Treat Penile Psoriasis

Psoriasis is the most common autoimmune disease in the U.S. and affects 2.2 percent of the population, about 1 in 50, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF). Psoriasis on the penis or scrotum is just one form of this chronic, inflammatory, non-contagious skin condition. Canadian dermatologist and author Dr. Richard Langley says men are more likely than women to have plaque-type psoriasis on the genitals. Psoriasis of the penis affects both circumcised and uncircumcised men. Dr. Langley says men should overcome embarrassment and disclose their penile psoriasis to their doctor because there are effective treatments.


1. Be upfront with your sexual partner even before you start looking at treatments. Assure them it is not contagious. Wearing a condom during sex will preserve lubricants and prevent skin on the penis from becoming more inflamed. Affected areas can become more red noticeable after intercourse.

2. Penile psoriasis can occur on its own, but it usually occurs in conjunction with plaque-type psoriasis on other parts of the body. Thus, it’s important to treat penile psoriasis as part of the overall condition.

3. Ask your doctor about topical steroids. They are usually effective and physicians usually use lower potency steroids. Doctors are more likely to treat inverse psoriasis which appears in the folds of the skin and the perianal region. Doctors usually start with a mild to medium-potency topical steroid, as the skin in these areas is usually thinner and more likely to develop side effects such as thinning and stretch marks. Non-steroidal creams and ointments for genital psoriasis include Protopic (tacrolimus), Elidel (pimecrolimus) and Dovonex (calcipotriene).

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4. Avoid using coal tar or anthralin products on the penis because they can irritate sensitive skin.

5. Consider ultraviolet (UV) treatment. According to the NPF, physicians most often use topical and UV light for penile psoriasis. They rarely prescribe systemic treatments, such as methotrexate, for penile psoriasis alone.

6. Expect a positive outcome. Genital psoriasis of all kinds generally responds well to treatment.