Dry Skin on Penis: Causes and Treatment
Dry skin can affect us all over the body and the penis is no different. If you notice dry skin on your penis you may be concerned but usually it is not a serious medical condition. Dry skin on the penis is not a common symptom of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as genital herpes or genital warts so it could be due to something less serious. Lets looks at the causes and treatment together.
If you’re experiencing dry skin on the penis it could include a range of symptoms such as:
- Tightness of the skin
- Itchiness, flaking or peeling skin
- Any kind of rash on the skin
- Cracks or fine lines
- Deeper cracks that may bleed
There are a number of reasons you could be suffering from dry skin on the penis. Here are some of the typical causes:
If you find you have a rash and perhaps other symptoms such as:
- Runny nose
- Watery Eyes
This could be a sign of an allergy. This reaction is likely to be caused by latex, spermicide, deodorants or aftershave. If you’re noticing this rash after wearing a condom then look for latex free condoms, this should resolve the issue.
Sex and masturbation could be the cause of your dry skin. The friction can cause dryness and flakiness. Opt for a lubricant to resolve this problem. There are 3 types of lubricants to choose from; Water-based, Oil-based and Silicone based. Your safest bet is to find one that is organic or chemical free, water-based lubricants are usually your best option for this.
Thrush – Yeast Infection
Another potential cause of your dryness is a yeast infection which is also known as thrush. This can cause pain when urinating or having sex along with the following symptoms:
- Dryness and peeling skin
- White patches on the skin
- Swelling or irritation around the head of the penis
- Thick, uneven discharge under the foreskin
If you notice any of these symptoms we suggest keeping the area dry and clean. Use an anti-fungal cream and apply to the affected area as instructed by the manufacturer. You should see symptoms go away within ten days. If not, speak to an online dermatologist for a clear diagnosis.
This may come as a surprise since you would typically associate psoriasis with pustular spots and scaly, crusted skin. However, the kind of psoriasis that affects the penis is known as ‘inverse psoriasis’. This type of psoriasis is usually a red, smooth and shiny rash. You will likely feel irritation, itchiness and irritation in the area.
If you’re noticing something like genital psoriasis on your penis then we suggest using our anonymous AI technology to get a clearer understanding on the condition. Our board-certified dermatologists are also at hand to give you an answer within hours. If it proves to be genital psoriasis then a doctor will typically prescribe a low strength topical corticosteroid.
An obvious one, but the dry skin on your penis could just be a sign of eczema. It is not unusual to see eczema on the penis, the three that your most likely to see are:
The causes for each one do vary so we suggest reading more on the links above. Its worth noting that seborrhoeic dermatitis is most likely to affect your groin area where there are more oil glands rather than the penis.
Another common cause of dry skin on the penis is Balanitis. This is a bacterial infection, common in men and young boys. This infection affects the space between the glans and the foreskin. Its not contagious but the rash will likely itch and sting. We suggest reading more on Balanitis in our skin guide or speak to our dermatologists for a certified answer.
Although an STD is not always the cause of dry skin on the penis. There are a few STDs to watch out for. The two that are most likely to cause dry skin are:
- Syphillis – This STI usually starts with a small sore known as a chancra. Although painless, they can cause the skin to peel around the area
- Herpes – This can cause itching and tingling. Followed by fluid filled blisters and skin ulcers. They may appear anywhere on the penis and scrotum.
Read more on both of these STDs in our skin guide on the links above.
For each specific case we have outlined some of the treatments above. In any case, we recommend using products designed for sensitive skin when cleaning. Try to avoid using soap directly on the genitals.
After you have finished bathing or showering, use a gentle moisturizer and apply to the dry area. Be careful, many regular hand and body lotions may contain harmful chemicals that could trigger an allergic reaction. The penis skin is sensitive so use a moisturizer with shea butter, vitamins and no additives.
Can I Have Sex?
We recommend abstaining from sexual activities for at least 24 hours whilst the area recovers. It is not unsafe to have sex but it may be uncomfortable so you should moisturize and use lubricant.
If your dry skin on the penis is caused by an STI or yeast infection then do not have sex until the infection has been cleared.
Dry skin on the penis isn’t usually a serious cause for concern. By moisturizing and avoiding harsh soaps you should be able to remedy the condition. Remember that the dryness could be caused by another condition such as psoriasis, an STI or a yeast infection. If you’re unsure, speak to our dermatologists or give our AI skin image searcher a try.
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The Specialist doctor from the University Hospital in Gothenburg, alumnus UC Berkeley. My doctoral dissertation is about Digital Health and I have published 5 scientific articles in teledermatology and artificial intelligence and others.