Sweat. Ill-fitting underwear. Jock itch. Scabies. These are just a few of the potential causes of an itchy penis. The occasional need to scratch the penis is nothing to be concerned about; occasionally, an itch just happens. But when a guy has a persistently itchy penis, it can lead to substantial embarrassment. And when the cause of the itchy penis is a visible documentation of a penis health issue, it’s even worse. So in the interest of making readers more aware of potential penis itch causes, it’s time to learn a little about lichen planus.
What it is
As the ever-helpful Wikipedia says, lichen planus is a disease “characterized by itchy reddish-purple polygon-shaped skin lesions,” which can be as small as 1 mm or as big as 10 mm. It’s an autoimmune disease, which means it occurs when a person’s body (usually for unknown reasons) begins attacking something it shouldn’t be attacking. Usually the trigger that causes the attack is unknown. In many people, the condition is chronic – meaning that it may go away for a time but often comes back, sometimes repeatedly.
Lichen planus typically occurs either in the mouth or on the surface of the skin. And it can occur almost anywhere on the skin – including the penis, either on the glans, the shaft, or both. The small bumps are usually raised, and can be reddish, purplish or whitish.
Many men who look down and see lichen planus on their penis mistake it for genital warts or another form of sexually-transmitted infection (STI). But the good news is that it is not an STI and that it is basically benign. But because of its unattractive appearance, it still can scare away many potential partners who may not believe that it is not an STI.
Also, as indicated above, it can be very itchy – and scratching too much can lead to irritation and pain. In many cases, the skin around the lesions can become dry and scaly.
Who gets it
Anyone can get lichen planus, whether male or female. It also can occur at any age, although in men it most often occurs between the ages of 30 and 60. Since the exact cause of lichen planus is unknown, it’s hard to identify characteristics or risk factors which might help determine who is more or less likely to come down with it.
So once a dude has lichen planus, how does he get rid of this itchy penis culprit? In many cases, it goes away on its own, usually in a few days or a couple of weeks. But for some people, it can linger for much, much longer. In which case, a doctor may recommend one of several treatment options, such as steroids (topical or oral, depending upon the severity and specifics of the condition), immunosuppressive measures, antihistamines, light therapy or, in some cases, surgical removal.
So if a guy has an itchy penis due to lichen planus, it’s best to avoid the desire to scratch. Sometimes this can be aided by the application of a first rate penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). Such a crème must include a combination of a high-end emollient (Shea butter is an excellent choice) and a natural hydrator (simple vitamin E is great). This combination of moisturizers can help smooth the skin so there is less of a desire to scratch. It also helps if the crème contains a potent antioxidant. One of the best is alpha lipoic acid, which battles excess free radicals and thereby helps strengthen the skin, making it more resistant to infection and oxidative stress.