Pearly pink papules, can they be removed, are they contagious?

Dr. Reed,  I have small skin tags on the rim of my penis which frequently raises the “what’s that” question from sexual partners.  Are they contagious?  In my case they have not grown in size, but have been there as long as I can remember.  Look at my photo and please reply.


Dear Kevin,

Pearly pink papules called PPP are mostly seen in uncircumcised men, and we frequently remove them at no charge when we do an adult circumcision.  Take heart, they are not contagious as compared to HPV.  The terms genital warts, condyloma acuminata, venereal warts, and genital HPV infection have all been used to refer to lesions arising from the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus According to current understanding, HPV causes an infection of the squamous epithelium, and genital warts, precancerous lesions, and squamous cell neoplasms are the complications or diseases that follow.  They can be associated with cervical cancer.

Pearly penile papules are small dome-shaped to filiform skin-colored papules that typically are located on the sulcus or corona of the glans penis. Commonly, pearly penile papules are arranged circumferentially in one or several rows and often are assumed wrongly to be transmitted sexually. Pearly penile papules are considered to be a normal variant and are unrelated to sexual activity. Often, lesions cause great anxiety to patients until their benign nature is clarified.

See the images below.


Pearly ;pink papule (PPP)


Pearly penile papules; close-up view. Courtesy of

Pearly pink papules PPP  (close up photo)

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