How to Identify & Treat an Upper Inner Thigh Rash

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A red, itchy rash is uncomfortable anywhere on the body, but when it appears on the inner thigh, it’s downright uncomfortable.

Rashes on the inner thigh or near the groin are common because the area can become warm and moist. The lack of airflow means that sweat can build up. In addition, clothing may rub against the skin and cause irritation.

This article will provide an overview of common causes of inner thigh rashes, including their typical symptoms and treatment options. 

A person scratching a rash on their thigh
There are a few reasons your could develop an itchy or red rash on your inner thigh. Learn more.

Jomkwan/Getty Images

Possible Causes

There are several possible causes of a rash on your inner thigh. Your healthcare provider will determine the cause and appropriate treatment plan.

Eczema

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic condition that causes red, itchy skin. It affects about 1 in 10 Americans and commonly affects children. 

Possible symptoms of eczema include:

  • Bumpy, goose bump-like skin
  • Lightened or darkened skin
  • Thickened areas of skin
  • Itching 

Eczema Treatment

Treatment options include:

  • Bathe in warm (not hot) water
  • Use a regular moisturizer
  • Avoid harsh scents or products  
  • Use topical medications
  • Phototherapy


Chafing

Chafing is a common condition that can occur on the inner thighs. It is caused by the frequent or recurrent friction of skin rubbing against the skin from walking, running, or exercising. 

Possible symptoms of chafing include:

  • Red rash
  • Itching
  • Irritation
  • Burning
  • Stinging 

Chafing Treatment

Treatment options include: 

  • Topical aloe vera
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Shea butter
  • Corticosteroid cream


Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction when the skin becomes irritated by an object or substance. For example, this could happen on the inner thighs if you are allergic or sensitive to a new soap, lotion, or laundry detergent. 

Possible symptoms of contact dermatitis include:

Contact Dermatitis Treatment

The best way to treat contact dermatitis is to avoid the irritant causing the reaction.

Treatment options include:

  • Cool compresses 
  • Calamine lotion
  • Colloidal oatmeal bath
  • Topical corticostroid
  • Oral prednisone 

Heat Rash

Heat rash occurs when the body is overheated, and the sweat ducts become blocked or inflamed. This may happen on the inner thighs in hot weather or following a strenuous workout. 

The types of heat rash include:

  • Miliaria rubra (prickly heat): Itching, prickling pain, blisters
  • Miliaria crystallina: Clear fluid-filled blisters
  • Miliaria profunda: Itchy, inflamed bumps
  • Miliaria pustulosa (infected heat rash): Pus-filled blisters

Heat Rash Treatment

Treatment options include: 

  • Remove layers of clothing
  • Move into a cooler area
  • Apply topical steroids
  • Use calamine lotion
  • Try a cool (not cold) compress

Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Hidradenitis suppurativa (inversa) is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the skin. It is not believed to be contagious and usually first appears around the time of puberty. Both smoking and obesity raise the risk of this condition. 

Possible symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa include:

  • Pus-filled bumps
  • Hard pimple-like bumps beneath the skin
  • Painful lesions 
  • Chronic drainage 
  • Scarring over time

Hidradenitis Suppurativa Treatment

Treatment options include:

Jock Itch

Jock itch (tinea cruris) is a form of ringworm, a common fungal infection. The fungus that causes jock itch thrives in warm, moist places. Therefore, tight-fitting clothing increases the risk of developing jock itch. 

Possible symptoms of jock itch in women include:

  • Itchy skin
  • Ring-shaped rash
  • Red, scaly skin

Jock Itch Treatment

Treatment options include:

  • Non-prescription antifungal creams, lotions, or powders
  • Lotrimin (clotrimazole)
  • Mitrazol (miconazole)
  • Lamisil (terbinafine)
  • Xolegel (ketoconazole)


Razor Burn

Razor burn is a condition that can affect any area of skin that is shaved with a razor. Razor burn goes away on its own over time. It is caused by irritation from the razor. 

Possible symptoms of razor burn include:

  • Bumpy, red rash
  • Burning
  • Itching 

To avoid razor burn, take the following precautions when shaving the skin on your inner thighs:

  • Only shave in the shower, so the hair is softer and free of excess oil and dead skin cells.
  • Use a foaming shaving cream made for sensitive skin. Allow it to sit on the skin for two to three minutes.
  • Shave in the direction of hair growth.
  • Rinse the razor after each swipe, and change blades or razors frequently.
  • After shaving, rinse the area with cold water to reduce inflammation, then apply a moisturizer.
  • Store your razor in a dry area, and do not leave it in the shower.

Swimmer’s Itch

Swimmer’s itch (cercarial dermatitis) is a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to microscopic parasites found in water. These parasites typically affect birds and mammals in the water. Infected snails release them in both fresh and saltwater bodies of water. 

When an individual swims in infected water, the parasites burrow into the skin, causing inflammation and an itchy rash. The itching may last up to one week but gradually disappear.

Possible symptoms of swimmer’s itch include:

  • Red rash
  • Small blisters or pimple-like bumps
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Tingling 

Swimmer's Itch Treatment

Treatment options include:

  • Corticosteroid cream
  • Cool compresses
  • Bathing in Epsom salts or baking soda
  • Baking soda paste
  • Anti-itch lotion or cream

STIs

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. It’s estimated that more than 9 million women in the United States are diagnosed with one each year. In addition, women tend to have more serious health problems, such as infertility, from STIs than men.

STIs that can lead to a skin rash include:

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV): The infection can cause flat or raised genital warts.
  • Herpes: The virus leads to blisters and painful open sores in the genital area and groin.
  • Syphilis: The infection may cause a rash that appears as a round, firm sore.

STI Treatment

Each STI requires a different treatment. Ways to lower your risk of contracting an STI include:

  • Staying up to date on vaccinations 
  • Always using condoms 
  • Being tested regularly  
  • Staying in a monogamous relationship
  • Having a limited number of sexual partners 

Diagnosis

See your healthcare provider to determine the cause of your inner thigh rash. It can be challenging to differentiate between the several infections or conditions that could be causing your discomfort. 

Your provider will begin by inspecting the rash and performing a physical exam. They will also conduct a thorough medical history, asking about recent trips or exposures. Your healthcare provider may refer you to a dermatologist if needed. 

Summary 

A rash on the inner thigh or groin area is an uncomfortable experience. Possible causes include eczema, contact dermatitis, chafing, heat rash, hidradenitis suppurativa, jock itch, pityriasis rosea, razor burn, swimmer’s itch, and STIs. The symptoms and treatment options vary by cause. See your healthcare provider to determine the cause of your rash and how to treat it. 

A Word From Verywell

It’s hard to imagine a more uncomfortable situation than a new, itchy rash on your inner thigh or groin area. You may feel embarrassed about bringing it up with your healthcare provider, but seeking treatment is important. It can be challenging to figure out the cause, and some infections must be treated immediately. Start by making an appointment with your healthcare provider. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does jock itch look like on a woman?

    Jock itch on a woman looks like a red, scaly rash. The rash often appears in a ring shape and feels very itchy.

  • How do you get rid of a rash on your inner thigh?

    The first step to getting rid of a rash on your inner thigh is to see your healthcare provider to determine what is causing the rash. Once you receive the proper diagnosis, your healthcare provider will recommend appropriate treatments.

  • What is the most common cause of a rash on the upper inner thigh?

    There are several possible causes of a rash on the inner thigh. First, determine if the cause is chafing. Chafed skin becomes red and irritated from skin rubbing against skin. This commonly happens on the inner thighs when walking or running.

10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Dermatology. Atopic dermatitis clinical guideline.

  2. American Academy of Dermatology Association. 5 ways to use petroleum jelly for skin care.

  3. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Eczema types: contact dermatitis overview.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heat stress related illness.

  5. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) acne inversa.

  6. American Academy of Dermatology Association. 8 reasons your groin itches and how to get relief.

  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms of ringworm.

  8. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Tips for men: how to shave.

  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cercarial dermatitis.

  10. Office on Women’s Health. Sexually transmitted infections.

By Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH
Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH, is a health writer with over a decade of experience working as a registered nurse. She has practiced in a variety of settings including pediatrics, oncology, chronic pain, and public health.