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Hydrocortizone on Penis - Skin Thinning and Discoloration

Hi,

About 3 weeks ago i developed a rash on the underside of my penis, just beneath the glans.  I already have somewhat thin skin on my penis and I am circumsized.  The rash then flaked and eventually went away.  I saw a dermatologist who said that it was not a yeast infection, but that it might be something like dry skin and general irritation due to sex.  I have never had any irritation like this before during sex, and I have been sexually active for about 16 years.  

The GP I saw before I went to a dermatologist said that I should get some over the counter cream for dermatitis or to try to get some hydrocortizone.  So I basically applied hydrocortizone ointment to my penis for about 7-8 days.  I did put a bit much on the shaft and glans of my penis.  

I stopped putting the ointment on 10 days ago.  My penis has since had a slight loss of pigmentation on the shaft, meaning it is now slighltly "pinker" or ligher in color, AND the skin appears to be thinner.

This was an OTC 1% hydrocortizone cream called Hydrozole.  I only used it for about 7-8 days.  I read that use of hydrocortizone can cause this, but it takes 2-4 weeks of overuse, which I did not do.  Regardless, I have noticed that I developed the side effects of over use.

So, my question is, will my penis skin "toughen" and get back to normal, or am I already looking at permanent damage?  I am very nervous and scared about this.  

I am currently abstaining from sex and masturbation for the next month to see if my skin repairs itself.  PLEASE, anyone with experience with this give me some insight.

Thanks!
Best Answer
Avatar universal
Seems that your penis is looking the same (thin and transparent skin), because you are paying so much attention to it. Just leave it alone, your skin is healing everyday little by little Trust me, it will be the same as before. I understand that you are anxious, but let me tell you, my condition was way worse than yours and now I have a penis that looks healthy and feels healthy. Just relax my friend, you are gonna be ok soon.
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Avatar universal
yeah. I used hydrocortisone 1% on the tip of my penis for nearly two months to treat some psoriasis in 2011 (which was stupid). It now being 2013. Let me tell you, it takes years my man. But the sensitivity and stuff will go away. The skin will just look wrinkly and uneven (I'm guessing this is the permanent part). But it will definitely get better. The skin gets thicker. There really is no such thing as 'permanent' (like forever) skin thinning. The skin will thicken and get most of its elasticity back as the lower layers push through the dead upper layers of skin. It may just heal unevenly, but the skin will be 'healthy' and as thick as it once was. It just takes a long time. Since I'm a couple years down the road, I'll tell you that you're the only one who's going to be able to notice the effects of the damage.    
Helpful - 2
Avatar universal
I used hydro cream in Feb.  For about a week.  All looked good. However. I master bated a few days later. Glans went different colour where skin had rubbed.  Stopped using. Master bated a few more times over the days. Skin cracked. Was dry and sore. Bled at one point in one spot. Knew something up then.

Started using lube. Head was red where skin was thinking but redness was slowly going and shrinking in size.  However felt I hadn't used hydro cream properly. So used again in pea sized amounts . Noticed wrinkly skin when soft. And shiny,  red , smooth skin with capillaries showing when erect. If I masturbated I gave it a day rest or washed it thoroughly to lose residue of hydro.  Now I've stopped using hydro but issues still there. Thin skin etc.

I plan to not use it ever again. And hopefully return to normal asap and not panick about it too much. Will use lube when i masturbate.

Sex is off the cards. I've lost my gf due to this too. Bastad useless cream for penis issues.  Well for mine it was anyway.  Some sore marks from friction. I wouldn't suggest using it if u have friction marks. Ask for something else.  Something to heal instead of reduce swelling. Don't use this cream is my advice.

All its gave me after about 2 weeks on and off of using it , is thin skin on my penis head. Transparent in places when soft and I start to masturbate. And if it's erect it has red capillaries showing around Base of penis head. Has a shiny, smooth appearance.

I will keep u all updated with my progress. One tip is defo to use lube if you're going to masturbate and also cut down on masturbation.  Let it heal.
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
anyone recovered from this?
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Same thing happened to me, irritation, prescribed steroid creams, skin got so thin that I was able to see blood vessel and the skin looked transparent, definetly not healthy. I stop the creams and the skin repaired itself. You'll be ok just stop the use of these ointments.
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Avatar universal
Hi everyone!  Thanks for the insight.

I went back and realized that I had taken the 1% cortisol cream and ointment for not more than 13 days.  I even showed the dermatologist what I was taking at the 7 day mark and he said to continue with another 7 days as needed.  I stopped at 12 or 13.  He was pretty nonchalant overall.

So now again I am worried the damage is permanent.  When I get an erection, the saft is much shinier and smoother, ultimately thinner and the color is lighter.

Should I seek another opinion on how to resolve or do I just let it run it's course.   ...I'm worried this is permanent.

Thanks!
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Avatar universal
...I will add that I stopped the ointment exactly 11 days ago.  But I put more than a little in my penis shaft, and applied it 2-3 times a day.
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Avatar universal
It takes some time for the body to do the repair job! ok?
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Avatar universal
Hey,

Thanks Maatson.  Just to give everyone an update, I spoke with the dermatologist today and he said not to worry (of course he will).  He said that the rash was quite significant--mind you, I've never had one like this before--and that the discoloration and "thinness" is do to it just healing.  

He does not think that my penis skin is thinning or permanently damaged due to 13 days of use.  He said the discoloration will change back to a brownish/red on my shaft once it has fully healed.  ...And also that the "thinness" will also get back to normal, but it just needs anywhere from 1 - 5/6 months.  

I would love to hear from an MD or GP of they have a 5th (ha!) opinion on this.  I am quite an anxious person too, but I love my **** so I don't want to have done anything wrong to it.

I have read quite a few stories online of folks having ongoing issues like this with their penis and it never going properly diagnosed or treated.  I will just have to wait and see what happens.  

Many thanks and I'm open to hearing from anyone else.  Cheers!
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Avatar universal
Thanks.  How long did you use the cortisone for and how long before it got back to normal?
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Avatar universal
I suffered from recurrent balanitis so I used different kind of steroid creams prescribed for different doctors longer than you, and at the end they didn't do any good to me. I noticed that the skin was getting very thin and transparent so I stop and searched online and I was right, the ointments were doing this to me. Didn't take long for the skin to come back to its normal color and thickness. I don't remember exactly, because I had a circumsicion to solve my balanitis. Just don't use it no more, it won't take long to repair and don't worry too much, because the damage is not permanent
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Avatar universal
Thanks, Ra!  That helps.  I'll just ride it out and hope that it gets back to normal in the next 4 weeks.  I"ll post an update by then as this may help others in the future.  

Helpful - 0
1 Comments
Yes, Thanks for posting all of this. I have the exact same problem.  Used Hydro-cortisone as prescribed by an online doctor I paid for advice from WebMD (or at least that is where I began my research).  I have not healed.  Did use it for about 14 days as it alleviated the discomfort and irritation.  This has been ongoing for 6 months.  Now have problems after master bating or sex. I get the rash and tore up with tiny cuts on the skin, and little red dots on the head.  Do I ride this out? It's already been a while.  Should I completely stop any sexual touch on it?  Thanks for your advice.
Avatar universal
Just a quick update.  I contacted Dr. Marvin Rapaort via email.  Dr. Rapaport is a dermatologist out of America who is a vocal opponent of the over prescription of cortisone creams/ointments by dermatologists.

I have read countless threads online where folks were told it was OK to use corticosteriods for extended periods of time by dermatologists.

This is dangerous, in my opinions.  That said, I'm sure it's a case of the good ruining it for the bad.  In my case, the dermatologist I saw could not have been more blase about my condition and encouraged me to stay on the cortisone on my penis for another week.  THANKFULLY, i noticed the Vitiligo and tightening aspect of my shaft.

The skin is still much lighter in color, almost transparent, and also very "thin" in the sense that it is tighter and less "rugged" as before.  

I'm still very concerned, but will see how I go over the next 4 weeks.  I have read that anyone who used a hydrocortisone from anywhere from 2-4 weeks, can develop these symptoms.  

I'm just hoping my penis returns to normal as this is disconcerting.  

Thanks!
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Avatar universal
Don't be so concerned, of my own experience I can tell you that your skin will be back to normal very soon.
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Avatar universal
Thanks Ra.  

I appreciate your encouragement.  It helps and today I am feeling less anxious, but still a bit worried.  

I am clearly very unsettled by the following facts:

-I used 1% OTC hydrocortisone products for nearly 2 weeks (14 days tops); 1% is considered a mild-to-moderate strength which can cause skin thinning and hypo-pigmentation if used for 2 - 4 weeks or longer.  

-Research shows that the absorbtion rate in the genital area is 30% compared to other parts of the body where is is about an average of 5%.

-My dermatologist who dismissed my penis rash as nothing more than an irritated rash, (but nothing he had seen before!), and said it was fine to use the OTC Hydrocortisone acetate ointment for up to a full month with no issues at all.  

-The shaft of my penis is STILL, after 13 days of discontinued use, VERY 1) transparent and 2) lightened in color (it used to be a darker skin tone, now it is very nearly white), and 3) the shaft skin is sensitive to the touch, seems almost elastic and very shiny when I get an erection, and 4) not as durable as before...Hence I am not masturbating or having sex for a while until it repairs itself.

I realize that 2 weeks of use of this mild-to-moderate cream (used 2-3 times per day, liberally), may not cause permanent damage, but my penis is definitely not the same currently and this would probably freak any man out.  

THANKFULLY, I searched online and decided to stop using it based on the side effects I'm experiencing and others have experienced as well.  I'm just disturbed that my dermatologist did not make me aware of these possible side effects after telling me to use it for up to a month, when I experienced the side effects after 2 weeks.

Also, I must be dumb for not questioning him when the labels on all the tubes I used said DO NOT use for more than 7 days unless instructed by your doctor.  

I will be less anxious knowing this my penis skin will return to normal, but obviously every day it keeps looking the same, I am feeling that the damage may be permanent.  

I will have to have faith in your experience Ra1234.  Many thanks again.  

I am quite surprised no doctor has chimed in, but oh well.  Thanks all!
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Avatar universal
Got it, dude.  I will do just that.  Thanks again for the encouragement; it really helps.  I'll report back in a few weeks of progress.  
Helpful - 0
563773 tn?1374246539
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hello,
It is true that on the thin and delicate skin of the penis, application of even mild steroid cream can cause skin thinning and atrophy. However for such kind of skin since you have stopped the application of steroid cream, wear cotton clothes and apply a mild hypoallergenic moisturizer. The skin should heal with time.

It is very difficult to precisely confirm a diagnosis without examination and investigations and the answer is based on the medical information provided. For exact diagnosis, you are requested to consult your dermatologist. I sincerely hope that helps. Take care and please do keep me posted on how you are doing.


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Avatar universal
Hi Dr. Bhupinder,

Many thanks for your reply.  After not masturbating for a week, I masturbated this morning, and within 5 minutes, the skin was red, irritated, very shiny, and it looked like you could almost see blood vessels.  The papules on the glans were more prominent.  

I clearly am not meant to do anything with my penis right now: no sex, no masturbation.  This is not your average friction burn as I've had those in the past.  

I've been applying aloe vera gel, QV moisturizer, and on some days Curash (Gold Bond equivalent) powder.  

After the flare up this morning from masturbation, I am convinced this is something more.

I'm considering to go back to a dermatologist to see if it could be balantitis, OR, if it really just needs to heal on its own.  The skin was already sensitive, so the 2 weeks of hydrocortisone with masturbation here and there has not allowed it to heal fully, but then again, I know my body and I think it could be something more.  

Do you think I should give it 4-6 weeks before I make another appointment?  Thank!!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I am going to get a second opinion from a different dermatologist tomorrow morning.  I continue to put moisturizer on my penis, but I see not change in color and it is still very sensitive on the head and shaft, which are the only areas I applied the hydrocortisone.  

I have read that the effects can be reversible with time or irreversible depending on each case.  I am hoping that it is just a matter of taking months, but I guess I am expecting it to only take a few weeks.  

I just need a realistic expectation of what is happening so I can move on with it.  I'll post what the dermatologist says tomorrow.  

Thanks for all the support!

  
Helpful - 0
563773 tn?1374246539
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Hello,
It is advisable not to use hydrocortisone on the delicate skin of penis without a dermatologist’s prescription. It can aggravate the symptoms. Hence I suggest you to get an evaluation done from a dermatologist, get a biopsy skin or KOH examination ( just to rule out fungal infection) and then start with any treatment.

It is very difficult to precisely confirm a diagnosis without examination and investigations and the answer is based on the medical information provided. For exact diagnosis, you are requested to consult your doctor. I sincerely hope that helps. Take care and please do keep me posted on how you are doing.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hi people, I think I have eventually figured out my problem with this thread, after using a steroid cream which contained hydrocortisone prescribed by the doctor and some other creams my penis every time i get an erection or masturbate goes very red and shiny. Also, the skin colour of my penis has changed since using these creams and does not as healthy as they used to be. For it to heal properly as it can look a little better after not masturbating for a week, do you think I should try and go a few weeks without masturbation and see if the skin heals properly? And I am very scared that this damage is permanent as they used a number of these creams for quite a while :(
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Avatar universal
My issue is still the same after 2 months of stopping the 1% hydrocortisone.  I am not having any sex and I am masturbating just once a week.

My condition has not changed for the better at all.  The areas where I applied the cream are still discolored (more pale/transparent) and ONLY when erect does the penis skin appear waxey/shinier and able to see more blood vessels.  The skin underneath the glans is more wrinkly when soft and more sensitive to the touch; it can easily get irritated.  

This not balanitis, and even the two dermatologists I saw said it was not that.  This is from a bad irritation that went away, but I am 100% confident that the 2 weeks of hydrocortisone applied liberally have caused the side effects of skin thinning and discoloration.  

I have applied vaseline and hypoallergenic moisturizers only.  I think this could just be exacerbating the problem, so I have now stopped put

This should be a wake up call to all doctors who are prescribing even mild steroid creams for use of the penis.  Some of us may be more prone to the side effects than others.  The GP who initially told me to use the hydrocortisone said nothing of the side effects and the first dermatologist I saw said to use the cream for up to one month.    

After 2 months and no progress, this is quite disturbing.  I hope everyone reads this and takes caution.  

Thanks!
Helpful - 0
1938702 tn?1323862609
It is now dec14th, any progress amos?
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Again let me reitreate that absorbtion of even the mildest steroids is quite high on the penile, scrotal, eyelid and the facial skin.While I agree with Cariopteris fully that all should be fine with you yet serve a reminder that these are drugs to be used with caution by derms and non- derms alike.
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Avatar universal
Well i've had the same symptoms, but with my eyelid that I used hydrocortisone on... It's been two months for me and i've used nothing but moisturizer... It seems that the skin thinning hasn't 'thickened' up yet.  
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