Whether it’s a little red rash or a throbbing pink patch, irritated penis skin can be a major cause for concern and a huge inconvenience. As underwear, a pair of pants, or sometimes even air passes past the penis irritation, it can cause distress, embarrassment, and a lot of anxiety. The good news? Many causes of irritated penis skin can be cleared up easily and have no long-term consequences. However, there are some very serious sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that manifest as penis irritation, so it’s important to know what is going on with the penis and how to proceed for a less-painful, less-red tomorrow.

1) Organ Overuse – A lot of sex is fun; too much sex can cause issues. Too much partner or solo play can result in extreme penis irritation. Rash and skin peeling can not only sideline future fun, but it can result in a pins-and-needles feeling on the penis and can cause cracks in the skin that can invite in bacteria that cause nasty infections. Practice moderation and always use a high-quality, water-based lubricant when things start to get dry.

2) Allergies – The penis, like every other part of the body, is subject to irritation from allergens. One of the most common penis-related allergic reactions is to latex. It’s estimated that 15% of all Americans are allergic to latex, which can lead to red, irritated penis skin. Look for non-latex condoms (there are tons of options). If condoms aren’t to blame, identify any new products you’ve used or any new formulations of old ones. Usually, an antihistamine and time will treat the penis irritation, but if it persists or worsens, see a doctor.

3) Jock Itch and Fungal Infections – A man can be a mathlete and not an athlete and still get jock itch. This fungus likes to infiltrate the warm, moist folds in the genital region to set up shop. See a doctor to get an anti-fungal cream to clear up the infection, and then take measures to keep the nethers clean, fresh, and dry.

4) Balanitis – Irritated skin, especially on the head of the penis, might be balanitis. It’s caused by a funky buildup of smegma, a smelly brew of dead skin cells, body oils, and bacteria that infuse into an especially foul, off-white paste. The best way to say bye-bye to balanitis is regular and thorough cleaning with a gentle cleanser. In particularly severe cases of balanitis, medical help should be sought.

5) Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) – Now for the scary part. Irritated penis skin can be a symptom of several STIs. STIs associated with a penis irritation include gonorrhea, genital herpes, genital warts, chlamydia, and syphilis. Men who think they may have contracted an STI should refrain from further sexual activity and head to a clinic or doctor as soon as possible. Once diagnosed, a medical professional will provide a treatment plan.

How to Avoid Irritated Penis Skin

Avoiding irritated penis skin is easy when practicing good penile health habits. Always use condoms and have a frank conversation with intimate partners. Wear loose-fitting pants and underwear to prevent chafing and redness. Do a patch test prior to using new soaps, detergents, or other daily products.

Good, consistent genital hygiene habits will also go a long way in preventing irritated penis skin. A daily routine should include cleaning the penis thoroughly with a gentle cleanser and soft cloth. Rinse well and pat or air dry. Routinely moisturizing the penis is also a crucial part of penis health. Use a specially created penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which has been clinically proven safe and mild for skin) for a fresh, rejuvenated, and smooth penis. Vitamins like A, B, C, D, and E are ideal for soothing and healing the skin while also locking in moisture. They also aid in collagen production and elasticity, making the skin pliable and soft.