Penis irritation can be anything from annoying to downright painful. In addition to feeling sore, penile skin can also be red, raw, and embarrassing to show off. The good news is in most situations, the problem can be easily remedied, or even avoided altogether. Following are seven common causes of penis irritation and recommended treatments.

1) Penile Irritation - Irritation can come from a number of different sources. Irritation may be joined by redness and itching. Potentially it’s new underwear, laundry detergent, or body wash that’s causing an issue. To calm the skin, cleanse the penis gently with a clean, damp cloth. Do not use soap or scrub the tender skin. Moisturize, but only with natural products or creams specially formulated to be used on the penis, as perfumes and other ingredients found in regular body and hand lotions can make the irritation worse.

2) Groin Infections - Fungi love to take up residence in warm, moist places such the folds of skin. To avoid infections like the infamous jock itch, keep the area clean and dry. If the fungus has already invaded the nether region, see a doctor or pharmacist for an anti-fungal cream to clear up the infection. Usually, it will take anywhere from 7-10 days for the infection and irritation to clear up completely.

3) Latex Condoms - With one in every six Americans being allergic to latex, latex condom allergies are not at all uncommon. If irritation, redness, and itchiness are noticed specifically following sex with a condom, latex may be to blame. Look for alternate condoms which still protect against STIs and pregnancy but won’t cause penis irritation.

4) Overuse - Sometimes, excessive sex or self-pleasure can cause an irritated penis, with chafing and dry, broken skin. First things first: call a moratorium on penile activity for a bit and resist sexual contact until the penis is back to normal. Use a cool compress to soothe the irritation, and apply a penis health crème to balance the skin. When it’s time to get back in the saddle, be sure to use a high-quality lubricant for vigorous sex and self-play.

5) Balanitis - Balanitis is a skin inflammation affecting the penis head and foreskin that overpoweringly impacts uncircumcised men. It primarily occurs when there's a build-up of smegma under the foreskin. Smegma is a mixture of dead skin cells, body oils, and bacteria that concoct a funky off-white paste and attracts bacteria that infest the tender penis skin. The best way to treat and prevent balanitis is regular and thorough cleaning of the penis daily with a gentle cleanser. If the issue is pretty advanced, a physician will prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection.

6) Psoriasis or eczema - Men who already have psoriasis or eczema on other parts of their bodies may also develop the same symptoms on the penis. Treating the irritated area with medicated cremes or vitamins A and E for relief.

7) Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs) - This cause is the one generally most feared and for good reason. An irritated penis can be a symptom of an STI. Many STIs cause penile irritation, rash, blisters and peeling skin. STIs associated with penis irritation include genital herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital warts, and syphilis. Men who believe they may have contracted an STI should see their doctor or clinic immediately for testing and avoid any sexual contact until the results of the test are known. Once diagnosed, a doctor will prescribe the course of treatment.

Prevent Penis Irritation

Most penis irritations can be prevented with good genital grooming habits and by practicing safe sex. Grooming should include cleansing the penis regularly and thoroughly with a mild cleanser and soft cloth. Keep the groin area dry and air it out frequently - some men prefer to sleep nude to give the penis ample time to cool off and be free.

Regularly moisturizing the penis is also a critical step in 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 clean, fresh, and soft penis. These cremes are nutrient-rich and contain vitamins like A, C, D, and E which have properties especially advantageous for penile health and healing. The crème’s base should be a natural moisturizer, like Shea butter, which leaves the penile skin completely hydrated and smooth.