Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is an inflammatory condition of the skin. People with eczema may experience dry, red and inflamed rashes, blistering skin, and intense itching; this condition can affect any part of the body, and it can cause significant embarrassment in addition to the discomfort.
For men who are affected by penile eczema, the impact of the disease can be especially devastating. Sex may uncomfortable or even painful during flare-ups; and many men may be reluctant to expose penis blisters to a partner.
However, by taking the right precautions and using the right approach to skin and penis care, men can avoid some common eczema triggers and minimize the flare-ups for smoother, more attractive skin.
Tips for preventing flare-ups and soothing itchy, dry skin
1. Don’t… scratch the itch. Scratching or rubbing at irritated skin can cause tiny tears that increase the risk of infection. Men should resist the urge and try applying a moisturizer or a cool compress, instead. In some cases, doctors may recommend taking an oral antihistamine – men should always check with a medical professional before taking an over-the-counter medication. It can also be helpful to wear a light pair of gloves to bed in order to prevent scratching during sleep.
2. Bathe… once or twice per day. Rather than taking a long, hot shower, which can sap the skin of its natural oils, take short showers in lukewarm water. A mild, non-allergenic cleanser is best; and rinse carefully to make sure all traces of soap and shampoo are washed away. It is also important to avoid vigorous rubbing with a towel; instead, pat the skin dry carefully with a soft cloth.
3. Moisturize… several times a day. Keeping the skin hydrated can help prevent peeling and flaking, as well as soothing the itch and discomfort. Look for creams or oils without fragrances or alcohol that can irritate the skin.
4. Wear… loose-fitting, breathable clothing. Fabrics that chafe or do not allow the skin to breathe properly should be avoided, as these can exacerbate the symptoms of eczema.
5. Monitor… the temperature. Getting too hot or too cold can trigger outbreaks. After exercising, shower to cool the skin and wash away sweat, which can also lead to flare-ups.
6. Avoid… allergens. Many men who have eczema also have various allergies. A specialist can help to identify any substances which are likely to trigger an allergic reaction in an individual; these should be avoided as much as possible. If the skin does come in contact with a known allergen, it should be washed immediately.
7. Reduce. Daily stress. Stress is yet another factor that can trigger an outbreak of eczema; men who are able to reduce the amount of stress they deal with, or who can develop coping strategies that work for them, are less likely to experience frequent flare-ups.
Caring for the penis
In addition to the steps outlined above, men who experience occasional or frequent flare-ups of penile eczema should take extra precautions in terms of penis care. Using a non-allergenic, water-based lube during sex or masturbation can help to reduce friction that may irritate sensitive skin. Using non-latex protection is often recommended, as men with skin issues are often sensitive to latex products.
Washing with warm water and a mild cleanser, then patting the area dry before dressing, is recommended. To keep the skin well-hydrated and reduce potential itching, a specially formulated penis health cream (most health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) can be applied to the penile skin once or twice per day. Natural moisturizers such as Shea butter, as well as penis-specific nutrients, can help to improve the overall texture and appearance of stressed, dry and itchy penis skin.