How many times must a man look at his penis each day? Probably a lot, right? In addition to just being part of everyday function, a man should always be aware of the condition of his mister. This means lumps, bumps, scratches, and yes, changes in coloration. When a man notices he has a discolored penis, meaning one that is no longer in part, the same color, he may get anxious. He may panic and think the worse. While there are many reasons a man may experience penis discoloration, one that is not as well-known is penile melanosis. A harmless condition, penile melanosis, is described as small dark patches of skin on the penis. It is hyperpigmentation, which happens when melanin forms on the surface of the skin. It can also be known as penile lentiginosis. The spots can occur anywhere on the penis, from the head to the shaft. It’s not dangerous or infectious and doesn’t need treatment of any kind.


The dark spots, macules, are the only real symptom of penile melanosis. These macules are black or brown and less than a centimeter in length. They are painless and do not bleed. A man can have just one or many. They can appear on a man at any age.

In some very rare cases, penile melanosis can lead to lichen sclerosus, which is often found on the foreskin of uncircumcised men. Treatment for lichen sclerosus can include topical ointments or surgery.

Risk Factors

While there are no in-stone predictors for this penis discoloration, a man’s race and genetic makeup can play a part in his developing the condition.


This penis discoloration can happen for a variety of reasons, including:

- Penile injury

- Psoralen and ultraviolet light (PUVA) therapy which is used to treat psoriasis and other skin conditions

- Use of anthralin, a psoriasis medication


Like other harmless penis discolorations, treatment is not required. A visit to the doc won’t hurt, however, just to calm one’s nerves and know there is nothing wrong.

That said, some men don’t like the aesthetic effect of penile melanosis. Some men also may feel like they need to explain it to a partner and don’t want to have that conversation continually. For those men, surgical removal of the lesions may be an option. Surgeons would remove the skin layer that has the excess pigment and then skin graft and resurface the skin to mimic the condition of the rest of the skin. Laser therapy, specifically a Q-switched ruby laser, is another option. Both options can leave tiny scars and most likely will be considered elective procedures and not covered by insurance. However, both removal options are safe and do not negatively impact penile health and function. As with all procedures, a man should weigh his risk-benefit before deciding on a procedure.

Penis Discoloration Prevention

Since penile melanosis is such an unpredictable condition, it’s not really possible to prevent it. A man should ask his doctor to keep an ongoing record of macules if he does have this penis discoloration to check for any changes in color, shape, or size over time to be safe. Sometimes a change can signal melanoma, a very serious form of skin cancer.

To keep skin supple and to keep discolorations at a minimum when possible, a man should consider using a specially formulated penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which has been clinically proven safe and mild for skin) to keep penile skin in good condition. This crème promotes healthy cell turnover and metabolism to keep skin clear and fresh.