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Itchy Penile Skin Treatment: What Should You Do?

Medically reviewed by Mike Kenneth Go Doratan, MD · General Surgery · The Medical City Ortigas

Written by JB Aquino · Updated Jun 25, 2021

Itchy Penile Skin Treatment: What Should You Do?

An itchy penis can bring irritation, worry, and embarrassment. Dry itchy penile skin is also uncomfortable. When the itch becomes severe, it can disrupt normal routine.

Penile itching may also come with other genitourinary symptoms like: 

Other concurrent symptoms may include:

  • Signs of flu-like fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, cough, aches, and pains
  • Itchiness in other parts of the body
  • Nausea with or without vomiting

An itchy penis is not an emergency. But it can indicate a contagious disease. See a doctor at once if the penile itching persists along with:

  • Penile discharge or pus
  • Fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Rash, swelling, sores or ulcers

Penis Health: Common Conditions and Management Tips

What are the Causes of Penile Itching?  

Penile itching has a variety of causes, but can be characterized as inflammatory, neoplastic, and infectious.


Lichen sclerosis

Lichen sclerosis is a scarring condition presenting with hard, white plaques on the glans penis sometimes involving the urethral meatus in patients age 30-50. It gives a “mosaic” appearance as the lesions alternate with uninvolved tissue. Aside from itching, it presents with pain in urination bleeding during sexual intercourse.

Contact dermatitis

A rash may develop on your penis upon contact with allergens found in soaps, fragrances, and fabric. Contact dermatitis can lead to dry, itchy penile skin, a red rash on the genitals, and small bumps.

Lichen planus 

This inflammatory condition appears on the hair, nails, and skin, including the penis. It can produce itchy, flat bumps or blisters.


This chronic condition occurs when skin cells develop too fast. It produces red patches of itchy, scaly skin on the penile shaft and other areas of the penis. The result is an accumulation of these cells on the skin.


This occurs when small mites burrow beneath the skin surface. They are usually found in the skinfolds, as well as the area surrounding the penis and the male genitals. Scabies is intensely itchy, leaving small burrow tracks on the penis.


Bowen’s disease and Erythroplasia of Queyrat

Bowen’s disease represents non-invasive squamous cell cancer (SCCi) and can occur anywhere on the skin including the penis and scrotum. It presents as an asymptomatic slow-growing, well-demarcated, red plaque with scale; Erythroplasia of Queyrat refers to SCCis of the glans penis and prepuce presenting with a shiny, velvety, red plaque with well-defined borders.

These lesions, especially when infected, can cause severe itching. If left untreated, these can progress to full blown penile cancer.



This occurs when small mites burrow beneath the skin surface. They are  usually found in the skinfolds, as well as the area surrounding the penis and the male genitals. Scabies is intensely itchy, leaving small burrow tracks on the penis.

Genital herpes

This sexually transmitted infection (STI) can stay dormant in the body for a long time. Because of this, people with the disease may not know they are infected. Besides itching, men may also have tiny groups of blisters filled with fluid on the body.

Genital warts

These tiny bumps are due to human papillomavirus (HPV). The cauliflower-like warts are flesh-colored. They may itch and bleed during sexual contact.

Candidiasis (male thrush) 

This condition is also known as male yeast infection. Besides an itchy penis, candidiasis can also bring about a burning sensation, redness, rash, and discharge that looks like cottage cheese beneath the foreskin.

Yeast Infections in Men: What You Need to Know

How to Prevent Dry Itchy Penile Skin?

It’s best to consult your doctor, but the following habits can help prevent contraction and transmission.

  • Wash the penis well, including the part under the foreskin in uncircumcised men.
  • Keep the penis area dry. A moist genital area can breed infection. Applying cornstarch powder in summer may help.
  • Choose loose, natural-fiber underwear and clothing. Change your underwear every 24 hours at least.
  • Keep the genital area clean and dry. Use mild soap and wash well.
  • Choose mild, unscented laundry detergent when washing underwear.
  • Dry yourself well after taking a bath and going for a swim. Avoid having to wear wet clothes over a prolonged period of time.
  • Refrain from unprotected sex, especially when you suspect you or your partner is infected.

The Right Way of Washing the Penis?

Rinse the pubic area with warm water and unscented, mild soap. Do not use harsh soap or scrub too much. This can irritate sensitive skin. 

When taking a bath, you must:

  • Wash the pubic area and skin surrounding the bottom of the penis. Do the same for skin between the thighs where sweat can get stuck 
  • Wash your penile shaft
  • Gently pull the foreskin back and wash it to prevent the accumulation of smegma, which causes balanitis.
  • Wash the scrotum and its surrounding skin
  • Wash the perineum, the skin between your scrotum and anus

When taking a bath is also the best time to check for abnormal discharge, rashes, blisters, warts, and other symptoms of STIs.

Penile Care: Tips on How to Clean the Penis

Itchy penile skin treatment

Home remedies may be used for dry itchy penile skin. However, always consult with your doctor first if you have concerns about your penis.

Cold compress

This may soothe itching due to scabies, contact dermatitis, and folliculitis. Put a wet, cold cloth, or an ice pack with towel wrapped around it, on your penis for five to ten minutes. The cooling effect can also reduce swelling due to balanitis or urethritis.

Colloidal oatmeal

Oatmeal is anti-inflammatory. It can also reduce dry itchy penile skin. Create an oatmeal bath by getting lukewarm water and sprinkling it with oatmeal grounds.

Apple cider vinegar

This is effective against penile itching from psoriasis. Create a solution that is one part apple cider vinegar and one part water. Put the solution on your penis. Then wash when the mixture dries. Do not put vinegar if you see a crack or break on your skin.  This may make your skin burn. 

Dead Sea salt or Epsom salt

Get rid of penis itch due to psoriasis by putting Dead Sea salt or Epsom salt in warm bathwater.  Soak for around 15 minutes. 

Baking soda

Pour a cup of baking soda into lukewarm water. Soak.  You may also mix baking soda and water to form a paste. Apply on your penis, then wash off a few minutes later. 

Over-the-counter medication, or a doctor-prescribed topical cream may also be needed. 

Medications a doctor might prescribe include:

  • antibiotics
  • steroid creams and hydrocortisone 
  • antifungal medicine  
  • antihistamines

When must one see a doctor? Some causes of penile itch, like ingrown hair and contact dermatitis, disappear on their own without medical attention.

But you must see the doctor when the penile itch persists, or you see a discharge, blisters, pain, or rash.  The physician will inspect your skin, swab your penis, and send a sample to a laboratory to check for the presence of a virus, or bacterial or fungal infections. The doctor can then prescribe the best dry itchy penile skin treatment for you.

The condition of your penis affects your overall health. Dry itchy penile skin may be a sign of a more serious medical condition. 

Learn more about Penis Health here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mike Kenneth Go Doratan, MD

General Surgery · The Medical City Ortigas

Written by JB Aquino · Updated Jun 25, 2021

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