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Skin Irritation on Penis: Causes and How to Treat
Skin irritation on the penis can be a painful and frustrating problem. Learn about the common causes of penile skin irritation and the best ways to treat them.
When you notice a red, itchy rash on your penis, it can be tough to stay calm.
But as it turns out, penile irritation isn’t uncommon.
There can be many causes of skin irritation on the penis.
Some of them are innocent—such as your soap or laundry detergent—while others may be more serious.
Before we go any further, here’s what you need to know about skin irritation on the penis:
- Allergic reactions to bar soap and condoms/lube are common causes of skin irritation on the penis
- Male yeast infections, genital psoriasis and ingrown hairs are other potential causes of penile irritation.
- See a medical professional to rule out the potential of a sexually transmitted infection.
Some good news for all you worrywarts: Penile irritation is usually harmless.
Here are a few common causes of skin irritation on the penis and how to go about treating the problem.TRY MEN’S SKIN CARE
1. Your Bar Soap
As much as you love your favorite brand of bar soap, it may not love you back.
Traditional bar soaps can dry out the skin on the penis, resulting in itchiness and irritation.
Artificial fragrances in bar soaps can also irritate the skin in your nether regions.
This is especially common in guys who have eczema or another sensitive skin condition.
Fortunately, the solution is simple: Switch to a fragrance-free bar soap for men that cleans, moisturizes and gently exfoliates your skin.
Specifically, look for nourishing ingredients like Jojoba Oil and vitamin E that will help soothe inflammation and hydrate skin all over.
2. Your Condoms and Lube
If you experience itching, redness and swelling down below right after sex, you could be allergic to your condoms and/or lube.
Spermicides and other harsh ingredients in condoms and lubes can trigger an allergic reaction. Using condoms and lubes for sensitive skin may help solve the problem.
The skin irritation on your penis could also be an allergic reaction to the latex in your condoms; however, it’s worth noting that latex allergies aren’t particularly common.
According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Occupational Health, latex allergies affect less than five percent of the general population (see claim: “…the average prevalence of latex allergy worldwide remains 9.7%, 7.2%, and 4.3% among healthcare workers, susceptible patients, and general population, respectively…”)
Still, that doesn’t mean you aren’t one of the unlucky few who has a latex allergy.
Try using latex-free condoms for a while to see if it helps any.
3. Male Yeast Infection
Yep, guys can get yeast infections, too.
A penile yeast infection is caused by Candida albicans, a common type of fungus that grows in moist areas of the body—like your crotch.
Guys who haven’t been circumcised are more likely to get a yeast infection.
The good news is that most male yeast infections can be treated with an over-the-counter antifungal medication.
You can also try treating your yeast infection with a home remedy such as coconut oil.
According to a 2007 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, the Candida species appears to be highly susceptible to the antifungal effects of coconut oil (see claim: “C. albicans had the highest susceptibility to coconut oil…”)
4. Genital Psoriasis
Redness and irritation on the penis can also be a sign of genital psoriasis.
This rash typically looks red and shiny, with patches that appear on the tip of the penis or the shaft.
Due to the sensitive skin in the genital area, treating genital psoriasis requires a specialized approach.
Topical treatments such as low-strength corticosteroids and tazarotene (a vitamin A derivative) are often the first line of treatment for genital psoriasis.
If you don’t respond to topical treatments, your doctor may also recommend light therapy or oral medication.TAKE THE SKIN CARE QUIZ
5. Genital Herpes
For some guys, redness and burning on the penis is often the first sign of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as genital herpes.
Herpes can also appear in the form of sores or blisters that look like bug bites or ingrown hairs on the penis.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for genital herpes.
However, you can effectively manage your symptoms and outbreaks with drug therapy.
The most commonly prescribed drugs for genital herpes include: acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir.
6. Ingrown Hair
If you notice a red bump on your penis, don’t panic!
It may not be a STI at all.
In fact, it could be nothing more than an ingrown hair on the penis.
Although ingrown hairs on the penis can be incredibly annoying and painful, they’re usually harmless.
To fix the problem, keep the area clean and apply a warm compress to open the hair follicle to help coax it to the surface.
If you shave or wax, stop doing these things for at least 30 days.
Skin irritation on the penis is usually harmless.
That being said, it’s important to seek medical advice from a doctor.
He or she can exam you and rule out the possibility of STIs or something more serious.
Wu, Miaozong et al. “Current prevalence rate of latex allergy: Why it remains a problem?.” Journal of Occupational Health vol. 58,2 (2016): 138-44.
Ogbolu, D. O., et al. “In Vitro Antimicrobial Properties of Coconut Oil on Candida Species in Ibadan, Nigeria.” Journal of Medicinal Food, vol. 10, no. 2, June 2007, pp. 384–87.