Noticing flaky skin on the penis can be a worrisome moment for many men. Some causes of flaky skin, such as diabetes or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), may be serious and require medical treatment. Most of the common causes, such as eczema and balanitis, are usually easily treated, however. In young children and infants, the cause is usually an overly tight foreskin that cannot pull back fully from the head of the penis.
Diabetes my cause persistent flaky skin due to the increased occurrences of penile thrush that tend to happen to men with the condition. Symptoms of thrush include a burning sensation on the skin and tender red spots. It is usually managed easily with topical creams; however, if the thrush is caused by diabetes, topical creams will only help to relieve the symptoms, not solve the issue.
Many STDs, such as herpes, gonorrhea, and syphilis, may also cause dry, flaky skin. Treatment for skin problems caused by an STD varies, depending on the actual disease a man has. Some diseases are curable, while others like herpes may only go in and out or remission.
Balanitis is perhaps one of the most common causes of flaky skin on the penis. It is the general term for most irritants that affect the penis, and as such, it encompasses a wide range of causes. Irritations that cause balanitis and flaky skin include seborrhoeic dermatitis, lichen planus, and psoriasis. Interestingly, eczema is a potential cause of balanitis, but usually only if it's caused by an irritant.
Eczema is a very common cause of flaky skin. This symptom is usually paired with scaly, red bumps that are occasionally itchy. Many times, the eczema is caused by contact dermatitis, or an irritant coming in contact with the skin of the penis. This can cover any or all of the penis, including the head and inside the foreskin. While eczema typically creates the most irritation with the peeling skin, it is non-infectious and is usually relieved with a topical steroid cream.
Phimosis, a condition in which the foreskin is so tight that it typically cannot be pulled back, is also associated with balanitis. It is usually the cause of flaky skin on the penis in young boys. If not treated, it may lead to other health conditions that may prove hazardous to a person’s health. Treating balanitis depends on the type of irritant, and discussing the condition with a dermatologist or other medical professional is usually recommended.