It is not uncommon to have a pimple on penis, penile shaft, head (glans) or foreskin. Pimples may also develop on the scrotum, testicles or balls sack and near or around the penis. However, sometimes lesions that look like pimples on the penis are not actually pimples but rather other bumps or blisters. A red or white pimple-like bump often develop on the male private parts due to various infections or conditions. Occasionally, pimples or pimple-like bumps appear on or around the penis or scrotum after shaving. Explore the symptoms, causes, and diagnosis of pimples or pimple-like bumps on the penis or testicles. Also, learn how to get rid of and prevent them with treatments, medications and home remedies.
Summary of Page Contents
- 1 What is a Pimple on Penis?
- 2 Causes of Pimples on Penis
- 3 Pimple-Like Bumps on Penis, Penile Shaft, Foreskin or Scrotum
- 4 Pimple on Penile Shaft
- 5 Pimple on Penile Head (Glans)
- 6 Pimple Near Penis
- 7 Pimple on Foreskin
- 8 White Pimple on Penis
- 9 Red Pimple on Penis
- 10 Small Pimple on Penis
- 11 Big Pimple on Penis
- 12 How to Get Rid of Pimples on Penis, Penile Shaft or Scrotum
- 13 How to Prevent Pimples on Penis, Penile Shaft or Scrotum
- 14 Source and References
What is a Pimple on Penis?
A pimple is a small lesion formed on your skin when a hair follicle gets clogged. It may appear in the form of a papule or a pustule. The terms papule and pustule simply refer to the nature and appearance of the pimples. Pimples constitute a form of a mild acne. Mild acne may also paper in the form of whiteheads and blackheads, which are together referred to as comedones.
Severe acne occurs in two main forms nodular acne and cystic acne. Nodular acne is a mainly composed of nodules, while cystic acne is chiefly composed of cysts. Typically, severe acne develops alongside the mild forms of acne like pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads and usually makes the skin appear oily and bumpy.
Pimples can appear on any part of your skin. However, they tend to develop on face, chin, and cheeks as unsightly blemishes. Pimples are also common in regions such as the chest, back, scalp, forehead, and groin area.
Pimples or pimple-like bumps might also develop on the genital area. On the male private parts, they can appear on the penis, penile shaft, and scrotum. On the female private parts, the pimples or pimple like-bumps can occur inside vagina, on the vulva or vaginal lips (labia minora and labia majora).
However, there are many other lesions resembling pimples that may develop on the vagina. Therefore a pimple-like bump on the penis, penile shaft, glans, foreskin or scrotum may actually not be pimples as such.
Causes of Pimples on Penis
Although the exact causes of pimples on penis is not known, dermatologists have suggested factors that could influence their development. The factors listed below refer only to the causes of actual pimples on the penis. The causes of other lesions on penis that may look like pimples on the penis are discussed in later sections of this post.
- Hormonal Imbalance: Usually, hormonal changes occur during the various stages of growth, especially adolescence. However, the state of your mind (stress) may also cause hormonal changes. Hormonal imbalance caused by these changes may trigger secretion of excess sebum by the skin, which may cause clogged hair follicles. As a result, pimples may develop on the penis and other parts of the body, especially the face.
- Stressful Life: When you experience continual or severe stress it usually causes physiological changes that might trigger hormonal changes. In case the physiological processes lead to secretion of excess sebum, your hair follicles may get clogged. This may cause pimples to appear in any part of your body, including the penis, penile shaft or scrotum.
- Poor Hygiene: Poor hygiene in your private parts may cause skin oils, sebum, dead skin, and bacteria to accumulate on your penis and the surrounding area. This usually causes clogged hair follicles which may result in the development of pimples on your penis.
- Allergic Reactions: The body care products and fabrics you use, such as your underclothes, may trigger allergic reactions on your skin in your private parts. This may cause your skin to react and undergo changes that may lead to the formation of pimples on your penis, penile shaft, and scrotum.
- Poor Diet: The foods you consume might constitute a poor diet that affects the health of your skin. For example, processed foods, fast foods or greasy foods are likely to cause a build-up of fats under the skin. The excess fats may cause secretion of more body oils, leading to clogged follicles. This is likely to trigger the development of pimples not only on your face and neck but also on your penis, penile shaft or scrotum.
- Oily Skin Type: Naturally, your skin produces body oils that help moisturize your skin. However, having an oily skin means that it is likely to secrete excess oils and cause blocked follicles. Oily skin usually causes pimples to appear on your face or neck. However, they can also occur in other parts of the body, including on or near your penis, penile shaft or testicles.
- Physical Trauma: Trauma on your skin may be caused by harsh scrubbing, frequent friction or rubbing on the skin by your clothes or when you try to pick or squeeze other blandishes on your skin. The pressure applied during the trauma may push dead skin and bacteria on the skin into the pores. This leads to blockage of the pores and hence the development of pimples on the area affected, including your private parts.
- Some Medications: The medications you use might cause allergic reactions on your skin. As a result, pimples may form on your skin, including your penis and scrotum. Usually, such reactions cause secretion of excess body oils or itchy sensations that lead to
- Hereditary Factors: For some families, pimple on penis or penile shaft run in the family. This means that pimples tend to develop on the penis, penile shaft or scrotum of many family members of the lineage. This is an indication that hereditary factors influence the development of pimples.
Pimple-Like Bumps on Penis, Penile Shaft, Foreskin or Scrotum
Apparently, most of the bumps that look like pimples on the penis or penile shaft are actually not pimples. Rather, they are other skin lesions which are that look like pimples. It is wise for anyone who develops bumps on and around the penis to visit the doctor immediately.
A pimple-like lesion may also form near or around the penis. Common pimple-like bumps on the penis or penile shaft, foreskin or scrotum include:
1. Ingrown Hair Bumps
An ingrown hair bump is formed when hair grows beneath the skin, or when it grows back into the skin. This may happen when the hair around the penis, penile shaft or on the scrotum shaved, waxed, or plucked. The bump formed usually resembles a pimple and a blister.
When an ingrown hair develops, small round bumps usually form around the ingrown hair. The bumps may get filled with pus. Also, the skin around the bumps may become darker. Generally, men with thick curly hair are likely to develop ingrown hair on the penis or scrotum.
Although ingrown hair bumps clear up on their own, you may need to measures to get rid of them or speed up their disappearance.
To get rid of ingrown hair bumps, gently pull out the hair using a sterile pair of tweezers or a needle. Alternatively, you can wash and gently exfoliate the skin around the ingrown hair. This will help the hair return to the surface of the skin.
Hair bumps on male private parts can be treated by exfoliating the affected area with salicylic acid or glycolic acid. This helps the hair follicles to open. You can also use a benzoyl peroxide cream to help reduce redness or dry out the affected area, promoting faster healing.
2. Thrush in Men (Yeast infection)
Thrush in men (candidal balanitis) can also appear as pimple-like bumps on the penis. It is a fungal infection caused by a yeast fungus (Candida) mainly Candida albicans species. Candida fungi are naturally present in the body and on the skin but at low levels that do not cause problems. However, in some conditions, it may thrive and grow to numbers that result in thrush (candidiasis)
The typical symptoms include:
- itchy rash on penis
- red skin on penis
- irritation pain and swelling on the penis
- itching around the head of the penis
- a lumpy discharge under the foreskin
- pain when urinating or during sex.
The risk factors for thrush in men include the use of antibiotics, weekend immune system, poor diet, diabetes, poor hygiene and being uncircumcised.
Thrush in men is treated using antifungal topical creams or oral antifungal drugs which may be available over-the counter or by prescription.
3. Pearly Penile Papules
If the pimple-like bumps are located at the base of the penis glans, they are likely to be pearly penile papules (PPP) Pearly penile papules are also called hirsutoid papillomas or hirsuties coronae glandis. They are small bumps with dome-shaped tops that develop around of the corona (ridge) or sulcus (groove) of the penis glans.
The bumps are smooth and normally flesh-colored. However, they may look pinkish, whitish, yellowish or almost translucent. Their size varies from less than 1 mm to about 3 mm.
Pearly penile papules are not an infection although they look abnormal. Hence, they are not contagious and cannot be transmitted through sexual intercourse. They are considered to be an anatomical variation rather disease or a health condition.
The exact causes of pearly penile papules are not known. They can be diagnosed by physical examination and treated (removed) by carbon dioxide laser surgery, radiosurgery, cryosurgery, or excisional surgery. However, treatment is usually not necessary as they do not pose any health threat.
4. Septic Spots
The pimple-like skin lesions might be septic spots. These are white or yellow pus-filled spots caused by a bacterial infection. They can appear anywhere, but are common around the nappy area, including the penis and scrotum, or in the neck, arm or leg creases of a baby.
They look like small blisters and the skin around them may be red continually exude a fluid. Septic spots can be resolved by cleansing them with cotton wool swabs soaked in chlorhexidine 0.1% emollient. In case they persist, they treated with antibiotics, which clear the infection and prevent it from spreading,
5. Genital Warts
The pimple-like bumps on the penis, penile shaft or scrotum may be genital warts. Genital warts develop as a result of a viral infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD). It can also affect the anal region.
Genital warts appear as growths or bumps that are flesh-colored or gray. They are usually painless but may be accompanied by itching, discharge, burning and, in rare cases, bleeding.
Genital warts can affect both men and women. For Males, the bumps develop in the genital area, including, the penile shaft, glans, and the scrotum. It may also develop near or around the penis and in or around the anus.
Genital warts are usually treated by topical prescription medications such as podophyllin, imiquimod (Aldara), podofilox (Condylox) and trichloroacetic acid (TCA). In case the bumps fail to heal, they are removed by surgery therapies including:
- Electrocautery, or burning off the warts
- Cryosurgery, or freezing off the warts
- Laser therapy
- Excision, or cutting off the warts
- Interferon injections
Genital warts can lead to serious complications in some cases. Some types of HPV that causes genital warts are known to be associated with penile cancer and anal cancer.
6. Genital Herpes
A pimple on your private parts could be as a result of genital herpes. This is a viral infection that is caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV). Genital herpes can affect both men and women and can be transmitted by sexual contact.
Genital herpes usually causes painful red bumps or blisters that might ooze on the genitals and the surrounding areas. Often, it is not easy to distinguish between genital herpes bumps and other conditions or infections like pimples or ingrown hair bumps.
In males, the pimple-like bumps or blisters usually appear on the penile shaft, glans scrotum and the area near or around the penis. The small blisters may break open and cause painful sores.
Genital herpes is usually diagnosed with a physical examination and confirmed with a swab test or a blood test. This is because there are other conditions or infections that may display symptoms similar to those of genital herpes
There is no cure for genital herpes, just like any other viral infections. However, the symptoms of genital herpes can be controlled using antiviral medications.
To prevent contracting genital herpes, avoid sex without protection or be in a faithful relationship. In case you have contracted genital herpes, it is necessary to avoid sex, especially without protection, until the symptoms go away. This will prevent you from spreading the infection.
7. Fordyce Spots
If you have small pimple-like spots on the penis they could be Fordyce spots. Fordyce spots are small raised spots or bumps which are usually pale red, bright red, yellow-white, purple or skin-colored. Fordyce spots occur naturally as part the anatomy. Though not noticeable, they are present at birth and may enlarge due to hormonal imbalance.
Fordyce spots are simply abnormally dilated blood vessels covered by thickened skin. According to Healthline, “Fordyce glands, are enlarged oil glands. They are completely normal, harmless, and painless”. They are not itchy although they may bleed during or after sexual intercourse.
Fordyce spots can affect both men and women. In females, they usually appear on the labia (minora or majora). In men, the spots usually appear on penis, penile shaft, foreskin or scrotum (balls sack). Also, both men and women can have Fordyce spots on lips and on the inside of cheeks.
Since Fordyce spots are harmless physiological defects, they do not usually need any treatment. However, for cosmetic purposes, they can be treated by electro desiccation (CO2 laser), pulsed dye lasers or micro-punch technique, chemical cauterization. They can also be treated with topical ointments such as bichloracetic acid and topical tretinoin (Avita, Retin-A).
8. Skin Tags on Penis
If skin tags develop of your penis, penile shaft or scrotum, they might look like pimples. Skin tags are soft, flexible and oddly shaped growths that are attached to the skin by a stalk-like stem of flesh.
Skin tags can grow anywhere on your skin. However, they are common on the neck, eyelids, nipples, penis and vagina, groin and anus. Skin tags usually have the same color as the surrounding skin although they can have a range of colors, especially pink or black.
The actual causes of skin tags are not known. However, like skin tags on other areas, it is thought that skin tags on penis are caused by friction due to rubbing, hormonal changes, old age, diabetes type 2 and hereditary factors.
Skin tags on penis, like those in other areas, do not need to be removed are usually harmless. However, they may become inflamed, irritated and painful when they are accidentally nudged or when they get infected. In this case, they may need to be treated.
Skin tags on penis may be removed for cosmetic purposes or when they become too big and cause discomfort. Removal of Skin tags on penis may also be necessary if they cause annoyance or make you feel embarrassed, especially during sexual intercourse. The common methods of removing skin tags include:
- Excision, or cutting the skin tags off
- Cryosurgery, or freezing the skin tags off
- Electrocautery, or burning the skin tags off
- Laser therapyPenile Cancer
9. Penile Cancer
Although rare, cancer of the penis can develop and cause a pimple-like bump or lump on the penis or penile shaft. This happens when normal and healthy cells in the penis begin to grow uncontrollably, forming a cancerous tumor. The typical symptoms of penile precancerous and cancerous conditions include:
- A flat or raised bump, lump or mass on the penis.
- Sores or ulcer that does not heal easily or within a few weeks
- Discolored and usually thickened spots or patches on the penis
- Painful, itching, burning sensation on the penis.
- Irritation and redness on the penis
- Discharge from the penis
- Bleeding from the sores or ulcer on the penis.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin
Cancer of the penis is usually diagnosed by biopsy after being suspected from these symptoms. The method used to treat cancer depends on cancer stage. The common treatments include immunotherapy, targeted therapy, excision surgery chemotherapy, laser surgery, and radiation therapy.
See the doctor as soon as possible when you suspect penile cancer. This is because earlier stages of cancer are easier and inexpensive to treat. On the other hand, later stages are difficult, painful and very expensive to treat whereas too late stages may be fatal as they may not be treatable.
10. Molluscum Contagiosum (Water Warts)
The pimple-like bumps might be as a result of molluscum contagiosum. This is a common harmless skin disease that is caused by a virus called Molluscum Contagiosum virus (MCV). It produces benign bumps, or raised lesions on the superficial layers of the skin.
The flesh-colored, white, or pink lesions are typically dome-shaped with a dent in the middle. They are usually painless and can appear anywhere on the skin. On the private parts of males, they normally appear on the penile shaft although they can also appear on the foreskin and the scrotum.
Molluscum contagiosum spread by direct contact with the lesions on an infected person or by contact with contaminated items, such as a towels or clothes.
It can be treated through surgery by cryotherapy, laser therapy, and curettage. They can also be treated by topical therapy with creams containing acids or chemicals that destroy the bumps.
- Other Pimple-like Bumps on Penis
Other conditions and infections that may cause red or white pimple-like spots of bumps on the penis, penile shaft or scrotum include the following.
- Peyronie’s disease: This refers to a rare condition that usually causes a thickened area or a hard lump in the shaft of the penis.
- Lichen planus: This is a non-infectious rash of purple-red bumps that are often itchy. The condition can affect many areas of the body, including the penis.
- Chlamydia bumps
- Gonorrhea bumps (STD)
- Syphilis bumps (STD)
Pimple on Penile Shaft
A pimple can form of the penile shaft. Other pimple-like bumps that may appear to the penile shaft include genital warts, genital herpes, Fordyce spots, penile cancer bumps, and water warts
Pimple on Penile Head (Glans)
Pimple like bumps that appear at the base of your penis glans, they are likely to be pearly penile papules (PPP). They often appear around the base of the penis head (glans) Genital warts bumps can also develop on the penis glans.
Pimple Near Penis
A pimple can form near your penis. However, the pimple like bumps near your penis are also likely to be ingrown hair bumps or razor bumps. Bumps caused by herpes or genital warts may also appear near or around the penis.
Pimple on Foreskin
A normal pimple can develop on the foreskin. However, Fordyce Spots and water blister (molluscum contagiosum) are also common pimple-like bumps that can form on the foreskin. They can also appear on the penile shaft, foreskin or scrotum (balls).
White Pimple on Penis
A pus filled pimple will have a whitish head. Other pimple-like bumps on the penis that are white include Fordyce spots, water blisters, and pus filled ingrown hair bumps.
Red Pimple on Penis
The skin around a pimple on penis may appear red when it becomes inflamed. Red pimple-like bumps on the penis may also be an indication of genital herpes, Fordyce spots, and septic spots or penile cancer.
Small Pimple on Penis
If the small spots on the penis are not pimples, then they are likely to be other small pimple-like bumps. These include Fordyce spots, pearly penile papules, ingrown hair bumps or genital herpes.
Big Pimple on Penis
You can develop a large pimple on your penis. However, other pimple-like big bumps that may form on your penis include skin tags or ingrown hair bumps or cyst.
How to Get Rid of Pimples on Penis, Penile Shaft or Scrotum
There are many of ways of getting rid of pimples on penis, penile shaft or scrotum. They include home remedies or treatment with over the counter or prescription medications. Treatment for bumps that look like pimples are outlined in various sections the bumps are discussed.
Home remedies for Pimples on Penis
If you choose to get rid of a pimple on your penis naturally using home remedies, make sure that the remedy you go for does not irritate the sensitive skin on or around the penis.
The choice of a remedy may be influenced by the exact position of the pimple on your private parts. Some of the common natural home remedies for pimples on near or around the vagina or vaginal lips include:
- Ice: Hold an ice cube on the pimple for a few minutes. Do this once every day to dry it out and heal it fast.
- Honey: Dab honey directly on the pimple for about 15 minutes before washing. Repeat this once every day.
- Garlic: Rub a piece of garlic on the pimple and leave it for about 5 minutes before washing it out. Repeat this every day.
- Tea tree oil: Use your finger to apply some tea tree oil on the pimple and leave it for about 15 minutes. Do this every day.
- Aloe Vera gel: Apply the Aloe Vera Gel to the pimple. Let it stay for 15 minutes before washing it out. Do this daily.
- Olive oil: Before going to bed, apply olive oil on the pimple. Leave it overnight to heal the pimple. Repeat this a couple of times.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Apply diluted apple cider vinegar to the pimple and leave it overnight. Repeat this three times in a week.
- Aspirin: Apply aspirin paste on the affected area and wash it out after 30 minutes. Repeat this procedure daily.
How to Treat Pimples on Penis
You can treat a pimple on the penis, penile shaft or scrotum using the following over the counter or prescription medications:
- Over-The-Counter Medications for Pimples
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid
- Azelaic acid
- Prescription Medications for Pimples
- Antibiotics e.g. tetracycline, especially if the pimples get infected
How to Prevent Pimples on Penis, Penile Shaft or Scrotum
You can prevent or reduce the chances of getting a pimple or pimples on your penis by taking the following measures.
- Observe proper hygiene: Keep the penis and the area around it clean always. Take a shower regularly with an antiseptic toilet soap to keep bacteria
- Avoid irritating the penis: Avoid anything that causes friction on or around the penis. Try to avoid scratching your private parts, especially with dirty hands. Avoid underclothes that have a rough
- Manage your stress: Manage your stress to check hormonal imbalance and live a healthy life. See a psychiatrist to help you if you are unable to manage your stress.
- Improve your diet: Eat a balanced diet in order to maintain healthy skin that does not have extra fats. Also, keep your skin healthy by including plenty of foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, nuts, grains, and dairy products in your diet regularly.
- Avoid allergic products: Avoid using cosmetic products that may trigger allergic reactions on your skin. Opt for alternative products which are friendly to your skin.
Source and References
- Thrush in Men (Male Candidiasis): Symptoms, Treatments: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/246615.php
- What is this lump on my penis? http://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/879.aspx?categoryid=61&subcategoryid=616
- Molluscum Contagiosum on Penis- How common is it? http://www.dermatalk.com/blogs/viral-infection/molluscum-contagiosum-on-penis-how-common-is-it/
- Genital Warts (HPV Infection): http://www.emedicinehealth.com/genital_warts/article_em.htm
- Molluscum Contagiosum: http://www.healthline.com/health/molluscum-contagiosum#symptoms3
- Understanding Fordyce Spots: http://www.healthline.com/health/fordyce-spots#overview1
- Genital Warts: http://www.healthline.com/health/std/genital-warts#risk-factors4
- Common Symptoms of Genital Herpes: http://www.webmd.com/genital-herpes/common-symptoms#1
- How to Get Rid of Pimples Fast: http://www.top10homeremedies.com/how-to/how-to-get-rid-of-pimples-fast.html
- Treating and Preventing Ingrown Pubic Hair: http://www.healthline.com/health/treating-preventing-ingrown-vaginal-hair#overview1