Various things may cause dry skin on the penis, such as using certain soaps, unlubricated masturbation or sex, and allergies. That said, dry skin may sometimes indicate a skin condition or an infection.

You may be alarmed if you notice dry skin on your penis. It can be itchy, uncomfortable, and sometimes painful.

But in most cases, dry skin on the penis isn’t a sign of a serious medical condition. And it’s not a common symptom of genital herpes, genital warts, or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

If your penis skin is dry, you may also experience any of the following symptoms:

  • tight skin, particularly after bathing or swimming
  • itching, flaking, or peeling skin
  • redness of the skin
  • a rash on the skin
  • fine lines or cracks on the skin
  • deep cracks on the skin that may bleed

Keep reading to learn more about seven possible causes of dry skin on the penis and how you can treat it.

Very harsh soaps or cleansers may dry out the skin on the penis. Your laundry detergent and fabric softener may also be causing a rash on your penis.

Consider washing your penis using only water, a very mild soap, or even baby shampoo.

It may be best to use a hypoallergenic laundry detergent and fabric softener.

You may experience dry skin, swelling, or an itchy rash on your penis if you have an allergic reaction to:

Other possible symptoms of an allergic reaction are:

  • sneezing
  • wheezing
  • a runny nose
  • watery eyes
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of the tongue

Use condoms that are latex-free (like polyurethane or silicon) and not treated with spermicide.

A lack of lubrication during prolonged sexual activity, such as masturbation or intercourse, may cause dry skin on the penis. A lubricant could make sex and masturbation more comfortable and help you avoid dryness.

There are three types of lubricants:

  • water-based
  • oil-based
  • silicone-based

Choose a chemical-free or organic lubricant. This type of lubricant won’t contain parabens or glycerin, as these may also irritate your penis. Water-based lubricants are the least likely to cause you irritation.

Tight clothing may cause chafing. This constant rubbing against the skin could lead to dryness.

The underwear you’re wearing may also cause a buildup of moisture under your foreskin, which can be a breeding ground for fungus and increase the chance of an infection.

Wear soft, supportive cotton underwear and looser clothing in light, breathable fabrics.

A penile yeast infection may cause:

  • dry, peeling skin
  • a rash
  • white patches on the skin
  • swelling or irritation around the head of the penis
  • a thick, uneven discharge under the foreskin

It may also be painful to urinate and have sex.

Treatment typically involves topical antifungal ointments and creams. For a penile yeast infection, you’ll want to apply the ointment to the head of the penis. If you’re uncircumcised, you’ll also want to apply it under the foreskin.

Some people may also experience recurring yeast infections. If over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for a suspected penile yeast infection don’t improve symptoms after 48 hours, get it checked out by a doctor.

It’s recommended to abstrain from sex until all your symptoms have disappeared. This is because yeast infections are contagious, and you could spread the infection to your sexual partner.

Different types of eczema may affect the skin on the penis, including atopic and irritant contact eczema.

In addition to dry skin, eczema may also cause intense itching and bumps of different sizes under the skin.

First-line treatment for eczema is a low strength topical corticosteroid. The skin on the penis tends to be thinner and more sensitive than skin on other parts of your body. So be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions and apply the medication carefully.

Some home remedies may also help relieve your eczema symptoms.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects your skin. It’s estimated that 2–5% of people with a circumcised penis who have psoriasis are only affected in the genital area.

The most common type of psoriasis to affect the genitals, including the penis, is inverse psoriasis. Initially, this appears as dry, red lesions on the skin. You may also notice small red patches on the glans or shaft of your penis.

Several different treatment options may help your psoriasis, including:

How do I get rid of dry skin in my private area?

Treatment for dry skin on your penis will depend on the underlying cause.

That said, certain lifestyle changes may help your symptoms improve, such as:

  • abstaining from sex or masturbation
  • drying your penis properly after washing
  • drinking plenty of water
  • wearing soft, loose-fitting cotton underwear and loose clothes
  • using soap products designed for sensitive skin
  • using hypoallergenic laundry products on your clothes
  • using a moisturizing penis cream

If your skin hasn’t improved after a few days or it’s getting worse, speak with a doctor. This may be a sign of a yeast infection, eczema, or psoriasis.

Dry skin on the penis isn’t usually a serious medical issue, but it can be uncomfortable.

Identifying the cause and following the correct treatment plan is key to recovery. If home remedies aren’t working, or you regularly develop dry skin on your penis, talk with a doctor. They can determine whether you have an underlying condition that needs a different treatment plan.