White spots on my penis

Are you freaking out about the small white spots that have appeared on your penis? Don’t panic, they’re probably pearly penile papules, which are completely harmless.


Note: They don't look like this. But you get the idea...

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 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.

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.

Can I still have sex?

Absolutely. They don’t affect sexual activity in any way shape or form. Some men feel self-conscious about them, but unless you make a big deal about it other people probably won’t notice.

They suck, how do I get rid of them?

No treatment is required, because PPP is not hazardous to health. But we know your penis is your pride and joy, and so 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. 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. 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 do they last?

We’re not going to lie to you: they 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 them?

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.

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.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.


Updated on 29-Sep-2015

Photos of pearls by Shutterstock