What Causes Dry Skin on Your Penis?

Medically Reviewed By Kevin Martinez, M.D.
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Dry skin can happen anywhere on your body, even your penis. There are many possible causes of this, including infection, skin conditions, and friction. Dry skin on your penis can happen for many reasons. This article will discuss some of the most common causes, how to treat them, and home remedies you can use to help manage dry skin on your penis.

Yeast infection

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Pepino de Mar studio/Stocksy United

Yeast infections are one of the most common medical annoyances that people report. They are typically curable and treatable with over-the-counter products and proper hygiene habits. Common yeast infections that affect people with penises are:

  • Jock itch: It typically appears as a rash that can spread from the genital area to the inner thighs, anal area, and buttocks.
  • Balanitis: It involves swelling and inflammation of the penis head.
  • Thrush: It involves irritation and burning of the penis head. It can also include a cheese-like discharge and unpleasant smell.

Contact your doctor if you:

  • experience a yeast infection for the first time
  • have a recurring yeast infection
  • are under 16 years old or more than 60 years old

Ways you can manage and treat yeast infections include:

  • washing or bathing regularly
  • changing your clothes frequently, especially in hot weather or when you sweat
  • taking medications or using antifungal creams

Learn more about male yeast infections here.

Eczema

Eczema is a common skin condition that can affect anyone, no matter what age or gender. People with eczema have skin that does not keep moisture in as it should. This causes the skin to become dry and easily irritated.

Symptoms of eczema include:

  • red or discolored skin
  • dry skin
  • itchiness

Genital eczema generally affects the:

  • penis
  • scrotum
  • groin
  • anus
  • skin between the buttocks cheeks

If you experience any kind of irritation of your penis, contact your doctor. They can recommend the most effective treatments for your circumstances.

Treatment for genital eczema may include:

  • emollients
  • topical steroids
  • ointments
  • anti-itch emollients
  • proper hygiene including:
    • washing with warm water and emollient soap
    • using fragrance-free products like soaps, deodorants, and detergents
    • handwashing before and after applying any emollients
  • wear loose-fitting clothing

Psoriasis

It is rare for psoriasis to only affect the genital area. However, up to two-thirds of people with psoriasis will experience it in their genital areas.

Common areas that genital psoriasis affects include the:

  • crease between your thighs and genital area, and the inner and upper thighs
  • penis or scrotum
  • skin between the buttocks, including around the anus, and skin above the genital area

The two types of psoriasis that are most common in the genital area are plaque psoriasis and inverse psoriasis.

Symptoms of plaque psoriasis include:

  • redness on skin with less pigment and a silvery or white buildup
  • purple or gray discoloration on skin with more pigment
  • pain
  • itchiness
  • cracked skin

Symptoms of inverse psoriasis include:

  • red or discolored skin
  • areas of smooth skin, not scaly
  • tight skin
  • pain
  • severe itching
  • skin splitting

Treatment for psoriasis includes:

  • topicals
  • biologics
  • oral treatments

Experts do not typically recommend biologics and oral treatments for genital psoriasis alone. However, they are sometimes helpful in treating it and psoriasis in other areas.

Always discuss any treatments with your doctor before using them.

Other causes of dry skin on your penis

There are many other factors that may cause dry skin patches on your penis. These factors include:

  • friction from sex or masturbation without lubrication
  • chafed skin
  • allergic reaction, often to latex
  • irritation from soaps or detergents

These causes are preventable. You can try the following to prevent dry or flaky skin on your penis:

  • Use lubrication during sexual activity.
  • Wear loosing-fitting clothing.
  • Avoid using latex condoms.
  • Wash with fragrance-free soaps and detergents.

Learn how to tell if penile discharge is smegma or something else.

Are there home remedies for dry skin on your penis?

There are ways you can help manage dry skin at home. If you have a sudden onset of dry skin on your penis, talk with your doctor about the most effective ways to manage it.

Home remedies for dry skin include the following:

  • Use moisturizers and fragrance-free detergents and soaps.
  • Limit your bath or shower to 5–10 minutes a day.
  • Apply moisturizer immediately after you bathe or shower.
  • Avoid scratching the area and using fabrics that may irritate your skin.

Summary

There are many possible causes of dry, flaky skin on your penis. These range from friction and chafing to chronic skin disorders like eczema or psoriasis.

Most of the time, dry skin on your penis is treatable. If you notice dry skin or a rash on your penis or in your genital area, contact your doctor. This is especially true if it is your first time experiencing this, or if you experience irritation that continues to come back.

You can manage dry skin at home with moisturizers, short showers or baths, and using fragrance-free soaps and detergents.

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Medical Reviewer: Kevin Martinez, M.D.
Last Review Date: 2022 Jul 25
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. 9 ways to banish dry skin. (2020). https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/9-ways-to-banish-dry-skin
  2. Eczema. (2020). https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/eczema
  3. Meeuwis, K. A. P., et al. (2018). Prevalence of genital psoriasis in patients with psoriasis. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09546634.2018.1453125
  4. Thrush in men and women. (2020). https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/thrush-in-men-and-women/
  5. What are yeast infections? (n.d.). https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/y/yeast-infections