It’s the wise man that regularly examines his package for signs of scratches, sores, penis bumps and the like. In order to maintain one’s penis health, a careful inspection is simply part of the plan. Often, when doing an inspection, a man may find small penis bumps, known as pearly penile papules. Those first discovering these tiny lumps may feel concerned about what they are, what they mean and what (if anything) needs to be done about them.

With that in mind, here’s the basic 411 on pearly penile papules for any male who encounters them on his member.

So - what are they?

Pearly penile papules (commonly known as PPP; scientifically known as hirsuties coronae glandis) are tiny little bumps that are sometimes found around the ridge of the head of the penis. They are usually numerous, frequently forming a band around all of most of the ridge. They can vary in color, but they are most often red, pink, white, yellow or translucent. Although some PPPs can be as large as 4 mm, most are more commonly only 1-2 mm in size.

The exact incidence of PPPs among men isn’t known, but they do seem to be more common in men who are intact than in men who are circumcised. One study found that a third of intact men had PPPs compared to about 7% of circumcised men.

Men of all races and geographic locations are capable of having PPPs, as are men of any sexual preference.

Are they dangerous?

The good news is that PPPs are perfectly benign. They do not cause any ill effects, although sometimes a doctor may misdiagnose them as genital warts, and therefore as part of an HPV outbreak. They also are not contagious and are not a sexually transmitted disease.

Can they turn into something else?

No. PPPs are PPPs, period. They don’t develop into another condition, and they also don’t grow any larger as time goes by.

What causes them?

Doctors wish they knew - but they don’t. They are often classified as simply a normal skin variation, and no one is exactly sure why some men have them and some don’t. There are some theories that these may be the evolutionary remains of penile spines - spine like growths that are found in some animals and which some scientists theorize may have once been found in human ancestors. However, this is at this time just a theory.

How are they treated?

Since they are harmless, there is no recommended treatment for PPPs. Men who do not appreciate their appearance may opt to have them surgically removed (often using simple laser surgery). Some people try to remove them themselves, but this can be ineffective, painful and dangerous. Picking at them, trying to pop them or using over-the-counter options like wart removers can actually do damage to the penis and can bring about an infection.

One drawback that men sometimes experience with penis bumps like PPP can be some soreness during friction-based activities such as masturbation or intercourse. Common, everyday soreness of this type can often be alleviated by regular application of a top drawer penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil). In order to soothe friction-irritated penis skin, the crème will need to have powerful hydrating agents. A combination of a natural moisturizer (such as vitamin A) in tandem with a high end emollient (such as shea butter) should be listed in the crème’s ingredients. That friction may on occasion cause the penis to experience diminished sensation, so the chosen crème should also include acetyl L carnitine. This neuroprotective ingredient is excellent at preventing and soothing peripheral nerve damage and restoring sensitivity to a penis that has been handled too roughly.