Your guide to genital skin conditions and solutions

Written by: Dr George Kravvas
Edited by: Kate Forristal

The skin is the largest organ of the human body, and it serves several roles, including as a protective barrier against the external environment.


Like any other part of the body, the genital region is susceptible to a range of skin diseases. These conditions can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and even life-threatening.


In this online article, Dr George Kravvas explores six unique genital skin diseases, their causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.



Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). This viral infection can cause painful sores and blisters on or around the genital area. It can also lead to flu-like symptoms during the initial outbreak. Genital herpes is a lifelong condition, but careful use of antiviral medications can help suppress the condition and reduce the frequency of outbreaks.


Genital Warts 

Genital warts are caused by certain low-risk strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). These warts appear as small growths on the genital and perianal areas. Genital warts are contagious and can be transmitted through touch or sexual contact. Treatment options include topical preparations, cryotherapy, and laser therapy. Assessment of the immune system’s health and vaccination against HPV may be recommended in some treatment resistant cases.



Jock Itch (Tinea Cruris) 

Jock itch is a fungal infection that affects the groin and inner thighs. It causes itching, redness, and a rash in the genital area. This condition is more common in individuals who are prone to sweating or those who wear tight-fitting clothing. Antifungal preparations or tablets are effective in treating this condition.



Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune/autoinflammatory skin condition that can affect various parts of the body, including the genital region. Genital psoriasis can cause red, scaly or glistening patches, and itch or discomfort. Treatment may include topical preparations, and moisturisers. In some severe cases, systemic treatment with tablets of injectable biologics may be necessary.



Balanitis is an inflammation of the head of the penis (glans), and posthitis is inflammation of the foreskin in uncircumcised men. It can be caused by several underlying conditions, including psoriasis, lichen sclerosus, precancer, and cancer. Symptoms may include redness, swelling, itching, and discomfort. Treatment involves maintaining good hygiene, and careful use of topical medications. In some resistant cases circumcision may also be required.


Lichen sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus is a common inflammatory and scarring condition that affects the genital area and is a recognised risk factor for the development of genital pre-cancer and cancer.  It is caused by the long-term exposure of susceptible tissues to micro-amounts of urine. The symptoms are those of itch or discomfort, splitting, redness, and shiny/white scar-like areas. Lichen sclerosus can permanently alter the architecture of the genitals. Untreated or partially-treated disease in men can lead to tightness of the foreskin, and in women it can lead to complete loss of the lips (labia) and the clitoris. Treatment can be achieved by maintaining good hygiene, careful use of topical preparations, and in some men with circumcision.



Genital skin diseases can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life and sexual health. It's important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have any of these conditions. Additionally, undertaking regular check-ups with a specialist healthcare provider can help prevent or diagnose a condition at its early stages. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can lead to better outcomes and improved well-being.



Dr George Kravvas is a leading consultant dermatologist with expertise in all skin conditions, and a specialist interest in genital skin diseases. You can schedule an appointment with Dr Kravvas through his Top Doctors profile.

By Dr George Kravvas

Dr George Kravvas is a leading consultant dermatologist and distinguished dermatological surgeon at the Skin Inspection Clinic

He specialises in skin cancer, moles, acne, eczema, psoriasis and genital dermatology
Dr Kravvas embarked on his academic journey at King’s College London, where he pursued a dual degree in medicine and philosophy. Subsequently, he honed his expertise in dermatology through rigorous training across esteemed institutions in Edinburgh, Bristol, and London.
With a profound dedication to dermatology, Dr Kravvas specialises in several critical areas within the field. His particular interests encompass skin cancer and mole screening, skin surgery, and the management of inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Additionally, he possesses expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of male genital skin diseases.
Dr Kravvas is an active contributor to the advancement of dermatological knowledge through his involvement in skin-related research. His contributions extend to multiple publications on significant topics within the sphere of dermatology. Presently, he is engaged in pursuing a postgraduate medical research degree (MD Res) at the esteemed University College London (UCL). His research focus revolves around male genital lichen sclerosus, male genital pre-cancer, and cancer.
Notably, Dr Kravvas is affiliated with numerous esteemed professional organisations. He holds memberships with the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV), the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM), St John’s Dermatological Society, the British Society of Dermatological Surgery (BSDS), and the British Society of Medical Dermatology (BSMD).

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