Penis Pimples

Reviewed by Frank Cockerill, MD, July 20, 2017

Many times, when a lump or bump crops up "down there", you imagine the worst. It's natural to assume that a symptom in the genital area is caused by an STD, but that's not always the case. There are many different skin changes that can occur in the genital region. Some can be caused by harmful conditions, while others are harmless. Common skin problems that concern men include bumps or pimples on the penis, rashes, and sores.

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Different types of pimples on the penis

Penis pimples or pimples around the penis—namely bumps that are white (appear pus-filled) can be caused by an infection of the hair follicles called "folliculitis"—when normal skin bacteria invade an area that they don't usually inhabit and cause an infection. Folliculitis is typically an infection that does not requires any treatment, as the body is capable of clearing it on its own. Penis pimples or spots that are more yellow in color are known as sebaceous cysts. These can be caused by a clogged oil gland. These, too, commonly clear on their own without any medical treatment. Clear bumps that surround the head of the penis, or pearly penile papules, are a normal skin finding in up to 10% of men, and should not be cause for alarm. Pearly penile papules don't come and go, they are always present for those who have them, but sometimes aren't noticed until someone is explicitly inspecting that area and discover them for the first time.

What to do if you find a pimple on the penis

If you discover any type of pimple on the penis, it is best to leave it alone— do not squeeze it. Squeezing can cause inflammation, worsen any infection that is present, and can lead to scarring. Cleaning your skin with a gentle soap is fine, but do not scrub vigorously, since skin in this area is sensitive and scrubbing could lead to other problems such as a rash or irritation.

If the conditions described above don't seem to fit what you're experiencing, or you are experiencing other concerning symptoms, seeing a doctor or dermatologist for an exam is always the best course of action.

Spots that are not normal to be found on or around the penis are:

  • Spots that are wart-like in appearance
  • Spots that are blisters
  • Spots that are raised
  • Spots that ulcerate
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