A dry skin on penis, penile shaft, penile head (glans) or foreskin may be an indication of various health or skin conditions. Mostly, the skin appears white or red, bumpy, scaly and flaky. It may be itchy or not itchy. It may be a sign of infections, but probably not sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). This post presents facts, pictures, causes, signs, and symptoms of dry skin on penis. Furthermore, it highlights how to get rid of and prevent it with medical treatments and home remedies.
Signs and Symptoms of Dry Skin on Penis
When you have a dry skin on the penis, you may experience various signs and symptoms depending on the underlying conditions. The general signs and symptoms include one or more of the following:
- Flaky and scaly skin on the penis
- Cracked skin, especially on the penis head
- Peeling of the penile skin especially under the shaft.
- Redness or rash on the penis
- Darkening or discoloration
- Loss of sensation with time
- Itchiness and burning sensation
- Pain, tenderness, and discomfort
- Soreness, especially during sexual activity
Dry Skin on Penis Pictures
In different sections of this post, we have inserted images of dry skin on penis, including friction burn on shaft pictures. You can use the pictures for informational purposes but not for self-diagnosis. Visit your doctor or dermatologist for definitive diagnosis and proper treatment of your health problem.
Causes of Dry Skin on Penis
Various health conditions can lead to a dry skin on penis. The common reasons why you may have a dry skin on your penis include:
1. Soaps and Cleansers
Even without producing allergic reactions, using a harsh soap or cleanser to wash your genital area may dry out the skin on the penis. The chemicals found in some body-care products, regular body bars, and shower gels can irritate and dry the penile skin.
These products typically contain detergents which are designed to remove sweat, grease, and dirt from skin. However, sometimes they also strip the skin of its natural protective oils. This may lead to dry skin on the affected skin, including penile skin.
Friction is a common cause of dry skin on penis. It can irritate the skin and strip away the body’s natural lubricating oils. Friction creates heat that irritates and causes friction burn, leaving a dry, scaly and patchy skin on penis, shaft or foreskin.
Factors that may cause friction on your penile skin include wearing tight clothes made of hard and rough fabric. In addition, dry sexual activities might cause irritation and tiny skin tears. This usually results in a sore or tender penis, especially on the outer layer of the skin. The irritated skin may later form dry, flaky patches.
The term chafing refers to a common skin problem caused by a combination of friction, moisture, and irritation. This usually happens when your underwear rubs against moist areas of your skin due to sweat.
The genital area is one of the common areas that often undergoes chaffing. For men, the areas affected by chaffing may include the penile shaft, penile head or foreskin.
Persistent and prolonged rubbing on the skin in the presence of moisture irritates it. As a result, you may develop a mild, red rash. However, in severe cases, chafing may include swelling, bleeding, or crusting in the affected region of the skin.
Some substances can cause allergic reactions on the penile skin and cause it to become dry. Allergic substances or allergens may be present in detergents, soaps, spermicides, deodorants, perfumes, antiperspirants, and condoms especially latex condoms.
Some plants can cause allergic reactions if they come in contact with your genitals. Example include ordinary grass and plants such as poison ivy, poison oak. Typically, a particular substance may cause allergic reactions in some individual but not others.
Besides the dry and itchy penile skin, other possible symptoms of an allergic reaction are, sneezing, wheezing, a runny nose and watery eyes.
5. Jock Itch (Tinea Cruris)
Jock itch, medically known as tinea cruris, is a fungal infection that typically affects the groin area. It is hence often referred to as ringworm of the groin area.
However, it may also spread to the perineum area, the scrotum and the penile shaft and head. In this case, it particularly appears on the lower side of the penis, which is moist because of being in contact with the scrotum.
Signs and symptoms include a red, itchy, and scaly rash, which may blister. You may also have a flaking or peeling skin, especially under the penile shaft, head or foreskin.
Various types of eczema can affect your penile skin. The most common ones include atopic eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and contact dermatitis.
Generally, eczema is characterized by redness and dry skin. Other signs and symptoms of eczema on penis include intense itching and bumps of various sizes under the affected skin. Besides, you may notice white or yellowish scaly patches that flake off.
There are various types of psoriasis that tend to affect various parts of the body. The type that commonly affects the penis and genitals, in general, is known as inverse psoriasis.
Typically, psoriasis begins with dry, red lesions or patches on the penile shaft or glans (head). You may also experience itchiness. The symptoms may also manifest in the surrounding area, including the groin or inner thigh area.
8. Yeast infection
A yeast infection is caused by a fungus called candida. A penile yeast infection is characterized by a red rash and sometimes white, shiny patches on the penis. Other common symptoms include swelling, irritation, itching and a burning sensation on the penis.
Typically, the affected area of the penis may be moist with a thick white substance, especially under the penile shaft or foreskin. Later, the affected area usually leaves dry white patches and a flaky or peeling skin.
You can get a yeast infection when there is an overgrowth of a harmless small amount of candida that is naturally on the skin. This may happen due to poor hygiene, especially if you are not circumcised.
Still, you can contract yeast infection if you have unprotected sexual intercourse with a partner who has the infection. Other risk factors include prolonged use of antibiotics and conditions such as diabetes, obesity and poor immune system.
Dry Skin on Penile Shaft
A dry skin on the penile shaft is often as a result of yeast infection. However, other factors such as friction, allergic reactions and skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema may be the cause. The typical causes of skin rashes that appear under the penile shaft are chaffing or itchy jock.
Dry Skin on Foreskin
A dry skin on the foreskin is often as a result of chaffing or friction. However, any of the factors discussed in the earlier section of this post may be the reason.
Dry Skin on Penile Head (Glans)
You can get a dry skin on your penile head, especially when you are circumcised. Any of the causes we have discussed in the earlier sections of this post may the reasons for a dry penile head.
STDs That Cause Dry Skin
A dry skin on penis is not a common symptom of sexually transmitted diseases (STD), especially when it is not accompanied by other symptoms. However, although yeast infection is not considered to be STD, you can contract it through sexual contact with an infected person. In general, STDs rarely cause dry skin on penis.
How to Get Rid of Dry skin on Penis
Various home remedies and lifestyle remedies and medical treatments can help get rid of dry skin on penis. The method used to eliminate penile dryness depends on the cause and underlying issues.
Home and Lifestyle Remedies
Most cases of dry skin on penis respond well to lifestyle and home remedies. Dermatologists recommend the following measures to heal or reduce penile dryness, especially when there are no serious underlying issues:
- Use only water or a mild cleanser to wash the penis, especially if the dryness is associated with these products.
- Use a lubricant during sexual activity in case of inadequate natural lubrication to avoid friction. Choose a chemical-free or organic lubricant, which won’t contain parabens or glycerin. Still, water-based lubricant is likely to be the best.
- Avoid known or suspicious allergens that could be causing penile skin dryness
- Wear loose fabrics to prevent friction.
- Apply coconut oil to the dry area.
- Apply Aloe vera to soothe irritation on the penis.
Naturally, the penile skin tends to be thinner and more sensitive than the skin on other areas of your body. Therefore, ensure that you carefully follow your doctor’s instructions. Generally, doctors may prescribe penis-friendly moisturizing creams in addition to the various treatments for different causes of dry skin on penis.
Allergies: Doctors use antihistamines to relieve irritation and allergies that may cause dry skin on penis.
Psoriasis: Avoid known skin irritants. Doctors usually start with low strength topical corticosteroid medications to treat psoriasis. In case the condition persists with this treatment, your doctor may prescribe ultraviolet light therapy.
Eczema: Before treating eczema, ask your doctor for a definitive diagnosis. Doctors prefer treating eczema with a low-strength topical corticosteroid. Your doctor may recommend other treatments in case the symptoms persist.
Yeast infection: Keep the area clean and dry. Apply an appropriate over-the-counter antifungal cream to the affected area according to provided instructions. It usually takes up to 10 days to fully recover. See your doctor in case it persists or worsens. Abstain from sexual activities until all symptoms have disappeared to avoid worsening or spreading the condition.
Jock Itch: Doctors treat fungal jock itch using antifungal creams, such as Clotrimazole. The medication is used continuously for two to four weeks depending on your doctor’s advice.
How to Prevent Dry Skin on Penis
You can help prevent dry skin on your penis by taking the following measures:
- Instead of soap, use only water or a mild cleanser to wash the penis
- If you use soap, rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of products potentially harmful products
- After washing, always dry your penis properly before putting on your clothes
- Apply appropriate (recommended) moisturizing cream after taking a shower, especially one containing Shea butter and vitamin E.
- Always use products that are recommended for the skin on the genital area
- Use laundry products that are less likely to cause an allergic reaction (hypoallergenic) on your clothes
- Always wear loose-fitting cotton underwear, and loose clothes in your genital area.
- Keep your body adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of water
When to See a Doctor
Usually, dry skin on the penis does not pose a serious health problem. However, it can cause quite some discomfort, especially when it is itchy.
In case symptoms persist and home remedies fail to clear the condition, it might be an indication of other underlying conditions. You may want to see your doctor in case of the following:
- Your skin does not get better with home remedies or over-the-counter medications
- You regularly develop a dry skin on your penis
- Dry skin is accompanied by other symptoms such as redness
- Signs and symptoms that accompany the dryness such as itching interfere with sleeping
- You develop open marks, sores or infections on your penis due to intense scratching
- Large areas of your penile skin are scaling or peeling due to the dryness.
Resources and References
[showhide type=”links” more_text=”Show Sources and References” less_text=”Hide Sources and References”]
- Dry Penis Skin— Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment: https://www.man1health.com/2016/10/20/dry-penis-skin-causes-symptoms-and-treatment/
- Dry skin on penis: https://www.std-gov.org/blog/dry-skin-penis/
- What Causes Dry Skin on the Penis? https://www.healthline.com/health/mens-health/dry-skin-on-penis#home-remedies
- Top 30 Doctor insights on Stds That Cause Dry Skin: https://www.healthtap.com/topics/stds-that-cause-dry-skin
- What Causes Dry Skin on Your Penis? https://www.progentra.com/blog/causes-dry-skin-penis-something-concerned/
- Dry, itchy skin on the shaft of the penis: https://www.doctorspring.com/question/dry-itchy-skin-on-the-shaft-of-the-penis [/showhide]