The appearance of flaky, dry penis skin is understandably upsetting to most men. In the first place, dryness can lead to considerable discomfort, and it can make sex or self-gratification painful. In the second place, it can be a source of embarrassment – what man wants to display himself to a partner when his penile skin looks more like a sloughed-off snake skin? Worse yet, in some cases, flaking penile skin indicates something more than a cosmetic issue. Certain underlying conditions can lead to dry, roughened skin, and addressing these is necessary for better penis health as well as a man’s general well-being.
Health issues that can lead to dry penis skin
- Balanitis. Balanitis actually refers to a range of problems that affect the penis that are usually characterized by swelling, soreness, rash, reddened skin and a thick, smelly discharge. In addition, men with balanitis may develop dry, flaky penile skin. This problem is often related to hygiene, and treatment is generally focused on keeping the penis clean.
- Diabetes. Men who have diabetes are prone to numerous ongoing health issues; among these, thrush – or yeast infection – is extremely common. Thrush is characterized by reddened penile skin or a rash made up of small, red bumps; the skin tends to be extremely itchy and may develop long cuts or tears. Men who have frequent problems with thrush should talk to their doctor to determine whether diabetes or another underlying disease is to blame.
- Eczema. Also known as dermatitis, this condition is characterized by: dry skin; a raised, red rash; severe itching; and dryness. The condition can affect the whole body, including the skin of the penis. One type of eczema (contact dermatitis) is triggered by an irritant in the environment and is treated by removing the irritant. Another type (atopic dermatitis) is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. The most common treatment for atopic eczema is the use of topical cortisone creams; in many cases, the treatment actually exacerbates the dry skin issue, so it is important to use a doctor-recommended moisturizer during the treatment process.
- Psoriasis. This is an autoimmune disorder that can affect the entire body. In essence, the immune system overproduces skin cells. The result is patches of raised, red skin that may develop a scaly or flaky surface and may be extremely itchy. Like eczema, psoriasis is often treated with topical cortisone creams, and extra TLC is needed to address the drying effects of these medications.
- Sexually transmitted infections. Last but not least, numerous sexually transmitted infections, including herpes, gonorrhea and syphilis, can cause the appearance of dry, roughened skin on the penis. Regular testing for STIs is strongly urged for all men who are sexually active, and men who develop symptoms should abstain from all sexual contact until the cause has been identified and properly treated.
Restoring healthy penile skin
The most important step in restoring healthy, smooth penis skin is always addressing any underlying health issues. Because many health conditions can present with similar symptoms, self-diagnosis is not recommended. Men should seek the advice of their physician in order to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem, and the doctor’s recommendations for treatment should be followed.
During the healing process, there are other steps that men can take to support the formation of new, healthy skin cells. For instance, drinking plenty of water can support hydration of the skin from the inside out and lend it a more youthful and vibrant appearance. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is also recommended for healthy skin.
In addition, men may want to supplement their personal care routine with a targeted penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil). Look for products that contain the powerful moisturizing duo of Shea butter and vitamin E; together, these ingredients provide immediate relief from itching and dryness, while locking in moisture to prevent further drying and discomfort. Ingredients such as vitamins A, C and D work together to heal damaged skin cells and promote healthy tissue growth. By taking advantage of these nutrients, men can enjoy skin that is smooth and responsive rather than dull, dry and uncomfortable.