Why Is My Penis Skin Peeling?

Medically Reviewed By Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI
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If your penis skin is peeling, this may be due to friction or an allergic reaction. However, other conditions can also cause peeling skin on the penis. Keep reading to learn more about the causes of peeling skin on the penis, how to treat it, and when to contact a doctor.

A peeled banana surrounded by the peel pieces against a blue background
Juan Moyano/Stocksy United

Chafing and friction

Repeated rubbing of the penile area can cause irritation. This can also cause:

  • peeling and flaking skin
  • pain
  • sensitivity

Common causes of chafing and friction in this area include:

  • tight clothing or underwear
  • sexual activity without lubrication
  • masturbation without lubrication


To help with irritation caused by chafing and friction, you can use lubricant when engaging in sexual intercourse or masturbation. Wearing loose cotton clothing around your genitals can also help prevent chafing from recurring.

Allergic reaction

Contact dermatitis is a reaction that happens when you come into contact with something you are sensitive or allergic to.

Common irritants include:

  • cleaners
  • perfumes
  • fragrant soaps
  • hand sanitizer
  • rubber
  • poison oak or ivy
  • bleach

Symptoms of contact dermatitis typically occur within a few hours or days of coming in contact with the irritant. Symptoms include:

  • dry and cracked skin
  • redness or discoloration
  • itchiness
  • blisters


Contact dermatitis typically clears on its own after you stop using the substance that caused the irritation. However, in the meantime, treatments are available to help ease the symptoms.

Treatments include:

  • emollients
  • corticosteroids
  • steroid tablets

Read more about contact dermatitis.

Jock itch

Jock itch is a skin infection caused by a fungus commonly found in gyms and locker rooms. It causes a rash that typically appears around the groin area. However, it can also affect the:

  • penis
  • scrotum
  • anus
  • upper thigh

The rash from jock itch may appear scaly around the edges. This can look like peeling skin on your penis. Other characteristics of jock itch rash include:

  • redness or discoloration
  • raised areas
  • oozing
  • a reddish-brown center
  • itchiness


Treatment for jock itch typically involves keeping the area clean and dry, wearing loose clothing, and using antifungal creams or powders.

Read more about jock itch.


Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition. More than 31 million people in the United States experience some form of eczema.

Itchy skin is the most common symptom of the condition. It also causes:

  • scaly patches
  • dry skin
  • rashes
  • blisters
  • skin infections

Eczema can affect any part of your body, including your genital area. This includes the:

  • penis
  • scrotum
  • groin
  • anus
  • crease between the buttocks


To treat genital eczema, it is important to speak with your doctor. Some over-the-counter treatments can worsen eczema in that area. Typically your doctor will recommend emollients and topical steroids.

Read more about eczema.


Balanitis is a skin condition that typically affects the head of the penis. It causes the area to become red or discolored, painful, and swollen. Balanitis more commonly affects those who have not been circumcised.

Balanitis can cause a thick, smelly discharge under the foreskin. It can also cause ulcerated or scaly lesions on the head of the penis.


Treatment for balanitis generally involves proper hygiene habits, such as washing your penis daily, including under the foreskin. If there is an underlying cause, your doctor may recommend a mild steroid cream, antifungal cream, or antibiotics.

Read more about balanitis.


Psoriasis is a skin condition that affects approximately 7.5 million adults in the United States. It can cause patches of raised plaques or scales on your skin.

Psoriasis can occur anywhere on your body, including in your genital area. This includes the:

  • penis or scrotum
  • vulva
  • crease between your buttocks
  • inner and upper thigh
  • skin above your genital area or pubis


It is important to speak with your doctor about the most effective treatment for psoriasis on this part of your body. Some treatments can make it worse.

Treatment for genital psoriasis typically includes:

  • topicals
  • biologics
  • oral treatments

Read more about genital psoriasis.

When to see a doctor

Contact your doctor if you notice any changes to the skin of your penis. Many of the causes of peeling skin on your penis require medical treatment.

If you have itching or discomfort in your genital area, speak with your doctor.

Home remedies to treat penis skin peeling

There are some things you can do to help manage the symptoms that go along with the causes of peeling skin on your penis. These include:

  • Wash your penis daily.
  • Wear clean underwear.
  • Wear loose clothing in that area.
  • Keep the area clean and dry.
  • Use lubrication when engaging in sexual activities.


There are many possible causes for peeling skin on your penis. These include chafing, skin conditions, and infections.

Many of these causes are not serious but may still require medical treatment. Contact your doctor if you notice any changes to the skin of your penis, including peeling.

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Medical Reviewer: Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI
Last Review Date: 2022 Dec 2
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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.