Like skin anywhere else on your body, pimples can appear on the penis. Although pimples are usually harmless and not a cause for alarm, certain conditions including sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can cause lumps and bumps that resemble pimples. Therefore, it can be easy to overlook health issues that may require treatment.
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Although pimples are more common on areas like the face, they can also form on the sensitive skin of the genitals, like the head and shaft of the penis. A pimple, also known as a zit, is a small, round bump on the skin that develops when a pore becomes clogged with oil, dead skin cells, bacteria, or other debris, causing infection and swelling. The base of a pimple is usually red or flesh-colored and may feel hard or tender to the touch.
Pimples can form with or without a head, which can differ in color depending on what material has caused the buildup. There are various types of pimples, including blackheads (black tip) and whiteheads (white tip). Some pimples may contain pus.
Penis pimples can occur whether you’re sexually active or not. But if you are sexually active, you may be at risk for STDs, which can cause serious health problems if ignored and left untreated.
Some signs of STDs can at first be mistaken for a pimple or ingrown hair until symptoms escalate. STDs can cause bumps, rashes, sores, or lesions which a person may easily confuse for minor skin conditions.
STDs that cause pimple-like skin problems include:
Not all pimple-like bumps on the penis are caused by STDs. Skin conditions that may cause similar symptoms include:5
There are many types of penis pimples and bumps, but they all have one thing in common: they should not be popped or squeezed. Popping a pimple on your penis can lead to infection or scarring.
For penis pimples, it’s important to keep the pimple and the surrounding area clean and dry, but you should avoid scrubbing or using harsh cleansers, which can irritate the sensitive penis region. If the pimple doesn’t disappear or if it oozes pus or changes in size, shape, or texture, it may be a sign of infection or another underlying condition and it may be worth consulting a doctor.
If you’re sexually active and are unsure about what’s causing penis bumps, you should consider getting tested for STDs. It’s easy to do through a doctor or clinic, or you can get tested quickly and discreetly at one of our convenient lab locations.
Most pimples don’t require treatment because they disappear on their own after a few days. If the pimple doesn’t go away or if it shows signs of being infected, visit a doctor or dermatologist for treatment.
On the other hand, if a bump is something other than a pimple, treatment depends on the underlying cause. Some bumps are natural or harmless and don’t require treatment. Other causes can be cured or treated with medication. For example, caught early, syphilis is curable with an injection of penicillin, and herpes outbreaks are manageable with antiviral medication.
Factors that increase the likelihood of a penis pimple include poor hygiene, excess sweating, tight-fitting clothes, and oily skin. Addressing these likely causes can help prevent pimples from developing again.
Ways to reduce pimples include:
Medically Reviewed by J. Frank Martin JR., MD on February 13, 2020Written by Taysha on January 29, 2020