An itchy penis is nasty business, especially when it seems to come out of nowhere - or, worse yet, after an unplanned hookup. And when the itching is accompanied by redness, rash, inflammation and blistering, the average man is often convinced that his worst fears have been realized and he has contracted a sexually transmitted infection. For any man who is sexually active, it is certainly possible, especially if he has been a bit lax about protection. On the other hand, there are numerous other possibilities to consider. One that is particularly common is known as allergic contact dermatitis. While this condition is neither contagious nor life-threatening, it can be extremely uncomfortable, or even painful, and the right penis care measures are needed to restore the penile skin to good health. A basic overview of contact dermatitis is provided below, as well as tips for soothing a distressed member.

What is allergic contact dermatitis?

Contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction caused by contact with a substance in a man’s environment. It typically occurs in men who are prone to other types of skin allergies. More than just irritation, dermatitis occurs when the body mistakes a substance that is generally harmless for a pathogen and attacks the contact area as if it were a disease.

What are the symptoms?

Contact dermatitis of the penis can cause a rash, along with dry, scaly skin that may appear red, white or gray. The skin may become sore and inflamed, and intense itching is often present at the site. Blisters can also form (and are often responsible for men’s belief that they have contracted an STI), and if the area around the urethra is affected, men may also experience painful urination.

What are some of the common triggers for dermatitis on the penis?

There are multiple triggers for contact dermatitis. These can range from household substances such as detergents, personal care products, soaps, lubricants and fragrances. Plants are also common culprits; men who urinate outdoors may be exposed to poison ivy, poison oak and other irritating flora.

Clothing and other materials can also cause dermatitis. Latex condoms can be particularly irritating, especially for men who have rubber or latex allergies. Some men also react to certain fibers, especially man-made materials like nylon. Dye residue that is left behind during the garment manufacturing process can also trigger allergic or sensitive skin reactions in many individuals.

How is it treated?

Treating an inflamed, itchy penis resulting from contact dermatitis is straightforward. Washing the area thoroughly with cool water in order to remove any traces of the offending substance is the first step; and, of course, avoiding any further contact with the trigger is recommended. Men may need to work with their doctors if they experience frequent reactions in order to identify the trigger in the future.

In all cases, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible when symptoms develop, especially if the reaction has not occurred before. Many types of penile skin conditions have similar symptoms, so it is important to rule out any other conditions or diseases in order to ensure proper treatment.

Soothing relief for an itchy penis

Several options are available for calming stressed and irritated skin. Cool compresses are often the first choice; a compress or ice pack may be applied to the area for no more than twenty minutes at a time. Ice packs should never be applied directly to the penile skin due to the risk of frostbite.

A soothing oatmeal bath can also help, as can antihistamine creams. Cortisone creams are often recommended for allergic reactions as well. An additional option is a specially-formulated penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) that contains a natural emollient such as Shea butter, as well as healing vitamins A and E - often used in the treatment of itchy skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. A cream like this can relieve penile itching from a variety of causes, along with improving the skin’s overall health.