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Popping penis pimples: Harmful for sexual health?

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Peter, in Charleston, SC, has the following question:

"I think I have a pimple on my penis. Should I pop it?”

A pimple on the penis is a pain; I get it. But please, don’t pick, poke, prod, or pop that pimple. Okay, enough with the alliteration; but seriously, whether the pimple is on your face or your penis, picking at it is just going to make it worse. Squeezing that pimple can push bacteria down into the pores of the skin, which can lead to irritation, swelling, and even infection. So it’s best to just leave it alone. If you feel you must do something about it, you can wash the area gently with soap and water twice a day and apply a warm compress to the area; this may help speed up healing.

Whatever you do, don’t use any sort of pimple medication, as these typically contain salicylic acid and peroxide, both of which can be extremely irritating and drying to the delicate skin of the penis. Furthermore, it could accidentally work its way up and find its way into the urethral opening, which could cause a pretty nasty infection, or at the very least, a serious burn. You don’t want to go down that path, so just try to leave it alone. It should clear up on its own in a day or two if it’s really a pimple.

Now, if it gets worse, if it gets incredibly painful, swells, bleeds, oozes – or if it sprouts a friend or two – this could be a sign that the pimple is not a pimple, after all. It could actually be a sexually transmitted infection, such as herpes. So if the symptoms start to get worse, you definitely need to see a doctor. Now, I always say it’s better safe than sorry, so if it were me, I would make an appointment regardless, but if you want to wait a day or two and see if it gets better on its own, the choice is yours. But ultimately, if things get worse, you need to see the doctor for a professional medical opinion.

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