It is quite common to notice an area of skin on the penis that looks different from the surrounding skin. It may be red, shiny or scaly, or pale and thin like a scar. If it does not disappear in a week or two, you should have it checked by your family doctor or local genitourinary medicine clinic.

If the odd-looking patch is actually a lump, take a look at our page on lumps on the genitals in men.

  • Most skin conditions that can affect other parts of the body, such as psoriasis, can occur on the penis, and sometimes the penis may be the only site.
  • If the patch is lumpy, it could be warts.
  • Very, very rarely, a funny-looking patch is a pre-cancerous condition.
  • A pale, thin-looking patch could be a condition called ‘balanitis xerotica obliterans’, which is usually treated with a steroid cream.


First published on:
Reviewed and edited by: Matt Brewer
Last updated: May 2021

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