Ask any man, and chances are he has some sort of concern about his penis, whether he is focused on its size, shape or texture. Even the color of the penile skin can be a source for anxiety, and men often worry that variations in the pigmentation of their tool is an indication that something is wrong. It is important to point out that, in many individuals, the skin color of the tool does not precisely match the skin tone on the rest of the body, and in very many cases, the skin may have gradations in color, or even patches of varied pigmentation. Nearly all of these variations are completely normal; yet there are some diseases and conditions that can cause penis discoloration. Awareness of these can help lay fears about abnormal coloration to rest for some men and allow others to recognize when specialized penis care may be required.

Conditions that can cause penis discoloration

1) Vitiligo - This condition is a pigmentation disorder in which the cells that produce the pigment that colors the skin are destroyed, leaving patches of skin that are pure white. Individuals of all races may be affected. It is unknown what causes this disorder, and there is no treatment, but it is not contagious and is completely harmless.

2) Hematoma - The red, blotchy appearance of a hematoma is caused by damage to the capillaries underneath the skin’s surface. Hematoma can be caused by an injury to the penis, and it typically clears up on its own. If the area is tender or painful, it is best to abstain from any sexual activity to allow the damaged tissue time to heal; but in general, no additional treatment is required.

3) Bruising - Like the skin on the rest of the body, the penis is subject to bruising caused by blunt force trauma. Most bruises to the penis are superficial, but if they are accompanied by severe pain, or if they are caused by forceful bending or twisting of the penis, medical attention should be sought to rule out a penile fracture.

4) Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation - Men who develop darker, sometimes rougher skin on the penis over a period of time may have a condition known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). This occurrence is caused by an increase in melanin - the pigment that gives skin its color - and it is usually the result of surface injuries to the penis skin. Frequent or vigorous masturbation is a common cause and can leave the skin looking darker brown or even grey. The condition is harmless, and while there are no direct treatments to restore the natural color of the penile skin, PIH may fade over time if the skin is left to heal.

5) Lichen sclerosis - Patches of white, thinning, brittle tissue on the foreskin may be a sign of a chronic, progressive condition known as lichen sclerosis. This disorder can occur elsewhere on the body and can affect women as well as men; when it is present on the penis, it is sometimes referred to as balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO). Because the skin becomes thin and brittle, it can cause pain during erections, sex and masturbation, and as it advances, it can cause difficulty urinating or even block the urethra. Some men with BXO may develop phimosis - the inability to retract the foreskin over the glans. Treatments for this progressive disorder vary and may involve cortisone creams, antibiotics or circumcision.

Bringing out the best in the penis skin

Whether a man’s penis is lily-white, mahogany or somewhere in between - or even multi-colored - the right approach to care can bring out that natural glow, leaving it looking smooth, healthy and youthful.

The first step, of course, is to wash the penis regularly, paying special attention to the foreskin and area underneath for men who are uncircumcised. Washing can remove surface grime and smegma, as well as dead skin cells that can make the skin appear dull and patchy. A caveat here: Using excessively hot water, scrubbing vigorously at the skin and using ordinary soaps can actually irritate and dry the skin, contributing to an unhealthy appearance. Instead, the penis should be washed in warm water, using a mild cleanser, if any, and nothing more than the fingertips to rub away any accumulated material.

Next, a high-quality moisturizer should be applied to the skin while it is still warm from the shower. Warm skin means that the pores are open, which allows for optimal absorption of a moisturizing cream. In choosing a product, it is important to keep in mind the nutrients that are needed to keep the penile skin healthy and looking its best. A vitamin-rich penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) can lock in moisture while providing vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids to smooth out rough spots, increase blood flow and plump out the skin for an even tone and texture.