Online Dermatologist > Red Penis Rash: Pictures Symptoms Diagnosis & Treatment

Red Penis Rash: Pictures Symptoms Diagnosis & Treatment

by | Apr 30, 2018 | Blog, Rash, Sexual Health, STD

Updated on November 08, 2023


Red Penis Rash

Red penis rash is common to occur during someones lifetime and varies with age and setting, it can be many things. Balanitis is one of the most common, and is a natural infection under the foreskin, which is the most common reason for a red penis. It is most common in the first years of life. The end of the penis becomes irritated, because of an overgrowth of the bodies natural bacteria and is usually found between the glans and foreskin. It can sometimes be related to the difficulty of keeping the area clean or too much cleanliness, it is therefore important to keep a clean balance.

There are many other common causes to a red penis rash, below you can read more on selected cases with a history, picture and the dermatologists answer.


1. Psoriasis

Online dermatologist question
Red penis rash and the entire skin around, they do not itch or sting. I have had this for a year now.

Red Penis Rash Psoriasis ICD 10 L40.0

Red Rash on Penis: Psoriasis on Genital Area – Scaly Patch at the Base of the Penis Shaft, Non-Itching and Non-Stinging – Typical of Psoriatic Skin Manifestation

Online dermatologist answer
Thanks for the picture! The rash looks like possibly psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin disease that affects the skin and develops red, scaly patches on the skin, it is nothing dangerous or contagious and there are several individual treatment options.  You can test with a non-prescription Daktacort cream (2/day for 1 week, then 1/day 1 week, then every other day for 1 week), if it is not better a stronger cortisone cream is needed and the treatment plan should be optimized by your family doctor or dermatologist.

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2. Corona glandis penis

Online dermatologist question
23 year old male. I have had this red rash on the penis for a year now. Itches sometimes usually no trouble. I have tried to self medicate with anti-fungal cream now for two weeks and it has possibly gotten a little better, but I do not know for sure.
Looks like fungus and several bumps, may even turn red on the foreskin sometimes.

Red Penis Rash Balanitis ICD 10 N48.1

Red Rash and Itching on Glans Penis/Foreskin: Indicative of Possible Balanitis or Irritation Eczema. Accompanied by Normal Sebaceous Glands (Corona Glandis Penis)

Online dermatologist answer
Thanks for the picture! The small bumps are completely normal, called CORONA GLANDIS PENIS and are normal sebaceous glands. Based on the images it looks completely normal. You may have had possible a Balanitis: irritation eczema or Inflammation of the glans penis/foreskin that causes itching. Recommended treatment can be to test with Daktacort cream, which is a combination ointment with mild cortisone and anti-fungal properties  2 times/day for one week, then one a day for a week. Do not wash with soap, use only lukewarm water. I also recommend daily moisturizer cream especially after water contact. If it does not get better see your family physician or a dermatologist.

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3. Balanitis

Online dermatologist question

I am 23 year old. I had unprotected sex about 6 month ago with an unknown girl… I freaked out right after and washed my penis  feverishly with both soap and shampoo for a period… I have been tested for chlamydia but I had nothing. I also self-treated with an anti-fungal cream for a week and then it was temporarily gone, but it came back again… After reading on the internet I only wash with lukewarm water and a washing oil from the pharmacy… This has calmed it a bit, but it has come back… Anything else I can do?

Red Penis Rash Balanitis sores ICD N48.1

Red spots/rash on penis: symptoms suggestive of balanitis, indicating inflammation or irritated eczema on the glans penis and/or foreskin

Online dermatologist answer

Thanks. From your history and images this looks like Balanitis an irritated eczema or inflammation of the skin on the glans penis and/or foreskin. It may be itchy, stinging and some cuts may happen.Treatment with topical steroids (eg hydrocortisone 1%, over-the-counter) twice daily for 1 week, then once daily for 1 week, then once every 2 days for 2 weeks is recommended. To avoid recurrences use moisturizing cream several times daily. Also avoid exaggerated hygiene which dries out the skin, use a mild soap and only luke warm water when washing. During sex or masturbation, apply lubricant to avoid friction. If it does not get better see your family doctor or a dermatologist in person.

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4. Eczema


Case – 1

Online dermatologist question

Red Penis Rash Eczema and Scrotum ICD 10 L30.9

Eczema on Genital Area: Reddish patches on penis root and a round patch on the scrotum, each indicating typical symptoms of eczema such as inflammation, dryness, and skin irritation

Normally pink red as in the picture but peels sometimes too. The red patch on the scrotum is round an inch in diameter and the one the penis root is oval. Then I have a blemish in the groin that also itches. It is a bit darker and an inch in diameter.

Online dermatologist answer

Thanks for sending in your query. Based on the information and images submitted this looks like eczema, an inflammation, dry and irritated skin, it is very common. You can treat this with OTC hydrocortisone ointment morning and evening 1 a week, then once daily for a week. Important with daily moisturizer, especially after water contact (shower or bath). If no improvement see your family doctor for further assessment.

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Case -2

Severe Eczema

Online dermatologist question

Hello I have had a red penis rash that can be itchy, that some time stings for almost 3 weeks. It started mildly then it has gotten worse, now the whole penis is red and flaking and when I scratch it, it breaks the skin and it stings. Sometimes some liquid appears and it gets a bit “wet”. The itching gets really bad when I sweat, especially at the gym, then it can start to itch terribly. Now it looks like it has started to scar where the skin is cracked. What can I do? Thanks in advance.

Red Penis Rash Eczema ICD 10 L30.9

Severe Eczema on Penis: Extensive red rash causing itching and stinging, with flaking skin. Scratching leads to skin breakage and potential scarring, suggesting grave eczema that may be infected

Online dermatologist answer

Thanks for sending in your case. This looks primarily lika grave eczema. You need strong cortisone to break the circle of itching. Do you have strong cortisone at home, if so use it twice a day for a week, then once a day there after. Also use plenty of moisturizer, especially after contact with water. The eczema could be infected too. I would advice that you see your primary care physician and get an assessment and a treatment plan.

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5. Genital Herpes

Online dermatologist question

Hi I am 30 years and I have a question about my red penis rash that I get now and then, that can last for a few weeks, before getting back to normal. First the skin is dry and flaky, which can be rubbed off, which leaves the skin underneath red, and a bit irritated. In the last 6 months I have had unprotected sex. I have tested for syphilis and other venereal disease that can cause a rash on the penis, with negative results. My primary care doctor thought it was a fungal infection and gave me daktacort cream that has helped. I am looking for reassurance.

Red Penis Rash Genital herpes ICD A60.00

Red Penis Rash with Dry, Flaky Skin: Underlying Skin Appears Red and Irritated Upon Rubbing Off Flakes. Recurrent Episodes Suggestive of Genital Herpes, a Sexually Transmitted Disease Caused by Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 or 2

Online dermatologist answer

Thanks for the images and history. This looks possibly like genital herpes given that it comes from time to time and lasts about a week. The infection is caused by the Herpes simplex virus type 1 or 2, which is a sexually transmitted disease. I recommend you contact a STD clinic for further testing, when you have visible sores. Treatment and additional information can be provided at the clinic. Fungal infections and balanitis (inflammation of the penis head/foreskin) rarely look like this and are rare on the penis shaft alone.

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Prevalence of Pubic Hair Grooming–Related Injuries and Identification of High-Risk Individuals in the United States. Matthew D et al. JAMA Dermatol. 2017 Nov; 153(11): 1114–1121


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