Cortisone creams are commonly used for a wide range of itchy skin conditions; in fact, they are one of the products that people reach for first whenever a rash, itching or redness occurs. Creams like this may be effective for certain types of skin ailments, and they are generally considered safe – in fact, they are available for sale at low dosages without a prescription. Men who have itchy penile skin often turn to cortisone creams to relieve the irritation. On the other hand, using these products incorrectly can result in some negative side effects; in men, one of the most frequently reported is the appearance of shiny, waxy-looking, thinning penile skin. Avoiding this problem may require some special attention to penis care; therefore, men who use cortisone to treat penile skin symptoms should follow the guidelines suggested below.
Before discussing the do’s and don’ts for cortisone use, it is helpful to explain how these creams work, as well as the side effects that may occur from improper application.
How a cortisone cream works
Cortisone creams are topical medications containing low dosages of steroids; these are generally sold as ointments in tube form, and most readers may already have a tube of hydrocortisone or a similar product at home. The intended use for cortisone creams is for relieving the itch related to allergic skin reactions such as eczema, psoriasis, or dermatitis resulting from contact with an environmental irritant. Individuals with allergies to plants (e.g., poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and so on) may also use cortisone creams. Cortisone creams work by simply stopping the allergic reaction; they do not “cure” any underlying condition.
Side effects of cortisone use
Cortisone preparations have been found to be generally safe when used as directed, especially at the low dosages available over the counter. Individuals with chronic or severe skin problems may be prescribed higher doses by their doctors and should follow the instructions for application very carefully.
People who use more than the recommended amount of cream, or who exceed the recommended treatment period, may experience skin-related side effects such as thinning of the skin, redness, and irritation; lightening of the skin or discoloration has also been reported, especially in darker-skinned individuals. Excessive use may also result in a burning sensation each time the product is applied. Adding an air-tight dressing or bandage over the application area can increase these effects, and in some cases, long-term use of the cream may lead to striations (stretch marks) on the affected area.
Proper use of a cortisone cream on the penile skin
Cortisone creams may be helpful for penis skin issues such as psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis, as noted above. However, it is important to follow these guidelines for use:
- Do check with a doctor first. If the cause of the rash and itching is not immediately obvious, it is important to check with a doctor. Skin itching on the penis may be caused by fungal or bacterial infections or other issues that will not respond to cortisone and need specific treatments to clear.
- Do use the recommended dosage. The rule of thumb for applying a cortisone cream is to use no more than the amount that can be squeezed onto a fingertip. Follow a doctor’s recommendations and don’t exceed the prescribed amount.
- Don’t apply to broken skin. Creams and lotions should never be applied to broken skin unless directed by a doctor.
- Don’t continue use beyond the recommended period. Generally, cortisone should be used for no more than a week or two. If the problem has not cleared by that time, a visit to a doctor is advised.
- Don’t cover the application area during healing. It is best to leave the area open so that it can “breathe,” as well as to avoid the negative side effects mentioned earlier.
- Don’t scratch! Scratching can cause minute tears in the skin’s surface, further aggravating the problem.
- Do use an emollient along with the cortisone cream. Using an emollient – or moisturizer – can help to soothe the skin and can alleviate some of the potential side effects of the cortisone, such as drying and thinning of the skin. A superior penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) containing a high-end emollient such as Shea butter, as well as additional nutrients for overall penile tissue health, is best for use on the penis skin. Men should avoid hand and body lotions that contain fragrances, as these can cause further irritation. The emollient should be applied to the area before adding the cortisone – a small amount should be massaged into the skin until it is no longer wet or shiny.