White spots on my penis

Are you freaking out about small white spots on your penis? Don’t panic, if they’ve suddenly appeared out of nowhere they’re probably pearly penile papules, not whiteheads, an STI or any other type of spot. Pearly penile papules are completely harmless, read on to learn more about them.

Two young people are standing outside chatting about having white spots on your penis

What are these white spots on my penis?

They’re called pearly penile papules (PPP), and despite their sudden appearance, let us reassure you that they’re absolutely nothing to worry about. 

These tiny white spots on your foreskin/penis can form in rows a bit like a string of pearls (hence the name) around the neck end of the penis (penis glands). They’re commonly mistaken for an STI such as genital warts, but are in fact entirely harmless and pose no health risk.

How common are pearly penile papules?

They’re very common (it’s estimated that around 20% of the male population develop them). You can’t pick them up or spread them. They also shouldn’t itch, weep or bleed — but if they do, make sure you see your GP.

If the white stuff around your penis is more creamy than spot-like, it’s probably smegma build up. Again, nothing to worry about, but slightly different to PPP. We’ve got an article on how to get rid of smegma build up here.

Can I still have sex with pearly penile papules?

Absolutely. They don’t affect sexual activity in any way shape or form. Some people feel self-conscious about having tiny white dots on their penis, but unless you make a big deal about it, other people probably won’t notice.

Having spots on my penis sucks, how do I get rid of them?

No treatment is required, because PPP is not hazardous to health. But if you’re worried about how they look, you might find they start to affect your self-confidence.

If this is the case, you can have them lasered off, but this is only performed in private clinics and is expensive.

Under no circumstances should you attempt to remove them yourself. They might look a bit like tiny whiteheads on your penis, but whiteheads they are not! Anything involving cutting, using a smouldering iron, picking or squeezing could lead to scarring and infection, let alone pain. Don’t go there.

The internet has spawned lots of DIY remedies (like dabbing the spots with smoker’s toothpaste, lemon juice, tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil) and ‘cures’ designed to take your money. Avoid all of these. None have been proven to work, plus some of these remedies are quite strong and it’s important to remember what organ you’re dealing with here (wince!).

How long will these white spots on my penis last?

We’re not going to lie to you: these little penile pearls of joy don’t go away. But the good news is that they usually don’t get any bigger once they’ve arrived.

Why do I get white spots on my penis?

There is no known cause of PPP. It’s believed that PPPs are more common in uncircumcised men, and also men in their 20s and 30s, but this remains scientifically unproven.

They won’t cause you any trouble, but if you’re worried in any way, don’t hesitate to get checked out by your doctor or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. Ultimately, a clean bill of health for your bellend is the only way to guarantee peace of mind when you see something you’re not used to, like white bumps on your penis.

Need more support with your health? Check out the rest of The Mix’s men’s health resources here. If you’ve got a health issue that you’re a bit embarrassed to talk about you can post anonymously on our discussion boards or speak to our team directly via text, email or phone.

Next Steps

  • Brook provides free sexual health and wellbeing services for young people in the UK. Brook's services include local clinics and online digital sex and relationships tool.
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By The Mix Staff

Updated on 10-Nov-2022