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Itchy Penis: Was It the Lubricant Or The Latex?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Vinod Raina 91% (6431 ratings)
MD - General Medicine
Sexologist, Delhi  •  18 years experience
Itchy Penis: Was It the Lubricant Or The Latex?

Itchy Penis: Was It the Lubricant or the Latex?

Sometimes a man suddenly finds himself with an itchy penis without any idea of what is causing it. Other times, he has a fairly good idea. For example, if he develops a really itchy penis after using a condom, and this happens consistently, it's reasonable to assume that this particular penis care issue is related to the protection he is using. But before he goes shopping for a new kind of condom to use, it's worth asking, "What is really causing this itchy penis? Is it the latex? Or is it the lubricant?"

A good question

It's a question well worth asking. Many condoms come pre-lubricated now, and many guys who use unlubricated latex barriers will add some lubricant to make things proceed more smoothly. Heck, some guys even add lubricant to a condom that already is pre-lubed. So if a guy has an allergic reaction after using the condom, it may be due to a latex allergy, or it may be due to the lubricant involved.

Real allergy?

Some people seem incredulous that a guy could be allergic to latex or to lubricants. But the fact is that it's possible to develop an allergy to just about anything - and quite a few people do have reactions to latex and/or lubricant.

In terms of the penis, sometimes it manifests as itchiness, but it can also have visible symptoms as well - most often a reddening of the penis or the appearance of rashes or bumps. Sometimes it can cause swelling (not the kind associated with a normal erection) and tenderness. The exact allergic reaction will depend upon the individual.

Test

So how does a person find out if the reaction is to the latex or the lubricant - especially if the condom is pre-lubricated and the specific lubricant used is not known?

One way is to take a condom (unused) and cut it in two. Take one half and soak it in soapy water for an hour or so, then rinse it thoroughly. Use paper towels to soak up excess water, then let it hang to dry. Then take the two halves - one of which has been washed and one of which has not - and place one on one arm and one on the other for 10 minutes. Remove, and wait to see if there are any signs of a reaction. If a reaction shows up on the one which is lubricated, it is most likely the lubricant. If both arms show a reaction, it is more likely to be the latex. (This method is not 100% accurate, but it gives a generally good idea of the cause.)

Alternatively, if the lubricant is self-applied, a test can simply be done applying the lubricant to the body and seeing if there is a reaction or not.

When the source is determined, a guy can then proceed to either (a) purchase non-latex condoms, (b) buy unlubricated condoms, or (c) change the lubricant he is currently using to one which is hopefully more suited to his skin.

A lubricant or latex allergy is only one potential cause of an itchy penis, of course. When dry skin is a cause, regular application of a first rate penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) is urged. Penis skin can dry out for many reasons, resulting in flaky skin which is prone to itching. Keeping the penis skin moisturized with agents like vitamin E and shea butter can stave off many an itchy situation. It also helps to use a crème that contains L-carnitine; serious itching can damage penis sensitivity, and the neuroprotective properties of L-carnitine can help maintain penis sensation at an appropriate level.

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