Are Home Treatments For Pearly Penile Papules Effective?

Last updated: 2022-10-07

Pearly penile papules, or PPP, are hair-like or small dome-shaped growths developing at the base of a man’s glans penis (or what they call the head of the penis). These tiny bumps measure up to 4 mm and appear in rows, making them look like a string of pearls.

Scientists have yet to fully understand what these penile growths are, including how and why they develop. Still, almost half of the global male population is said to form papules during adolescence and early adulthood.

One of the most common complaints from men about pearly penile papules is that they’re so difficult to get rid of. For lack of understanding and shame, men who have them may choose to hide the condition and resort to pearly penis papules home treatment.

A urologist or medical professional must check skin growth or abnormalities in the penile region. Self-treatments should also be done with the doctor’s consent. In this article, you’ll find out if common home treatments effectively keep PPP away.

Pearly Penile Papules diagnosis

Understanding PPP

Pearly penile papules, also known as papillomatosis corona penis or hirsutoid papillomas, are growths that form exclusively on the base of the glans penis. In some uncircumcised males, they can appear under the foreskin, appearing when it’s pulled back. These flesh-colored, pinkish, or whitish lesions are often found in one or many rows, making them unsightly and worrying to men and their sexual partners.

For several reasons, men often mistake these bumps as symptoms of sexually transmissible infections or diseases, like genital warts, or an indicator of poor hygiene. However, multiple research findings have established that these bumps are considered benign with no accompanying health risks.

Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to consult with a urologist, especially if you’re sexually active, and for your peace of mind. More importantly, talk with your doctor to eliminate the tiny lumps before applying or doing something.

Common home treatments

Many with PPP may choose home treatment for several reasons, including lack of information, treatment costs, fear, and social pressure. Instead of heading to the clinic, most would visit their medicine cabinets to find potential treatments, such as the following:

  • Castor oil

    A natural laxative, castor oil is also used as a lubricant and hair grower. It’s also effective in moisturizing the skin and accelerating wound healing. Unfortunately, this common skin product hasn’t been proven to treat PPP.

    Some sites recommend castor oil as a natural remedy for PPP. According to these sites, a user must wet a cotton ball with the oil and apply it to the affected area. Unfortunately, no research can back its efficacy.

    That’s because penile pearly papules have the same properties as angiofibroma, a non-cancerous lump consisting of fibrous tissue and blood vessels that appear on the face. And while castor oil may hydrate the skin, it can’t remove the tissue fibers lodged deeper into the skin layers.

  • Tea tree oil

    Tea tree oil is a multi-purpose skin product known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It’s a common ingredient in numerous skin products, including those that claim to treat acne, rashes, and minor injuries.

    However, neither bacteria, fungi, nor viruses cause PPP, so this home treatment isn’t recommended or effective in getting rid of these tiny penile bumps. The same is true for products containing alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA, used in skincare ointments and creams).

  • Toothpaste

    Ridiculous as it may sound, some men are encouraged to apply and leave toothpaste on their papules to eliminate them. Like the rest of the treatments mentioned above, this penile papule home treatment method isn’t proven effective, but it is likely not dangerous to try. You might feel a little sensitive down there after applying it, just like when applying it to the similarly sensitive skin inside of the mouth. Note that the chemicals found in toothpastes varies with each brands, there is no study on the effects of applying them to the glans skin.

Are home PPP treatments effective?

Several sites recommend different ‘natural’ penile papules treatment at home, ranging from relatively safe products to potentially dangerous compounds. However, these remedies aren’t proven effective in eliminating pearly penile papules.

Worse, some home treatments recommend certain products, such as wart removers and bleach, that may cause genital problems and impact a man’s sexual functions. Abrasive, acidic, and corrosive chemicals should never be applied to your skin, especially in this sensitive area. These products may cause infection, inflammation, bruising, and scarring on a man’s penis instead of remove the bumps.

Doctor-recommended PPP treatments

The urologist knows if a patient has pearly penile papules just by looking at it. In some cases, a medical procedure called dermatoscopy is used for confirmation.

Surgery, cryoablation, laser therapy, and electrocautery are the only medically approved modes of removal and treatment for pearly penile papules. These methods destroy the tissues that make up the tissue growth.

But not all pearly penile papules home treatments are ineffective. For instance, some available PPP kits work like laser treatments to remove lesions. Like laser therapy, these devices use light beams to vaporize the growths without damaging the surrounding tissues. The set also includes an anesthetic cream to minimize the pain during the procedure.

Besides making home treatment possible, a kit can be purchased for as low as USD$ 99, significantly lower than the average cost of surgical laser procedures pegged at USD$ 2,509, per the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in 2020.


Despite their purported efficacy claims online, most pearly penile papules treatment home remedies aren’t effective, while some can potentially cause damage to the penis. Conversely, some PPP kits show promising results, as they work similarly to laser therapy, one of the scientifically-backed PPP treatments.

More importantly, penile papules treatment at home must only be done after discussing with a medical specialist to warrant safety and efficacy.