Pearly Penile Papules (PPP) – Symptoms & Treatment

Written by Daniel Friedmann, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist on January 27, 2015 19 Comments

pearly penile papules

What are Pearly Penile Papules?

Pearly penile papules (commonly referred to as “PPP”) are typically benign (non-cancerous) growths found circumferentially in a single or double row around the head of the penis. The shape, size, and color of PPP can vary between individuals, but they are most often round, 1-2 mm in diameter, and pink, flesh-colored, or translucent. All lesions on a single patient tend to be identical. Lesions first appear within the second or third decade of life.

Pearly Penile Papules Removal

Before and after photos from recent Westlake Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery patients.

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The images in our Pearly Penile Papules Before and After Gallery are adult and graphic in nature. Click the link below if you are over the age of 18 and are not easily offended by such images.

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Why do some men develop PPP?

There is still no clear answer to why PPP develop. Most dermatologists consider PPP to be a normal variant of male anatomy.

What percentage of men have PPP?

Uncircumcised male patients have a higher incidence of PPP than circumcised males (22% vs. 12%). Additionally, African-American men may have a substantially higher incidence than Caucasian men.

Are PPP contagious or sexually transmitted?

Absolutely not. Patients with PPP cannot spread these lesions to other people or sexual contacts by any means. PPP are very different from genital warts, a sexually transmitted disease caused by the human papilloma virus.

Can PPP be treated?

Absolutely. Two of the most effective permanent treatment options available today are pulsed-dye lasers (to target the blood vessel component of PPP) and ablative carbon dioxide lasers. Both treatments utilize heat produced by laser light to specifically destroy PPP tissue, while leaving surrounding skin and soft tissue intact.

Treatment takes approximately 15 minutes and treated areas heal completely within 1 week. Once the lesions are eliminated, they typically do not reappear.

Daniel Friedmann, MD

Daniel P. Friedmann, M.D. is a fellowship-trained, board-certified dermatologist and phlebologist at Westlake Dermatology and Clinical Research Director of the Westlake Clinical Research Center. He has presented nationally on photorejuvenation, noninvasive fat reduction, radiofrequency devices, up-to-date techniques in photodynamic therapy, the management of stretch marks, and the treatment of hand, chest, and facial veins.

19 Responses to “Pearly Penile Papules (PPP) – Symptoms & Treatment”

  1. Avatar Craig says:

    Interesting post, I did not realize such a treatment existed. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Avatar Ajay says:

    Hey Daniel, Its short but informative. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Avatar CLIVE says:


  4. Avatar AMIT says:

    Hi Daniel is there any cream or medicine for treatment of PPP…

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Amit,

      Thanks for reading our post and submitting your question. Unfortunately topical treatments for PPP are very ineffective, the best options are cryosurgery or laser treatment. We prefer the latter in most cases as it is an easier and less painful treatment.

      We hope that helps!

      –WD Staff

  5. Avatar Albert says:

    Do insurance cover the cost of treatment?

  6. Avatar Steve says:

    How much is the treatment if I want to pay cash?

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for reading our post and submitting your question. Procedure cost will really depend upon your specific needs. That will determine the type of laser used, number of treatment sessions needed, etc. Please contact us at 512.328.3376 and we can give you a preliminary quote over the phone. However, your best bet would be to schedule a free in-office consultation with Dr. Friedmann. Then we can provide the specific treatment that will work best (along with cost details).

      WD Staff

  7. Avatar Noelia says:

    A papule is a circumscribed, solid elevation of skin with no visible fluid, varying in area from a pinhead to 1 cm. It can be brown, purple, pink or red in color

  8. Avatar John says:

    What is the typical cost of this purcedure And is it possible to pay over time prior to having the work done?

  9. Avatar Ivan says:

    Dr.Friedmann is the best doctor I ever seen in my life. I love him because he treat you as a family member. I forgot mention the staffs, they are amazing as well. Sadly, I won’t see him nor his staffs for a long time because I live far away from them. I wish them for the best.

  10. Avatar Gracue says:

    How bad does it hurt?

  11. Avatar Kayden says:

    Hi – is this service only offered at the Austin location or all locations?

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Kayden,

      Currently we are only offering treatment at our mail Westlake location in Austin. Please give us a call for a consultation if you are in town!

      WD Staff

  12. Avatar Cody says:

    Is this service still offered? Do you have a contact email as I have some questions

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Cody,

      We do still offer treatment options for PPP. Please feel free to email any questions to appointments

      WD Staff

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