Eczema can happen all over the body, but what if you get it on your penis?
We asked the health experts at AXA PPP healthcare to shed some light on the issue and find out what you can do about it.
There are a number of skin conditions that can affect the penis, including atopic eczema (or atopic dermatitis) – the most common form of eczema. Unfortunately, there is no cure for eczema. It is a matter of discovering and avoiding allergens and preventing the skin from becoming dry by using medical moisturisers.
During a flare-up of eczema, the skin becomes red, inflamed and itchy, which can lead to swelling of the skin and tiny blisters which can then rupture. Infected skin can ooze clear or yellowish pus. Sometimes inflamed skin can become infected especially if it is around the penis, where there are more folds and creases.
In addition, there is increased exposure to bacteria from urine and faeces which can thrive in a warm environment. Eczema can be aggravated by temperature, irritants such as sweat and soap, stress, allergens and friction from tight clothing so it’s important to work out if any of these are aggravating your condition.
The penis needs to be washed once or twice a day, after fully retracting the foreskin. Instead of using soap, washing with a cream such as an emulsifying ointment, sometimes with the addition of an antiseptic ingredient, can be helpful. Ironically, after washing it is important to dry yourself thoroughly before applying any medical moisturizer. These emollients, together with applying creams on the normal skin areas, will help to repair damage to the skin’s natural barrier and reduce redness, swelling and itching.
Taking an antihistamine tablet will also help to stop the itching and reduce the urge to scratch. When you scratch the skin it becomes irritated, increasing your risk of infection and making the eczema worse.
Steroid creams, such as Hydrocortisone or Eumovate can also help during a flare-up to reduce the inflammation. As with all health problems, it’s important to see your GP for a detailed assessment.