In most cases, occasional dry penis skin is a fact of life. That’s because almost anything can lead to dry penis skin, including something as innocuous as changing the detergent a guy uses for his sheets or even changing his workout routine to something that makes him sweat a bit more. To help ease the dryness of such delicate skin, good penis care is necessary. And for most guys, within a couple of days of proper attention, that dry penis skin is just like new.

But what happens when a man does everything he can think to do and it doesn’t seem to make a difference? And what does it mean if the dry skin issue actually gets worse instead of better? It’s important for a man to know when dry penis skin is a run-of-the-mill issue that will resolve in a few days, versus a problem that might require a doctor to evaluate it and provide treatment. To that end, here’s a short primer on what’s serious - and what’s not.

Dry penis skin causes

Understanding the causes of dry penis skin can help a guy determine just how serious the situation might be. Here are the most common reasons for dry, itchy penis skin:

1. Too much masturbation. A guy who likes to handle the throttle a little too often is bound to wind up with some dryness, even if he uses plenty of lube. That’s simply because over time, the rigorous stroking pulls natural oils from the skin, and when the lube is washed away, so is all that precious oil. But those who enjoy masturbation without lube are in for even worse dryness, as there is nothing to protect the penis from aggressive over-handling. The easiest way to cure the problem? Let the penis rest and apply plenty of moisturizing penis health crème in the meantime.

2. Dry sex. Whether a guy is getting it on without lube during intercourse or he’s enjoying other activities, such as ‘outercourse’ or extended foreplay, his penis might rub up against various surfaces - such as the sheets, pillows, and yes, even his partner’s body - and eventually, dry skin can be the result. The only cure for this is to keep the penis in good shape to begin with; again, this requires an excellent penis health crème.

3. Skin allergies and irritations. Sometimes a guy’s penis is just fine, but then within hours, it’s not. This sudden dryness is often related to something in the environment, such as a mild allergic reaction to new detergents, fragrances, cleansers, and anything else that might come into contact with the delicate penis skin. In this case, some detective work is in order. A guy should eliminate the variety of issues that might be causing the problem, then see if there is any improvement.

4. Skin conditions. For some men, things get a bit more serious. Dryness that doesn’t respond to the use of a penis health crème or other moisturizing efforts might be a problem that requires a doctor’s attention. Some skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, can occur on the penis just as easily as they might appear on other parts of the body. If a man has dry, itchy penis skin that doesn’t respond to his home treatments should visit the doctor to find out what the problem might be.

5. The weather. Surprisingly, the weather plays a serious role in dry skin. Many men are familiar with dry hands and a dry face or lips during the worst of the colder seasons. The same thing can happen to the penis. Again, use of a great crème, plenty of hydration, and running a humidifier during the winter can all help.

Speaking of a good penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) , a man should apply the crème on a regular basis, at least once a day. Those who struggle with dry skin want a crème that contains a serious one-two punch of hydration through Shea butter and vitamin E. Both are proven to provide the kind of moisture that can nip dry penis skin in the bud.