Penis Rash: Causes, Treatments and Risk Factors

A penis rash is rarely serious, but it can be uncomfortable, not to mention embarrassing. The most common causes of penile skin rash, as well as options for treatment, are discussed here.

– Balanitis: This condition is characterized by inflammation of the glans (head of the penis) and/or the foreskin (in uncircumcised men). Balanitis broadly encompasses all manifestations of this symptom that are caused by an irritant, and the inflammation may be accompanied by skin dryness. The irritant may be (and most often is) smegma, the lubricating oil that is secreted by the foreskin lining. A buildup of the oil, caused by failure to retract the foreskin and wash smegma away regularly, can irritate the penis. Treating this type of balanitis requires improving hygiene by washing better under the foreskin with warm water. Contact dermatiti

Penis Rash: Causes, Treatments and Risk Factors

A penis rash is never a reassuring sign, and it is important for men to take it seriously. An unattended rash may damage the skin, spread to another person or cause an array of health problems for the affected individual depending on its cause. Proper diagnosis and treatment from a medical professional is crucial for both comfort and physical well-being. While some of the causes of a penis rash are easy to deal with, others require extensive treatment measures.

The information below will inform men about some common causes of rashes in the genital region along with the typical treatments pursued for each of them. Then, risk factors and preventive measures will be addressed.

Causes and Treatments

– Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes in contact with an irritant, such as a chemical additive in soaps, lubricants or fabric softeners. The skin becomes red and inflamed; it may itch as well.

Treating contact dermatitis generally involves a combination of time and removing the offending substance from a man’s care regimen. It may take some time to identify what has caused the skin reaction, but once it has been removed, the skin should return to normal within a week or two. If contact dermatitis was caused by an allergic reaction – in which the immune system attacks the skin – a medication may be prescribed to help calm the immune system down.

– Jock Itch

Jock itch, also known as tinea cruris, is a rash caused by a fungal infection. It occurs when the fungus dermatophyte, which is normally present on the skin, begins multiplying quickly. This happens easily in the groin because the fungus thrives in warm, moist environments. The rash typically forms in the groin folds and may spread to the testicles and penis. It is marked by redness, itching, burning and cracked, flaky skin.

Treating jock itch is usually limited to self-care measures. Hygiene is step #1: Keep the skin clean and as dry as possible. Loose-fitting clothes can help keep moisture at bay. An over-the-counter antifungal cream may hasten recovery from jock itch. Men need to be particularly careful to keep any clothing, towels, etc. that have come into contact with their groins away from other people, as the infection is very contagious.

– Eczema

An itchy, scaly skin rash on the penis may be a symptom of eczema, particularly among men with other body parts affected by the condition. Eczema is believed to occur when the immune system mistakes skin cells for invaders and attacks them.

Treating eczema generally involves self-care techniques, such as taking showers that are warm rather than hot and avoiding harsh soaps. Topical treatments exist to reduce the impact of the condition, but tend to be too harsh and drying for the delicate penile skin. A moisturizer such as Man1 Man Oil, which is specifically designed for the skin of the manhood, may be used.

– Psoriasis

This skin condition occurs when the immune system overproduces skin cells. The result is a dry and itchy skin rash with white or silvery scales. Topical treatments for other parts of the body may be damaging or painful when applied to the penis; creams with vitamin D and natural emollients may be preferable.

– Molluscum Contagiosum

The molluscum virus is transferred through skin-to-skin contact and often appears on the genitals. It is characterized by a group of small bumps; the bumps are usually painless, flesh-colored or pink and have a shiny, smooth appearance. People may notice a tiny dent in the middle of each bump.

The body fends off the molluscum virus eventually; it can take anywhere from a couple of months to four years. Medications and surgical procedures are usually not recommended, since the condition poses no health risks.

– Herpes

Genital herpes results from two herpes simplex viruses: HSV-1 and HSV-2. These viruses cause painful, fluid-filled bumps that can appear on the penis, scrotum and anal region. The blistery rash may be preceded by itching. The bumps may break open and ooze. While the rash comes and goes, the virus does not.

Antiviral medications don’t cure herpes, but they can reduce the frequency and intensity of the outbreaks.

– Warts

About 90% of genital warts cases are caused by two strains of the human papilloma virus: HPV 6 and HPV 11. This sexually transmitted infection manifests as soft, fleshy bumps that may itch. They can appear on the penis, testicles, thighs and anal region.

Sometimes warts resolve on their own, although the virus may remain in the body. A doctor may prescribe an ointment to eliminate warts; other methods, such as freezing, burning or cutting them off, are sometimes implemented.

– Scabies

Scabies is caused by an infestation of a tiny bug called the human itch mite. The bugs mate on the skin, then the female burrows into the skin and lays eggs. The rash associated with scabies tends to be very itchy, particularly at nighttime when the insects are most active. It might look pimply or blistery, or it may be scaly. Scabies are spread through contact with infested skin, clothing or bedding.

Doctors prescribe special lotions to kill scabies; they may also offer other treatments in the form of lotions or antihistamines to combat itching. Getting rid of scabies is difficult, since they can live on clothing, furniture and so on for several days; thoroughly washing all washable things in hot water and vacuuming anything that can’t be washed (and then bleaching the inside of the vacuum) are necessary to rid scabies from one’s home.

– Lichen Planus

Lichen planus is believed to be an autoimmune disease. It is marked by shiny, firm, reddish-purple bumps that can appear on the penis and other body parts. Bumps may form rough, scaly patches of skin. They may cause the penis skin to turn very red and make sexual contact painful, if not impossible.

Lichen planus can’t be cured by medical interventions, but symptoms associated with it can be reduced with the use of medicated ointments, although these can cause unpleasant side effects. In some men, the condition resolves itself in a year or two, but recurrences are common.

Risk Factors

While some penis rash causes can’t be avoided, there are steps men can take to avoid other causes. Risk factors for penis rash include:

Improper hygiene: Failure to keep the penis clean increases the risk of fungal and bacterial infections.

Physical activity: While physical activity is important for health, the moisture created in the groin increases the risk of jock itch. Men should be sure to wear moisture-wicking clothes, and to change out of exercise gear soon after play has ended.

Unprotected sex: A condom won’t guarantee against infections like herpes or warts, but it can reduce the risk of contracting them.

Sharing clothing/bedding/towels: Men increase their risk of transmitted conditions like scabies and jock itch if they share these items. Men should ensure that the clothes they wear and the places they sleep are clean.

The causes of penis rash range from simple to complex, harmless to hazardous. Proper medical treatment is imperative to restoring penis health and avoiding future outbreaks.