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What Are the Common Causes of Flaky Skin on the Penis?

By A. Gamm
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments

By anon995577 — On May 11, 2016

I would try using moisturizer like nextcorrea said, but I can't use lotion at all, because every time I use lotion, I have a minor allergic reaction. Any idea what else I could use as far as a moisturizer?

By SeanH — On Apr 03, 2015

I used to get dry, flaky skin down there as well. I freaked out at first and got tested for STI's etc. All negative (thank god). My doc suggested I try using a penis health creme. It really helped. Make sure you get one with all natural ingredients. You do not want to put anything weird into your body.

By lightninguy — On May 02, 2014

One thing which works for many men with flaky skin on the penis is to regularly use a good penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) that contains a high quality emollient like shea butter plusvitamin E, which is a natural hydrator. The combination can really help with dry penis skin.

By anon938235 — On Mar 08, 2014

Sometimes it can be as simple as too much hot water in the shower or using some type of soap that is really drying the skin. I went back to using Dove soap that comes in the green box, and my skin got noticeably better.

By jonrss — On Mar 13, 2012

I have diabetes and flaky skin on my penis has occasionally been an issue. But it is something that can be taken care of with just a little preventative medicine.

When you have diabetes you are more susceptible to thrush but it is not a guarantee that you will get it. If you eat and drink properly and care for that area of your body carefully you can avoid thrush entirely. I have had problems with that it in the past, but not after I started taking better care of myself.

By nextcorrea — On Mar 13, 2012

I am just going to be totally honest with you guys, I regularly use moisturizer on my penis just like I would any other part of my body.

I figure skin is skin and frankly there are not many parts on your body that receive as much friction and use as the penis. I think it just makes sense to use some kind of healing lotion on that part of my body. I have never had an issue with flaky skin and it's because I take a proactive approach

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