out of the internet to find out what I was diagnosed with.  The jock itch didn’t freak me out as much as what I saw on MRSA.  On the way back, I called the pharmacy and scheduled my prescriptions for immediate pickup.  I began taking them that night. By the way, the jock itch cream I got at the pharmacy over the counter. I’ll talk more further down in the article on how I saved a ton of money on this cream as you’ll need a lot of it….

Luckily, the antibiotics had an immediate effect.  In almost 3-4 days I started to see the bumps go down very quickly.  However, I was already feeling the side effects of the drug.  I felt pretty weak and definitely not my usual self.  In addition, I felt “drawn out” from such a strong antibiotic.  My skin began to get crazy dry and other acne went away as well. I’m hypersensitive to most drugs so that might be why I feel it so strongly while others don’t notice any effect.  I was pretty confident this was going to knock this thing out, but I wasn’t going to take any chances. I hopped on Amazon and ordered a CLN sports wash to help after I went to the gym.  I got some Defense Soap just to try it out that touted success with Jock Itch and then I order Sudo Crem to keep everything nice and sterilized.  I also picked up some Hibiclens just in case, but I didn’t really use it much because I was worried about dangers with getting it in my eyes.  My doctor also recommended taking Jarrows pro-biotic in order to avoid issues with my digestive system.

“I’m pretty sure I eradicated just about every bit of bacteria on my body with this antibiotic regimen.”

This was basically the most anti-bacteria regimen you could have.  I’m pretty sure I eradicated just about every bit of it in and on my body while I was taking these antibiotics to my own detriment.  Along with taking the Clindamyacin, I would use the sports wash or soap at night after I got home from the gym.  Then I would apply some Sudo Crem directly on the bumps.  Even with this bacterial nuking that I was doing, after 2 weeks the progress stopped and a few bumps remained that I couldn’t get rid of.  My prescriptions ran out and all I had left was the Sports Wash and the Crem which I continued.  However, this is where things got worse…..

The Semi-Natural Way

The doctor called me after those two weeks to tell me that my Staph was not MRSA based on the lab tests.  This was great news because it meant my particular strain of Staph should respond as expected to the effects of the antibiotic I had been taking.  I then assumed that the remainder would disappear on its own with my body fighting the infection. I was feeling pretty good at this point and looked pretty clean in the spots that had previously been an issue.  I started getting back to my normal life and didn’t think much about it.  Then a week later, all hell broke loose again.

My uneducated health reasoning thinks that in the absence of all the good bacteria on my skin or in my body, the Tinea Cruris was able to thrive as well as the Staph when I stopped the antibiotics and cream.  The Tinea came raging back and was 2x as painful as the first go around.  In addition, I started noticing a few Staph like bumps on different parts of my body than before.  This was terrifying and a real killer to morale in that I had just put so much crap into my body to get rid of this thing and it was now almost worse than before.  I wasn’t able to go to the gym for fear that I would infect someone else.  I started working out from home and anxiously awaited my next doctor’s appointment.

In the meantime, I started researching alternatives to the washes and creams that I had used above.  I figured there had to be a more natural way to fight these infections and that perhaps, my strain of Staph was already immune to everything I had been using or became immune while I was taking them.  During my searching, I found out about the MRSA healing effects of Manuka Honey in Australian hospitals.  Warning: This stuff has to be a certain UMF.  I originally ordered some stuff that wasn’t officially certified on Amazon and it was total BS.  Make sure it’s certified by the organization in Australia that overseas Manuka Honey, otherwise, it’s basically normal honey.  The one I linked is registered. I also found out about Oregano Oil and Tea Tree oil and their ability to utterly destroy Staph when under a microscope. I started taking a vitamin form of Oregano and applying a small tab of Manuka combined with Tea Tree oil to the bumps at night.   I noticed some improvement to the bumps, but nothing significant, although it didn’t come with the nasty side effects of the antibiotics which I was thankful for.  During this time I also swapped my normal bodywash to something without fragrance and that was much easier on my skin.

Here’s one of the studies if you’re curious.  Basically, MRSA has a biofilm shield that stops most things from killing it.  Oregano Oil and other essential oils allegedly destroy the biofilm: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3346404/

Over the next 2-3 weeks I kept up this healthy regimen to little or no avail.  Perhaps I didn’t experience the benefit because I didn’t have the bacteria in my gut or skin to assist?  Regardless, I was going back to the doctor in roughly the same state.

Antibiotics round 2

Here we go again.  I walk into a different doctor and she tells me that I have Jock Itch and Staph still in the form of “Folliculitis”.  Essentially, my hair follicles are becoming inflamed because of Staph bacteria on my skin.  She prescribes me another antibiotic that my particular Staph is not resistant to, and walked me out the door.  I begin the next round of antibiotics and cream for the issue to the same effect as before.   This go around, I was still using a bit of the oil and vitamins to see if that would help.  Luckily, the antibiotics were far more minor than previously and I didn’t feel the side effects as strongly.  The folliculitis started to retreat and the Jock itch completely went away.  However, after the antiobitic ran out, the staph and jock itch flared back up slightly.

The TRUE natural way

Instead of wasting all that money and destroying the good and bad bacteria, I decided to try something a little different.

At this point, I’m so freaking tired of dumping my money down the drain on these two infections.  I’ve spent about $300-$400 dollars in over-the-counter treatments.  I’ve used a ton of essential oils and basically made my bathroom smell like an incense dungeon trying to rid myself of this stuff.  I’ve burned $100-$200 dollars on prescriptions that are harmful to my body and doctors telling me the same thing over and over again (I had to speak to the doctors 2 more times for clarification on what the heck was going on).

Instead of wasting all that money and destroying the good and bad bacteria, I decided to try something a little different.  In order to eradicate this, I felt that I may need to go full on health mode.  We’re talking no bad foods and completely replenishing the bacteria on and inside my body.  I also needed to be more diligent with my hygiene, but not overly clean myself with fragrance loaded deodorants, shampoos, soaps, and bodywashes.  I was going to try to go all natural.  I let the girlfriend know that she was in for a crazy ride.

Over the next few weeks, I eliminated all fragrance and “harmful” deodorants, shampoos, cleansers, laundry detergent, soaps, and more from my daily routine.  The only true prescription I kept from the doctor was the Clotrimazole because that stuff works. Fungal infections and Staph feed off sugar and the like so I opted to clean up my already clean diet.  I experimented with no-dairy, no animal products, and more to make these terrible infections go away for good.  I think the regimen would work even without the diet changes, but I know that they provide benefit even beyond my experiences with Staph and Tinea so adopt it if you have the will power!  Also, restaurants and processed foods are sold at a mark up from regular unprocessed foods.  People always claim organic foods are expensive, but my budget says otherwise.  I’ve saved on average $100-200 a month on groceries and eating out by switching over and cooking most of my meals.

The Regimen that worked

  1. AOBiome Spray
    • This is the most IMPORTANT PART OF MY REGIMEN. If you’re low on funds and looking for the basics, this is it (make sure you’re still following the hygiene portion below).  It’s a probiotic spray for your skin.  It’s backed by a company that’s using this product as clinical trials for Staph and other skin related issues.  The idea is that there is a bacteria that naturally lives on your skin and it’s getting destroyed by all the skin care products we use on a daily basis (including basic soaps, etc.).  This bacteria naturally fights Staph and other problems like Folliculitis and Skin Dermatitis.  It’s found on indigenous people from Africa and essentially all mammals.  It’s only disappeared from our civilization thanks to the introduction of our cleaning regimens.  If you want to do more research, the company that performs the clinical trials is AOBiome.  The company that sells the product is known as Mother Dirt which is their child company based on the research.  http://aobiome.com/
    • I used this twice daily on my armpits, groin, and legs.  Typically in the morning after a quick rinse off in the shower and then again IMMEDIATELY after my workout or as soon as I dried off from my post-workout shower.
  2. AOBiome Shampoo
    • I switched over to washing my hair only twice a week with cold water.  My hair feels better.  Takes a few weeks to get used to this as your scalp oils will kick into overdrive when they aren’t being stripped by a normal shampoo each week.  Eventually, it’ll calm down and you’ll only need it every few days.
  3. AOBiome Cleanser
    • I used this instead of body wash now.  I use about 4-5 pumps on sweaty areas.
  4. How to Not Die Book
    • During my research, I went through quite a few books and studies.  This is the one that stuck.  I was cruising a bookstore looking for any information on Staph that I could find.  This book touches on the 15 most common sources of death in the United States and their dietary causes.  The doctor and author of the book then goes on to explain how to practically change your diet without going overboard to get the benefits.  One chapter entirely is devoted to not dying from infections which obviously was relevant to my situation. What I liked the most is he backs up every just about every sentence with a reference to a solidly conducted study.  134 pages are just reserved for citations on his references.
  5. A new cookbook
    • I’m not the most experienced chef so I needed some good, easy, vegan recipes to get me started.  A solid book with semi-simple recipes with basic ingredients.
  6. NOW Protein Powder
    • Ok, this one was incredibly tough.  I’m a competitive bodybuilder so when it comes to getting my protein, I’m picky.  Obviously I want my protein to be the most bioavailable for uptake after a workout.  However, since I was going without dairy, I needed a solid alternative.  This is the best I’ve found by a well-respected company.  It’s almost as effective as whey based on the combo of protein and it takes good.
  7. Lotrimin Jock Itch Spray
    • At first, I was using a cream that I got from CVS.  It was almost $14-15 a tube!  That’s insane for over the counter stuff.  So I hunted online and found a 3 back deal for a Lotrimin spray with a similar ingredient to Clotrimazole (just as effective and safe).  I had also ordered a 5 pack of cream for $8 bucks on Amazon.  While the deal was solid, I didn’t see results from it like I did the spray or destroy the recurring Jock Itch for good.  I believe the reason was coverage.  When you’re using a lotion, unless you’re lathering everything in the stuff….you’re not going to get all the nooks and crannies.  Not to mentioned you’re applying the stuff with your hands, which are probably secretly dirty. The spray was a game changer for quickly applying this stuff.  With the lotion I kept getting a recurring heat rash that would inevitably lead to more jock itch.  The spray dried everything up and prevented recurring outbreaks for good (so far).
    • Alternative: Clotrimazole cream 5 pack

Total to get clean: About $130 bucks.  However, the diet and books are optional.  I’d argue though that if you get on a healthy diet, you’ll end up saving a fortune in food anyways.  Processed foods and restaurants charge a ton of markup.  In the end, I got healthy, saved about $300 a month on food expenses, and learned to cook.

By the way, when search I found an AOBiome combo pack that I didn’t have the luxury of when I was going through all this to save some money.

Hygiene

I can’t stress hygiene enough here.  There is an incredibly delicate balance that I found between showering too little and showering too much. Ultimately, if you follow my rules, you should find a nice happy medium.  My hygiene routine boiled down to a few simple principles.

  1. Morning: Quickly rinse off.  We’re talking no more than 6-7 minutes in the shower. Try to avoid using high heat to where you look like a lobster when you step out of the shower.  This doesn’t help a fungal infection and encourages the growth of bacteria.  Notice how when you steam your bathroom more mold grows?  Same concept here.  I slowly trained myself to get used to a luke-warm shower and it works well for me.  During my morning rinse off, I literally don’t use any products unless I desperately need to wash my hair with shampoo (every 2-3 days).  At the very end of the rinse-off, I turn the shower to semi-cold and spray my head and face.  This cools me off so I don’t sweat once I put clothes on…plus it feels good on my skin.  This takes getting used to.  I really only recommend the morning shower if you absolutely have to.  I did it mainly when I was applying the cream daily to clear off the old and make room for the new.
  2. After Workout/Night: This is the critical one. I would try to get to the shower within 15-20 minutes tops of finishing my workout. Why?  Think about it.  I workout for 1-2 hours.  The entire time I’m hot, sweating, and creating a perfect environment for bacteria and fungi.  If I take 20 more minutes after my workout for my body to cool down, I’m just letting them solidify on my body.  I noticed very quickly during this ordeal that when I didn’t take a shower 15-20 minutes after my workout, then I would see more folliculitis or a heat rash of jock itch the following day.  This is the shower where I actually used the AOBiome cleanser or the shampoo mainly.  Then I would dry off thoroughly, spray myself with skin probiotic, let myself completely dry off, apply cream, and then go about my day.Don’t take more showers than this and don’t skip out on the after workout shower.  If you take more showers you’re stripping your body of the oils and things it needs to fight these damn infections.  If you’re not taking the after workout/night shower, then you’re letting these things develop more strongly.
  3. Clean Everything and refrain from tight clothing:  This one is easier said than done.  The best strategy I’ve found is that you have to…ahem, give everything down under some proper airflow.  We’re talking switching from briefs back to boxers for a time or going commando.  Actively try to stay away from tight jeans and other things that cause friction on your legs and that don’t allow ventilation.  My typical attire was gym shorts around the house and khakis at work.  I finally washed my raw denim jeans, but purposely wore joggers as much as possible because I found that my skinny jean, would rub against my thighs and cause issues.
  4. Switch to Non-irritating laundry detergent:  Keep away from those that have fragance and nuke your clothes.  This kills healthy bacteria on your skin and it’s honestly not needed.  I washed my clothes once every 2 weeks and towels and bedsheets once a week during this time period.  Here’s the stuff I used if you’re interested. Puracy Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent.
  5. Use new towels often and dry properly: Don’t let your towels hang in the damp bathroom and then reuse them over and over.  Once you get rid of some of the jock itch or Staph, if you keep using the old towels you’re just going to get it again from residue.  Wash your towers regularly with the detergent above in hot water and dry on higher heat (if possible). Another important technique.  When you get out of the shower, pat yourself dry lightly.  Don’t rub the towel back and forth and cause tons of abrasion on your newly showered skin.  That’s just asking for Staph to jump in or Jock Itch to break out. A dermatologist recommend this to me.
  6. Clean your hands and fingernails after the gym:  This goes without saying, but I’m sure enough people don’t do it.  Wash your hands thoroughly after the gym before touching anything on your body.  If you don’t have access to soap readily, use a hand-sanitizer.  If your gym doesn’t wipe down their machines, complain and file a report with a health agency (after asking them politely and giving a proper response time). One part that often gets overlooked in hand cleanliness is your nails.  If you’re like me, when you deadlift your nails rub against your thighs from time to time.  Even if you’re not like me, I guarantee you scratch itches from time to time with your nails.  Clean them.  Primetime for Staph and likely fungi.

 

Diet:

For the diet, you’re just going to have to read the book if you want to know the route that I took.  It’s a bit more extreme and I doubt many of my readers will be willing to give it a shot.  At minimum though, cut down on added sugars and any kind of sugar in your diet.  Fungi and bacteria live off the stuff.   Try to stay away from Dairy and Meats where possible (if not completely organic) because the chemicals and other substances found in those products will only hinder your progress.  Please try to eat lots of greens and fruits to help get your gut up to par and fight Staph and Tinea if you’re serious about beating it once and for all.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading!  That’s really it.  Some  hygiene, some well researched products, and a cleanup of my diet were what did the trick for me.  The prescriptions did nothing but cost me tons of money and trouble and probably put my body in a worse position.  I will say though that if you have a serious case of Staph, forego even attempting the natural way and use the antibiotics for a quick reduction in this infection, it can be deadly if not taken seriously. Trust your health professional. I got my body in a stable condition and the worst of the Staph infections drained before I proceeded with finding a healthier alternative.  However, the end result was saving a ton of money and likely leading a healthier life after the infections cleared up.  They taught me a valuable lesson and armed me with tools to prevent other gym related infections and diseases in the future.

Good luck.  Please don’t be afraid to comment or reach out to me directly with questions.  I’d love to help someone else who’s struggling with these terrible conditions. I likely forgot some small details in this article.  I will add to it if I remember things!  The most important items are here though.


Pictures:

I’ve opted to posted pictures only from the second outbreak of Staph/Folliculitis on my chest.  It’s the best pictures I have of the progress from my regimen because the rest of the progress was before I found what works.

Before Regimen and after first round of antibiotics.  You can see the inflamed bumps and hair follicles.  This was after the Staph bacteria spread to my chest.

Staph outbreak - before picture

 

After regimen listed above and better hygiene.  There are couple of bumps which are primarily acne.  In the first shot I had shaved my chest to get a better look at the Staph before I started the regimen, that’s why there is less hair.  In this shot, it has been a few months. I will warn you that bad staph can cause scars which are tough to heal.  You can see a few of these in the space between my pectorals.

 

Staph outbreak - after

A few months after regimen.  This goes to show that the strategy removed it permanently as far as I can tell.

Chest shot after staph

 

DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed physician or other health care provider. The information provided here is for informational purposes only.  Also, I am NOT being paid by these companies to promote their product.  These products really worked for me after countless hours of research.  The reason I link to them with an affiliate link is to keep my blog up and running.

Other Note: Also, I am NOT being paid by these companies to promote their product.  These products really worked for me after countless hours of research.  The reason I link to them with an affiliate link is to keep my blog up and running.