Health : Pearly Penile Papules

We received an email from a young member that took the time to explain his experience of meeting men and having Pearly penile papules.

His experience of ‘coming out’ to guys about his condition was very moving, so we thought we might be able to help him by educating members about Pearly penile papules. So, bumpy dickie, this post is for you.

Pearly penile papules are tiny bumps that ring the rim of the penis head. They are typically flesh-colored or a little lighter and have a smooth dome shape. They also tend to form in rows, like a string of pearls, which is where their name comes from.

There are no harmful effects other than some possible sensitivity that may be uncomfortable during sex or other activities.

Pearly penile papules are very common, especially among uncircumcised men in their twenties and thirties. 

The reason pearly penile papules appear is unknown. But it is known that pearly penile papules are in no way related to sexual activity or bad hygiene. It is possible that the bumps will appear and disappear on their own. They are not infectious or contagious.

At first glance, they can be mistaken for a sexually transmitted disease, such as genital warts.

If you have pimple like structures either singularly or in clusters on the shaft of the penis or scrotum then this is not pearly penile papules. These may be something commonly known as ‘Fordyce Spots’ or ‘Sebaceous Prominence’.

Pearly penile papules should not be open wounds, should not weep and should not itch or cause any irritation. If you have bumps that do then they may not be pearly penile papules and you should seek medical attention.

Never pick at any bump on your penis as you can cause serious damage, scarring and infection.

Most studies suggest that a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser is the best and most effective treatment for removal of these pearly penile papules.


There are 38 comments

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  1. N MAN

    Thanks for the piece on Penile Pearls. I have had them all my life and a guy or two have freaked out and gone running. Most guys don’t even notice

  2. Ry

    I have the sebaceous prominence thing. I like how it looks and nobody has ever said anything. In that pic the coloring makes them look more prominent.

  3. T-man

    Wow thanks for this article, I have the Sebaceous Prominence (aka penis pimples) since high school, I’ve always wondered what they were, I wasn’t too worried about it since my doctor never commented on it during physicals.

  4. irgy709

    there was actually a study in Nature that made the rounds on the blogosphere a month or two ago about this. the papaules appear to be related to “penis spines” which appear in other apes less prone to monogamy, and were once the norm for our ancestors. human reproductive strategy has tended towards monogamy and longer term relationships as this improves social bonding and group survival rates.

    the penis spines were probably connected to nerve endings and would have made ancestral ape-dick much more sensitive, so they would have reached orgasm even faster. those who could last longer tended to have better social bonding and ended up with more successful societies, so the penis spines faded out. papaules are thought to be left over from the spines, sort of, and show up occasionally.

    I think they go away on their own if ignored long enough, and I have a very slight case that no one has ever noticed. I flipped my shit when I first noticed them as a teenager but I’ve never had a single guy notice or care.

  5. X factor

    Wow, thanks guys! I’ve met some guys who ive had really good connections with but lost it at the sight of my pretty pearls. hehe. Its totally the suckiest part of my sex life. I wonder if people just assume theyre genital warts. you can totally see the look on their face when they give you their own diagnosis as if they have 8 years of medical literature behind them. Even doctors have a hard time (yes i’ve slept with one and he had to get a few looks in the low light before he felt comfortable but he still wasnt 100% comfortable).

  6. Coco Drilo

    So nice that you keep us informed with articles like this. I hooked up with some guy I met on A4A who even later became a very good FB and friend of mine, and it all started because of PPP. He had problems during his intimate encounters and never let a guy suck him or even see his condition because they all freaked out or got turned off or even walked away. He was “touched” by the fact that I was the first guy even who didn’t care about it and even explained him what PPP was since apparently he didn’t even know! so he felt more comfortable during our sex. He is hot and hung!!! LOL

  7. Winter

    I have had this condition, and have underwent circumcision at age 20 thinking it was going to fix the issue – it didn’t! I have also undergone 1 surgery (where I went under) to get rid of them by cutting (age 23), as well as 1 cosmetic surgery using the CO2 laser you discuss in the post (age 27). A combination of the three made my pecker beautiful, but it was expensive… left some scars and I am thinking I probably should have left them alone. If you have PPP decide if you can live with or without them. If you can’t I’d say start with the CO2 surgery!


  8. bigtool

    thanks for posting this! people need to learn the difference between warts and other contagious infections and these normal skin conditions

  9. Dehrul

    so glad to see this because ive had them for as long as i could remember (im 21) almost all my life and thought they were some type of infection even tho ive been tested. they havent bothered me too much and yes they do kinda add to sensitivity i feel much better now that im well informed! =D

  10. Dre

    Oh god thank you for making this. I had been tested for stds and came up clean, but never thought to ask about these little bumps I’ve had since I can remember.

  11. william Austin

    I’m surprised that : Shingles are not mentioned in this post ? That’s what I thought the picture was of Sebaceous Prominence when I first saw it?

  12. Immanuel

    I have penile pearls. I always thought I got them through a botched circumcism. Most of my partners don’t even notice them. I hate getting head around my penis head because it is extremely sensitive. Now I know why. Thanks for the information.

  13. Brian

    thanks for the article on pearly penile papules. I first heard about them when trying to figure out what was going on with my dick when a “bump” came up on the head. I went to a urologist, an infectious disease specialist, a walk-in clinic doctor and a dermatologist and was told it could be cancer or “atopic dermatitis.” I found an article on pearly penile papules but it didn’t match my symptoms. finally my dermatologist noticed some bumps on my wrists and some tiny red streaks in between my fingers. I had also developed some uncomfortable bumps on my ass and all this turned out to be scabies. a “friend” had given them to me over a long weekend together and he never told me he had them. I went through 4 or 5 treatments of Elimite cream, washed every thing and still kept breaking out. finally, an email friend told me about a drug called “Ivermectin” that ironically is also used to treat “river blindness.” My case was so severe because it went mis-diagnosed for so long it took about 5 treatments of Ivermectin to get rid of them. Long story short, if you get an STD guys, tell your friends and fuck buddies or you can be a jerk and not tell anyone. I don’t speak to the jerk who gave me these, but that was after I confronted him about it. his excuse was claiming he didn’t know if he gave them to me or if I gave them to him. THAT DON’T MATTER people. what matters is being a friend and letting your friend know he needs to get treated for a possible exposure, whether it’s skin mites, crabs, syphilis, etc. take care yall


    I just had sex with an Australian guy last night..he’s uncut and he has that Penile Pearls…was wondering why it felt like I was eating a “pinipig”,.kinda

  15. zaq

    wow I have wondered what they were for years. but my doctor never brought it up & I was free of any stds I just stopped wondering. now I’m gonna take another look at my dick….like I wouldn’t have anyway lmao

  16. David

    As men, we know much less about our bodies and especially “down their”compared to our female counterparts. I’m fascinated with ever article like this i read. I would appreciate more articles like this.

  17. Jay

    In Louisville Kentucky the STD rate is at an alarming rate. Guys in Louisville don’t seem to know what a condom is. Many are into Bareback sex and wont even talk to you if you aren’t into it. The majority seem to have a negative attitude all together when it comes to safe sex, they seemingly want no part of safe sex. Many of them wonder why they get herpes hiv or other nasty std’s. There are some who knowingly pass on std’s to others and will even lie just to get into someones pants. I have spoken to many others about this and they tend to feel the same way or notice the same pattern of irrational sexual behavior among the gay community in Louisville. In fact one clinical psychologist stated that he felt the majority of the gay community in Louisville, KY had a very unhealthy mental status. I myself would agree with his Opinion.

    Note: Everything mentioned in the above feedback is Merely an opinion.

  18. Chris W.

    Thank you so much for this article, as others have said, its about time we get this education. It stumped my Doctor for years until he FINALLY found about PPP. I hope a lot of guys read this… I have lost some great potential boyfriends because they assume its genital warts and run. Thanks A 4 A for sharing education!

  19. Joe

    Thank you!! I have had this for years,I now know it has a name. They started to appear gradually until I have a complete ring. I knew it was not sexually transmitted because it started before I had sex. It always bothered me thought because I was ignorant. Thanks once again.

  20. jeffery lee

    Thanks for explaining to me what those ring of white pumpd were around the head of my penis. They first apeared in my twenties, then again in my thirties, then disappeared, and never came back. I wasn’t sexually penertrating anyone, because i gave myself anally. Still thanks for explaining what they were, and that I wasn’t infected with any deceases, or infections.

  21. Lament

    I am saddened by this. I was seeing someone I really enjoyed being around and we became intimate one evening. Although he was very endowed, I noticed (what I now know) the PPP, and I immediately made up a BS situation on the spot (I said I was getting a migraine). It was out of fear. I lost him, and his beautiful endowment LOL. Now, I have learned that what I saw that night is what I see tonight in the above pic. Sad that it only takes a little education to make the most impact. 🙁

  22. David Colina

    Thank you so much for your article, I appreciate the time it took you guys to post it and I truly will like to know more about irregular penis shapes, possible signs of bacteria and so. I live in the Caribbean and islander people tend to be a little bit no careful with sex intercourse.
    This will shake some heads and will create questions, which answers we will read here. Thank you so much!!!!!!!!

  23. Bijorn

    Thanks for the article.. never knew what that was I developed them at 17 and kept them till my mid 30’s when I had them I had really long stamina. They disapeared and the stamina went away is this normal?

  24. George

    I have them too my Doc says its nothing…just normal stuff! Happy your article able to educate the masses out there who are plain dumb!

  25. Menzi

    Thank you so much for that information. I’ve had these for over 6yrs now & I didn’t know how I got them or if they were sexually related. It is such a huge relief to know that these pearly penile papules are normal for uncut guys like myself. Thank u so much!!!

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