Some men can’t seem to keep their hands out of their pants, but it’s not necessarily due to an overactive sex drive. No, some men simply have a very itchy penis, the kind that demands it be scratched. As penis health issues go, an itchy penis is one of the very most common – and one of the potentially most embarrassing. Sometimes that itchiness may be due to a reaction to something a guy ate, but there can be other causes as well, such as folliculitis.

A follicle issue

As the name seems to imply, folliculitis has something to do with hair follicles. Specifically, when a person has folliculitis, it means that some portion of their hair follicles has become inflamed. Usually that inflammation occurs because of either a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection; in some instances, ingrown hairs may bring about the inflammation.

When a man has folliculitis, little red pinpoint dots appear, sometimes all over his body, sometimes isolated to one or a few areas (which can include the penis, balls, and surrounding area). These dots are bumps, somewhat raised, and there’s often a small drop of pus also associated with some or all of the bumps. There may be only a few bumps or there may be dozens.

Each of those bumps corresponds to a singular infected hair follicle. In addition to their red appearance, they have something else in common with each other: they tend to be very itchy. So when folliculitis strikes the midsection, an itchy penis often results. Sometimes the bumps can also create a burning sensation, which is unpleasant anywhere but especially so on the penis. The skin of the surrounding areas is also likely to be very tender.

Sometimes various forms of folliculitis are known by different names, such as hot tub rash or barber’s rash.

At risk

Absolutely anyone can get folliculitis, but there are some people who are more prone to getting it than others. Among the risk factors for folliculitis are:

- A weakened immune system, such as may occur in a person with diabetes or HIV.

- Curly hair on a male who shaves. The curliness can bring about an ingrown hair more easily, potentially causing folliculitis. A curly-haired man who shaves his crotch is at somewhat higher risk of an itchy penis from folliculitis.

- Having acne or dermatitis, or taking long-term treatments for the same.

- Wearing rubber gloves or other clothing that especially traps heat in the body.

- Wearing clothing that is too tight.

Treatment and prevention

A mild case of folliculitis may resolve itself or may be resolved with the use of some home remedies. These include using antibacterial washes and/or diluted white vinegar in the affected area. More often, a person needs to see a doctor to determine what treatments would be best. Often a topical or oral antibiotic may be prescribed.

There are several steps a person can take to help prevent folliculitis. Good basic hygiene is the first step, but it’s also wise to avoid sharing razors, which can transfer the cause of folliculitis from one person to another. Avoiding getting too close a shave is also desired, as is changing razor blades frequently. Try not to wear clothing that is too tight, especially for extended periods of time. And be sure that any hot tubs or swimming pools one uses are properly cleaned and disinfected.

No man wants either folliculitis or an itchy penis, so he should take the further step of regularly applying a superior penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). Keeping the skin hydrated is another way to prevent folliculitis, so please select a crème that has a team of expert moisturizing agents, such as shea butter and vitamin E. The crème should also include vitamin D3, the so-called “miracle vitamin,” which has proven benefits in fighting diseases and supporting healthy cellular function.