Dr Michael Rich in Melbourne is one of the few specialist dermatologists who has treated hundreds of men with pearly penile papules (PPPs). Dr Rich has patients come to him at his Armadale clinic from all over Australia and overseas for quick, easy removal which, although medically non-essential, often has an emotional and psychological benefit.
Contact our Melbourne clinic to make an appointment today.
The actual process is straightforward – usually just one laser session, and they’re gone.
The laser is focused solely on the papules, and works from the outside in, vaporising your unwanted pearls. There is no damage to your penis at all, making our laser the perfect tool. At ENRICH, Dr Rich uses the Erbium laser for quick and precise elimination.
The treatment does produce soem discomfort and the area will produce a scab, as you might expect from any cut or scrape, and will should heal over well within a fortnight. A dressing will be applied, needing to stay on for about a week, and you can expect the area to swell somewhat, with some initial bleeding.
Because PPPs hardly ever recur, you can rest easy knowing that this is the only procedure you are likely to need.
The scientific name is hirsuties papillaris genitalis. PPPs are a small ring of flesh-coloured (or slightly lighter-coloured) dome-shaped bumps in an organised row around the corona of the penis.
These little bumps are considered a normal characteristic of some penises and are non-infectious, benign growths. We’re not sure why they occur, but they most often present in men in their twenties or thirties, appearing as tiny pearls around the edge of the head of the penis, more often in uncircumcised men. Men who are circumcised as an adult sometimes find these bumps disappear spontaneously.
Between eight and 43 per cent of men will develop PPPs, though not everyone wants them removed. They can come and go on their own.
Generally PPPs are not considered to affect your sex life, but they can cause the penis in some men to become a little bit more sensitive. Each man will determine how this affects him personally; for most, it is not an issue.
Laser treatment is purely cosmetic in nature. Unfortunately, the bumps can appear somewhat like genital warts and can make a man feel self-conscious about his penis’ appearance, prompting the clinic visit to have them vaporised.
You can’t pick at PPPs and make them go away nor can you apply topical ointments or preparations; you can only have them carefully removed. Picking can cause scarring and should be avoided and topical applications are ineffective and possibly irritating.dermatologits
The procedure is performed by Dr Michael Rich, who has been performing PPP erasure for decades. You are in good hands.
We don’t know why they appear. We do know that they don’t present any sexual or other issues, and are not a health concern. Men have long been worrying about their papules, but still, we are really no closer to knowing why they appear than we were when PPPs were first identified.
PPPs are a normal variant, with uncircumcised men presenting with them more often.
The internet is full of home remedies, but all of them are entirely ineffective. The only way to properly remove your string of pearls is to have it removed using a modern laser by an experienced dermatologist.
Here, we discuss some of the most common ‘remedies’ and explain why they are ineffective.
Castor oil work – it’s oil and oil just doesn’t exert that sort of effect on tissue. Castor oil won’t hurt you, but it certainly won’t get you the results you desire at home.
Tea tree oil is an antibacterial oil often used for infections, which PPPs are not. Tea tree oil will not work because it simply does not work that way. Additionally, undiluted tea tree oil applied can really burn. Never apply undiluted essential oils and if you really want to remove your papules (and a tea tree-scented penis), avoid this home remedy and visit our clinic.
Some chemicals and creams are used as a mild peel or wash, with stronger concentrations obtained by prescription only, or as therapeutic chemical peel at your dermatologist. You cannot get hold of these creams in a concentration that can causing peeling over the counter, nor should you try. You are likely to damage your penis using a chemical peel, and it would have been faster and easier to walk into our clinic and have your pearls removed the old fashioned way – by laser.
You do not have an infection, so applying any type of antibacterial or antibiotic will not do anything at all.
Using toothpaste – sometimes touted as being ‘antibacterial’ is a total waste of time, and may only make you feel slightly embarrassed as your penis cools from the mint flavouring. You do not have a bacterial infection, so anything saying it works because it’s ‘antibacterial’ is misinformed.
Bio-oil is a liquid oil mixture designed to soften and protect. It cannot remove PPPs in any way, shape or form, though your penis will be very moisturised and protected. This oil could be useful if you have dry skin, but it cannot remove PPPs.
Oh honey, this won’t work! Honey has no properties whatsoever. What’s more, honey you buy at the supermarket is pasteurised, meaning it is heated to high temperatures and any properties besides sweetness it may have previously had are gone. Luckily, you do not have an infection, so it doesn’t matter if honey you apply to your penis – for another reason – is pasteurised or not. Honey won’t help.
Calamine lotion won’t work, as it does not contain any properties that can remove skin. Typically used for insect bites, calamine lotion is great for many applications, but a very poor candidate.
Oatmeal is known to be soothing, so unless you have an irritation on your penis, it won’t work.
Strong, prescription-only acne drugs won’t work because they are a serious acne drug that dries up your oil glands, not a skin-removal strategy. PPPs are not an oil gland, and therefore this cannot help you. Acne drugs will not work.
Iodine is an antibacterial agent, and because your problem is not bacterially-based in any way, iodine cannot help. Iodine is also quite drying, so applying it to your penis is going to make your penis dry and a funny colour; it will not remove your papules.
Baby powder is a benign powder that has no active effect except to dry tissue, typically used in babies (though less so these days) to help prevent nappy rash. Baby powder will result in you having a dusty, pleasant-smelling penis and not much more.
Lemon juice is acidic, but not acidic enough to remove even the softest pearly papule. Using any form of topical cream that promises to be acidic is also inappropriate to put onto your penis. Don’t do it.
There is no surgery involved – it’s a laser, which is not less powerful than a scalpel, but there are no cuts. The laser uses heat, making the session fairly quick however, it does come with some discomfort despite local anesthetic on the treatment area pre-treatment.
We have a range of different procedures for men, from hair-loss solutions (the ones that work, not the ones that don’t!), snoring solutions, tattoo removal, facial rejuvenation to and liposuction to remove that unwanted fat pockets.
Pearly papule treatment can rid you of the wart-like appearance of the pearly papules. There is only one good pearly procedure for PPPs: vaporising by a qualified, experienced doctor. Dr Rich does this carefully and is experienced in this procedure as he has been performing it for many years now.
Vaporise your papules today.
*Results may vary from person to person
Pearly penile papules are benign growths that appear in a ring around the corona of the penis. PPPs are so named because they appear like a string of pale pearls, evenly spaced and consistently sized.
Laser removal of PPPs will depend on individual presentation, the clinic, and the doctor. The best way to get an accurate estimate of costs is to give us a call and have a conversation with one of our nurses. Book a consultation today!
Removing PPPs is a specialised skill that only an experienced doctor should be performing. Most doctors don’t have the required experience and technology to remove PPPs, so would refer a patient to a specialist dermatologist like Dr Rich at ENRICH.
PPPs are not contagious and are not an infection or sexually transmitted disease. You cannot give these little bumps to a sexual partner.
Researchers are still unsure why these papules appear, but the consensus is that they are a normal variant and probably a biological remnant from early human days.
These papules are known to sometimes disappear as men age, but it’s impossible to tell in whom the PPPs will come and go in, or why.
The only way to make PPPs go away is by laser. Dr Rich believes that laser treatment is the safest, most effective treatment method. We know that after treatment, PPPs do not return.
There is no real evidence that pearly penile papules affect sexual sensitivity, though they may have played a role in reproduction at some stage. Whether this was via sexual sensitivity or another avenue, we’re not sure. Some men may have increased sensitivity with the papules, but the research isn’t conclusive at all.
There is ample evidence that once removed via laser, PPPs do not return.
The treatment itself doesn’t hurt, but it may be a little uncomfortable. We use an anaesthetic cream so you won’t feel pain during the treatment.
The laser is ablative, which means it is vapourising your PPPs. The treatment doesn’t harm underlying tissue, but the process may result in some redness, swelling, and as the tissue heals over, a small scab.
It’s natural to be nervous about a laser beam directed at your penis, but rest assured you are in the very best of hands with Dr Rich.
While your penis heals, you need to leave it alone, so you don’t disrupt the healing process. But, once you heal – and you’ll know when that is – you can go about your usual activities .
Healing is usually fast, occurring without scarring so long as the small wounds are not disrupted or infected as they heal. Infection is rare with proper care.
Home remedies are not able to work to remove penile papules. While it might seem simple to use a home remedy for your PPPs, the fact is these treatments are internet bunkum and won’t work.
Some popular home remedies are toothpaste, castor oil, and tea tree oil. We cannot recommend trying any of the home remedies listed online not only because they won’t work, but because you could damage the delicate tissue of your penis in the process.
There are two main ways doctors remove PPPs: cryotherapy and laser treatments. Cryotherapy is a freezing technique, while the laser is a heat technique. We only use lasers for PPP removal at ENRICH.
Dr Rich may prescribe you an antibiotic cream to apply topically. If you see any signs of infection – heat, redness, swelling, soreness – call the clinic immediately.
Every laser treatment comes with risks, explained to you before your procedure. PPP removal is a very low-risk procedure; however, it’s important to follow your aftercare instructions to avoid any issues.
Unexpected problems can arise, so talk through the possible outcomes with Dr Rich. The removal procedure is essentially the same as having a wart removed.
Because most people heal quickly and the risks are low, this procedure is available for those men who want it without undue restriction. We cannot perform the procedure on anyone with an active infection on their penis or a skin condition that would pose any risks of adverse outcomes.
Both circumcised and uncircumcised men can have the removal treatment.
Your penis will take about a week to heal fully. The skin on genitals and the anal area heals usually quite quickly.
The laser uses thermal energy – heat – to vapourise the unwanted tissue, leaving your other skin largely untouched. There is likely to be some mild inflammation, and the skin may crust over in a scab as the underlying tissue heals from the heat damage.
There is no blister or cut in the skin.
Pearly penile papules do not pose any risk to a man’s health, considered to be a normal, natural variant of the appearance of a penis.
There is nothing you could have done differently to avoid developing PPPs, including modifying your diet. There is no evidence that diet has anything to do with papule development.
Because these bumps can appear at any age, men often think there was something they did – or didn’t do – that may have caused them to appear. This is not true. There is nothing you could have done differently (that we know of) to avoid the development of your PPPs.
You can’t prevent PPPs from appearing – or disappearing.
Once the skin has healed (about a week), nobody will be any the wiser. If you have an intimate partner who gets close up and personal with your penis regularly, they may notice. There will be no scarring and no sign left on your penis that the PPPs were ever there.
We use an topical anaesthetic cream to reduce any pain during the treatment. We do not inject an anaesthetic into the penis before the laser treatment.
Most men find the treatment very tolerable with the anaesthetic cream, and the post-treatment discomfort manageable and short-lived. Dr Rich can advise you on what painkillers to take should you require pain management.
You will have a thorough explanation by Dr Rich on how to care for your penis as it heals. Normal care routines maintain proper hygiene and ensure a swift, clean recovery. Keep your penis clean and dry, but don’t use harsh soaps or cleansers – your normal routine plus advice from Dr Rich should suffice.
*With all surgeries or procedures, there are risks. Consult your physician (GP) before undertaking any surgical or cosmetic procedure. Please read the consent forms carefully and be informed about every aspect of your treatment. Surgeries such as liposuction have a mandatory seven-day cooling-off period to give patients adequate time to be sure of their surgery choice. Results may also vary from person to person due to many factors, including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise. Before and after photos are only relevant to the patient in the photo and do not necessarily reflect the results other patients may experience. Ask questions. Our team of dermatologists, doctors and nurses are here to help you with any of your queries. This page is not advice and is intended to be informational only. We endeavour to keep all our information up to date; however, this site is intended as a guide and not a definitive information portal or in any way constitutes medical advice.