Penile Rash: Causes, symptoms, Treatments & Prevention

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Do you have a penile rash? What causes it and how does it look like? This problem can cause panic in cases where the cause is not known. People assume it is an STI causing it or something worse.

However, this can also be a symptom of many other disease and conditions. Through this discussion, you will explore the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and remedies you can opt for in case you have a rash on your penis.

Why do I have rashes on my penis
Why Do I have rashes on my penis?

What is it?

Before we proceed to the causes of penus rash, we have to first understand what it means. Characterized by spots, sores, skin texture or color changes on the penis that can spread to other parts of the genitals, here is how a rash can be defined as:

“A rash indicates an abnormal change in skin color or texture. Rashes are usually caused by skin inflammation.” [WebMD]

This can have a number of causes for sure and may lead to different types of rashes. Let us focus on the various causes.


There are many possible causes for this problem. Some causes are more concerning than others. I mean some causes lead to severe symptoms than others.

Also, this may be due to something affecting the penis or a general body condition. Below are common causes.

1. Contact dermatitis

This is a skin condition that usually results when your penis skin or generally the skin reacts to irritants such as chemicals, certain plants, harsh detergents and cleansers among other irritants.

This will result in itching and reddening of the skin as well as the development of a rash on the penis or scrotum. The itching may be mild, moderate or severe and it should be avoided at all costs since it can damage the skin.

2.  Allergies and skin reactions

Men people especially are allergic to some substances and this can also result in this problem. The allergens will react with the skin to result in a rash, swelling and itching on the skin on the penis.

Such include condoms (lubricants and latex used to make condoms), vaginal fluids from sex partners. Certain medications can also trigger allergic reactions in men.

3. Skin Conditions- acne, eczema, and psoriasis

Many skin condition can also result in this problem. These conditions have many causes and thus further extend the spectrum of the causes of a rash on your penis. Just like the rest of the body skin, acne, eczema, and psoriasis can also be blamed for this rash. This is why diagnosing the exact cause may be a challenge.

4. Penile Infections

Bacterial and fungal infections are not uncommon on the penis. The warm and moist environment on the genitals provides a favorable condition for these microbes to survive.

If you are also not circumcised then you have an upper hand of suffering penile infections. It is usually hard to keep the place beneath the sheath clean and this promotes bacterial infection (balanitis) that would result in a rash on the penile head. Also, your vulnerability will be high especially for the fungal one if you are diabetic.

A fungal infection called jock itch is also among the most common infections that can rash on the genitals.

5. Certain medications 

There are also some drugs or medications that can also trigger this problem, not because of allergy but could this be just side effects of such medications. This is what experts refer to as ‘Fixed drug eruption.’ Blamed medications include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and painkillers.

Remember the resultant rash will depend on the medications that are blamed in this case.

6. Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

STDs are among the major causes that can also result in rashes on the penis. This can be transmitted from one person to the other especially through sex including anal and oral. Such STDs includes Chlamydia, syphilis and herpes zoster. Other conditions such as scabies and pubic lice can be transmitted sexually too, though they are not STDs.

Despite the fact the STDs can result in this problem, it is not necessarily a guarantee that rash on penis signifies sexually transmitted infections. You should consider other symptoms before assuming you have an STI.

7. Pearly Penile Papules (PPP)

These are usually small rashes on the penile head that are usually confused with those caused STDs. They are harmless dots that require no treatment to get rid of them. They usually stay for a longer time and thus termed as a penus rash that won’t go away.

8. Shaving bumps (razor bumps)

During shaving, irritation may occur depending on the pubic hair removal technique employed. This can potentially result in a rash on your genitals, especially at the base of your penis.

The resultant short and sharp hair on the groin area can grow back into the skin, what is medically termed ingrown hair. This can also lead to this problem.

The resultant rashes will be red and will occur on the shaft and the base of the penis.

9. More causes

Apart from the above causes, there are other causes that can also be blamed for rashes. Here are more:

  • Friction during sex or during walking and running especially when your tight undergarment.
  • Fordyce spots
  • Erythema rash on penis
  • Lichen Planus
  • Dehydration
  • Harsh weather conditions
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Diaper rash in children

Signs and Symptoms

There are many symptoms that appear alongside a rash considered that the cases are of a wide range. The will definitely depend on the various causes but, in many cases, they will tend to be itchy.

Also, these symptoms may be mild, moderate or severe but usually rashes on your manhood don’t serious symptoms unless caused something serious. This is why many of them don’t require complex treatments. Here the common symptoms:

  • Red lesions at the base, shaft, and head of the penis
  • Penis itching, irritation, discoloration or dryness
  • Redness, swelling, honey-colored, crusty blisters or sores
  • Difficulty when walking or sitting
  • Oily groin
  • Itchy bellend or glans
  • Thickening of the affected skin
  • Discharge from the lesions
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Large red bumps that are sore to touch
  • Bleeding and fever in extreme cases

In certain cases, some symptoms may be very severe especially if they are due to the underlying serious health problem. In such a case seek immediate medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treatments and Prevention

How do we treat or heal rash on penis? There are many treatment options that can be used to manage this problem. The specific one used will depend on the cause as well as how severe they are.

Treatments or remedies may involve over the counter creams, lotions or gels. Home remedies and prescribed medications can also be recommended.

For itchy rashes, OTC hydrocortisone creams or spray may relive them. Non-steroids are also available to treat the same. Creams, soaps, and lotions containing salicylic acid and hydrogen peroxide can also be helpful. Antihistamine treatments may also help in case of allergies. Actually, the main aim of treatment of rashes is to relieve pain, itching and to enhance faster healing of the rashes.

There are also many home products that can be used to treat itching, pain or generally cure the rashes on the penis. Some of these include Aloe Vera, honey, baking soda, tea tree oil, lavender oil, lemon juice, etc. These products are also capable of treating both bacterial and fungal infections. Just pick one remedy and use it consistently for success.

Yeast infections can also be treated using antifungals. Bacterial infection, on the other hand, can be treated using antibiotics.

Some treatment options also involve ‘avoid’ tips, for instance, you should in collation with your doctor avoid the irritants and allergens. You should also avoid tight and irritating clothing.

There are also more or/and complex treatment options that will be done by your doctor in case the Over The Counter and home solutions fail. In such cases, you are reminded to seek your doctor’s assistance immediately.


From this old saying, “preventing is better than cure” which of course has enough evidence of truth in it, we should always focus on preventing rather than treating. This applies to those that have preventable causes. Here are the tips that can be adapted to prevent them:

  • Practicing safe sex will prevent transmission of sexual infections
  • Eating a balanced diet. Consult your nutritionist over the same
  • Maintain a regular exercise routine
  • Keep proper hygiene of the groin area
  • Avoid the irritants and allergen after discovering them
  • Drink sufficient amount of water to avoid dehydration
  • Go for regular medical check-ups


For many underlying causes, the resulting symptoms can be managed by treating the primary cause. Usually, even skin conditions can be treated. Work directly with your doctor to properly diagnose and cure these rashes since they can be very embarrassing.

Warning: Don’t continue using over the counter treatment or home products if the rashes don’t respond to them, instead you should seek immediate medical intervention.

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