The penis is simply the male sex organ. It develops gradually from birth and achieves or reaches its full size during puberty. Regardless of how uncomfortable or scary as the thought of dryness on the skin of the penis might be, there is no need to fret. This is due to the fact that there is also a scientific reason which at the end of the day would most likely not be as severe as your imagination. Do not be alarmed as the presence of dry skin on the penis is not usually a common symptom of genital warts or genital herpes, as a matter of fact, it is not associated with any known sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Symptoms Associated with Dry Skin on the Penis
The presence of dry skin on the penis could be said to be usually accompanied by the appearance of a few symptoms. These symptoms usually occur independently but more than only one symptom could also appear at a given time. These symptoms are:
- Peeling flaking or itching of skin surrounding the penis
- Redness of skin of the penis
- The occurrence of the tightness of skin of the penis, most especially after water-related activities such as bathing and swimming.
- The appearance of rashes on the skin of the penis. At times these rashes have well-defined borders.
- The occurrence of itchy rashes
- The occurrence of painful rashes
- The appearance of deep crack lines on the skin of the penis. These deep lines could lead to bleeding.
- The appearance of finer lines or surface cracks on the skin of the penis.
Causes of Dryness in Penile Skin
- The first cause we will be taking into consideration as to the cause of dry skin on the penis is the effect of an allergy. This is particularly common. It could be that you are allergic to a substance that came in contact with or that regularly comes in contact with the penis itself or the penile region. These substances could be:
- Personal deodorant
- Or even spermicides, etc.
Some specific symptoms associated with dryness of penis skin as a result of allergies include:
- Swelling on the penis (especially after use of a latex-based condom)
- Red and itchy rashes appear.
- Development of a runny nose
- Noticeable wheezing
- Watery eyes, etc.
The last four symptoms are rare and are usually accompanying symptoms. This dryness due to allergies is somewhat easy to tend to as it simply requires you to stop using whatever irritated you and nurse yourself back to proper “penile” health. For instance, if latex condoms give one allergy, all he has to do is find latex-free condoms (such as silicon or even polyurethane) to use when he has dealt with the effects of his allergies. Also, ensure it is not treated with spermicide. Some symptoms that never occur here include testicle pain, pain during urination and even fever. Although dryness of skin on the penis should generally be looked into, allergy-related dryness can be treated by the individual in question (self-treatment).
- The second cause we will be considering is the unnecessary and regular wearing of tight clothing or chafing. If tight clothes are regularly worn around the penis, they could end up rubbing or chafing against the surrounding skin. This would create friction, which would eventually lead to dryness of skin of the penis or around the penis. Moreover, wearing tight underwear regularly could lead to building up of moisture under the foreskin (for those who are not circumcised) which would inadvertently lead to the development of fungus while considerably increasing chances of an infection. To this end, it would be a better choice to use soft and supportive cotton underwear. But the general clothing (in this case the pair of trousers or shorts) should be made of light breathable fabrics.
- The third cause we will consider is eczema. There are various forms of eczema, among these various forms there are a few that affect the penis. Some of the forms of eczema that affect the penis are irritant contact eczema, atopic eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, to mention but a few. Although the occurrence of eczema could lead to dry skin on the penis, it could also lead to:
- Various sizes of bumps under the skin
- Intensive itchy sensation
Assuming eczema is responsible for the dryness of penile skin and region you are experiencing, it would be wise to ask your doctor to refer you to a professional (dermatologist) for a more precise diagnosis and subsequent prescription of treatment.
Usually, to kick-off treatment of this kind of eczema, a topical corticosteroid of low strength is used. The prescribed drugs need you to be meticulous in their application, doing exactly what the doctor said. This is due to the fact that the skin of the penis is much more sensitive and thinner in comparison with the skin found on other body parts.
- The fourth cause we will be considering is the practice of dry sex or masturbation. During a prolonged engagement in sexual activities such as masturbation or even intercourse, lubrication is required. A lack of masturbation could also lead to dry skin on the penis. Besides, in addition, to prevent the occurrence of dry penis skin, the use of a lubricant could make masturbation and sex much more comfortable. Lubricants generally come in three major types such as:
- Oil-based lubricants
- Water-based lubricants and
- Silicone-based lubricants.
Chemical-free or organic lubricants are preferable as these do not contain irritants such as glycerine or parabens. The least likely lubricants to cause irritations are the water-based lubricants.
- The fifth considered cause will be the use of drying soap. Use of extremely harsh soaps or cleansers could serve to cause dryness on the skin of the penis. It is not outside the realm of possibility to consider using water only to wash the penis. But if you want to use a cleanser or soap, use a very mild soap or cleanser. You could even consider using baby shampoo. While for your clothes, especially your underwear, it would be wise to think about using fabric softeners and hypoallergenic laundry detergent.
- The sixth causative agent will be psoriasis. There are various forms of psoriasis but when it comes to the genitals, the most common one is inverse psoriasis. This would initially exhibit symptoms such as dry and red lesions on the skin of the penis. But careful examination would also reveal little red patches on the shaft or glens of the penis. For treatment of this condition, a low strength topical corticosteroid is also prescribed. If the use of these corticosteroids proves to be ineffective, then the treatment would upgrade to ultraviolet light therapy.
- Presence of yeast infection. Yeast infections can make it an excruciating process to urinate or even engage in sexual activities. The presence of yeast infection could be surmised by:
- Dryness of and peeling of skin on the penis
- The presence of rashes
- Production of thick and uneven discharge under the foreskin of the penis
- Presence of white patches on the skin of the penis
- An irritation or even swelling around the head of the penis.
There are available over-the-counter antifungal creams and preparations that you can use while adhering to the prescription of the manufacturers. But before treatment of any kind is started, it is vital to ensure that the region is clean and dry. The application of the antifungal in the treatment of penile yeast infection depends largely on the individual. Usually, it is applied to the head of the penis but in uncircumcised persons, it is applied under the foreskin. Application of medication is to persist until all symptoms are thoroughly cleared. This recovery could take up to ten days and it would not be advisable engage in sex during any stage of treatment at all. But when you discover that your symptoms continue, immediately seek your doctor`s assistance while informing him of your failed treatment method.
- We also have irritant contact dermatitis. This is similar to allergies discussed earlier. It is also quite common. It involves a skin reaction caused by directly coming in contact with an irritating substance but not necessarily a bacteria virus or any infectious agent. Some common irritants include water, soap, bleach, and other cleaning chemicals and agents. Given a sufficient amount of time, any substance could become an irritant. This condition (contact dermatitis) is not contagious.
Usually, restaurant workers, mechanics, housekeepers, healthcare providers and even beauticians could be susceptible to this condition. Some symptoms could include stiff and dry penile skin, cracks and blisters with sores (in some cases) and even swelling at times. It does not cause any colour appearance (apart from red). But the major symptoms are:
- Itchy Rashes
- The appearance of rashes with clearly defined or outlined borders.
- Red coloured rashes
- Rough patches on penile skin, etc.
The prescribed medicinal treatment of a physician is the best solution as self-medication could complicate matters to a large extent if the inappropriate cream or ointment is used. To be more certain, physicians make a diagnosis based on patient history and analysis of substances that are part of the everyday life of the patient by analysing the infected penile skin. Logically, it stands to reason that the cause of the irritation should be avoided during treatment and even after treatment.
- Lichen sclerosus is another cause of the occurrence of dry skin on the penis. This is a chronic condition when compared to the other cases we have considered. It is usually indicated by the presence of white patches on the skin with a wrinkly texture and thin skin which is often compared to and said to be similar to “cigarette paper”. The major symptoms include inflammation, itching, bleeding and pain in the penis or the penile region. So the symptoms could be outlined as :
- Serious itching or burning sensation
- Occasional pains in the penis
- The sensation of pain during sexual activities
- Excruciating urination process, etc.
This is not a condition that one ignores as it does not go away but instead worsens with time. It (lichen sclerosus) could be said to be a benign condition and it could also cause disfigurement and serious discomfort. The available options for treatment involve:
- Use of oral medication
- Employment of phototherapy
- Topical medications are available
- In some extreme cases, the men need to be circumcised in order to remove the damaged skin.
Care of the Penis
Care of the penis in relation to the treatment of dryness of skin on the penis is crucial to the effectiveness of the treatment. First and foremost, it would be beneficial to abstain from sexual activities (including sex and masturbation) for a minimum of 24 hours before commencing treatment. It would also be helpful to ingest a lot of fluids to keep the body hydrated, especially water. Remember that when taking your bath, it is essential to use mild products designed for use on sensitive skin (as the skin on the penis is very sensitive). If you choose not to use soap in washing your penis, it is advisable for you to make use of a sufficient quantity of warm water to thoroughly wash the penis. But if you do make use of any product, also completely rinse off the product` traces. Get a moisturizing cream to apply on the penis after bathing. Since hand lotions and regular body lotions could trigger allergic reactions due to their chemical constituents, it is advisable to use a cream dedicated to penile use. A product containing vitamin E or/ and Shea butter would be more appropriate in functioning as a moisturiser.
Additionally, be sure to avoid sexual activities, at least until you are certain that the cause of the dry skin is not fungal in nature. But even though it is not fungal, treatment would be more effective if you avoid sexual activities until you are completely healed. Be sure to check back with your doctor or physician if after a while the desired improvements have not been observed. Do not be shy or the condition could worsen.