Latex has been used for decades in the manufacture of condoms; it is stretchy, durable, and highly effective for preventing the transmission of STIs and as a means of family planning. However, increasing numbers of individuals – both men and women – report adverse reactions to latex condoms and find that they are unable to continue using them without nasty side effects.
Fortunately, there are modern alternatives to latex which can provide equal protection without the associated penis pain, itching and redness. With the right approach to penis skin care, men can soothe an itchy penis and reduce the effects of a negative reaction, as well as choosing the best alternative to latex for future encounters.
What does a latex allergy look like?
Men who are allergic to latex may experience itching, burning, redness, and penis pain. In some cases, the member may become swollen and sore to the touch, and a red rash may appear on the skin’s surface. Women who have a sensitivity to latex may develop similar symptoms on exposure to a condom. In the case of a severe allergy, breathing problems may occur; in this event, emergency treatment is critical.
It is important to keep in mind that many other conditions may also cause similar symptoms, so evaluation by a trained medical professional is strongly urged to rule out any other problems. Also, men who have previously used latex condoms without issues may develop a sensitivity over time.
What to do when a negative reaction occurs
In case of a reaction to latex, the best bet is to wash the skin thoroughly and rinse carefully to eliminate any residual latex and other chemicals with which the condom may have been treated. Men who are experiencing a reaction for the first time should make an appointment to see a doctor.
Alternatives to latex
Men who cannot tolerate latex may choose to use polyurethane condoms instead. These are made from a plastic that does not generally cause a reaction. While it is more expensive than latex, it provides equal protection against both STDs and unwanted pregnancies.
Couples may also choose to use natural condoms made from lambskin; however, while these provide protection against pregnancy, they do not prevent transmission of STDs.
Treating the penis skin right
Treating the penis skin with a little TLC on a daily basis can help to promote overall skin health and keep the penis feeling soft, smooth, supple, and responsive to a partner’s touch. In order to care for the penis properly, men should follow these basic steps:
- Wash carefully, bathing the penile skin with a gentle cleanser, not a harsh, drying soap. Men who are uncut should pay careful attention to cleaning underneath the foreskin to remove any smegma, which can be a haven for bacteria as well as irritating the glans.
- Let it dry thoroughly. While it can be a habit to jump out of the shower, throw on a pair of pants, and rush off to the next activity, it is important to let the skin dry and air out. Dabbing gently with a towel and then waiting a few minutes before getting dressed is a better idea, as damp skin can draw bacteria and fungal spores which can cause itching, soreness, infection and foul odors.
- Dress carefully. Clothing that is overly tight can limit circulation and lead to loss of penis sensation, while clothing that is too loose can promote rubbing and chafing. Rough fabrics or clothing that has been washed in a harsh detergent can also lead to friction that will irritate the penile skin. Men should avoid going commando (skipping the underwear) and choose undergarments that are made from soft, breathable cotton. Boxer briefs or the ever-popular “tighty whiteys” are best for cradling the package without squeezing it to death.
An additional suggestion for men who want healthy, supple penis skin is to invest in a high-quality penis health formula (most health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) containing vitamins, antioxidants and proteins which are noted for promoting healthy skin and nerve cells. Applying a penis cream on a daily basis, after a shower, can increase penis sensation while protecting the skin against ordinary irritants that may compromise penile health.
Penis Pain Solutions – Coping with a Latex Allergy