The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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I have something that looks like pimples. but their not pimples. They are all around the bottom of the head of my penis. They do not hurt at all. I was wondering what are they?

John (age 14)


It sounds like you are describing pearly penile papules. The head of your penis is called the glans and the bottom ridge where the glans ends and the shaft of the penis begins is called the corona. Pearly penile papules appear on the corona. They look like flesh colored bumps, about the size of the head of a pin, that are a bit lighter in color than the surrounding skin. They appear in one or more rows along the corona. They do not itch, burn, or hurt -- they are just there. If you want to see if your pimples look something like this condition, click here for a photo from an encyclopedia and click here for a detailed photo.

Dark skinned men of African descent are more prone to having pearly penile papules than men of European descent, but they can appear on anyone. They also appear more often on uncircumcised men than on circumcised men. The bumps are fairly common. Estimates are that 8 to 42 percent of men have them.

Pearly penile papules will appear for no apparent reason and causes no harm. However, once you have them, they will stay for the rest of your life, though they will gradually fade and become less noticeable. The cause of the papules is unknown and treatment is not needed. In severe cases where a person insists on having them removed, a dermatologist can use a laser to kill the top layer of skin and force it to regrow. The new skin usually doesn't form more papules. However, this is considered cosmetic surgery. It is unnecessary and only done for looks.

There are other conditions that are similar, such as genital warts, fordyce spots, and molluscum contagiosum, but each of these usually appear in more places than just the corona of the glans. They also have different symptoms.