How Does Your Skin React When You Contract an STD

Sexually Transmitted Diseases are rising abruptly, particularly among the younger generation. Young people who fall between the age group of 15 to 24 account for approximately 50 percent of STD infections in a year, as per the data from the National Institute of Health (NIH). In this article, let us walk you through why your sexual health is important, symptoms of STDs, dry skin, other early signs, and more.

What is an STD?

According to the Center of American Progress (CAP), nearly 20 million new STD cases are diagnosed every year in the United States alone. STDs are infectious diseases that transmit from one partner to another via sexual contact. Sexually Transmitted Diseases are caused by different types of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. When it comes to STDs, most of you think about HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), which is the most popular yet one of the deadliest viruses we humans have ever known. However, HIV cases are far behind compared to the Chlamydia and Gonorrhea STDs. The most commonly reported STDs in the US are reported by Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infected individuals.

Do STDs Cause Dry Skin?

There are more than 20 different types of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), most of the STDs keep a low profile and don’t exhibit any symptoms. Some may experience dry and itchy symptoms on the skin, especially in the genital and around the groin area. Others can experience that their skin is peeling on hands.

Your skin shows some reaction due to the invaded virus or bacteria during sexual contact. You may experience any of the following –

  • Dry skin
  • Itching
  • Rashes on the genitals and mouth
  • Sores or warts (small outgrown flesh on the surface of the skin)

These symptoms are highly contagious and can spread to other people even without sexual contact. Skin-to-skin contact like kissing with dry skin or sores infected person can transmit the disease to a healthy partner. Thus, it is highly recommended not to take dry skin symptoms lethargically, and leaving them untreated may result in severe health complications in the long run.

What are Types of STDs that Cause Dry Skin?

There are more than 20 different types of STDs, however, not all the STDs cause dry skin symptoms. 3 specific STDs cause dry skin and rashes in both men and women. They are;

  • Herpes (HSV)
  • HIV
  • Syphilis

Two of the above STDs, HIV and Herpes are caused by viral agents Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Human Papilloma Virus respectively. Syphilis is caused by Treponema Pallidum bacteria.

What are the Other Signs of STDs?

Besides the dry skin and itchy symptoms, women affected with STDs can experience symptoms such as unusual vaginal discharge, pain during sexual intercourse, painful urination, abdominal pain, and heavy menstrual bleeding.

STD symptoms in men are identified by penile discharge, swollen testicles, burning sensation, irritation, and painful bowel movement.

It is important to note that almost most of the people who are infected with STDs do not exhibit any symptoms in the initial phase. It may take anywhere between 7 to 90 days for the STDs to make the symptoms come alive. This is one of the reasons behind the widespread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases across the globe, primarily among teenagers due to lack of sex education.

Why does Dry Skin Appear (Other Than STDs)?

Dry skin symptoms may also be a sign due to other health conditions. Conditions like washing the skin excessively, cold weather, exposure to (harsh) chemicals in soaps, and hypothyroidism can also result in dry skin.

However, if you are sexually active and have had or have multiple sex partners, then dry skin and rashes are typically a symptom of an STD. It is vital to get tested for STDs and know for sure.

How to Know Which Type of STD I’m Affected with?

There are only 3 types of STDs that cause dry skin symptoms according to the data and past cases. Now, among the 3 – HIV, Herpes, and Syphilis, the symptoms exhibited vary between these diseases.

HIV STD – Dry Skin and Other Symptoms

HIV progresses in three stages. During the initial and second stage fever, tiredness, sore throat, rash, muscle/joint pain, ulcer in the mouth/genitals, night sweat, and diarrhea. However, most of the time you may not experience the first phase symptoms and the HIV stays low and keeps manipulating for years resulting in an outbreak of symptoms during the final stage. The final stage of HIV is white spots in the mouth, genital or anal sores, coughing and breathing problems, rapid weight loss, memory problems, and persistent headache.

Herpes STD – Dry Skin and Other Symptoms

Herpes symptoms include dry skin, fever, oral sores, pain/itching, and lymph nodes.

Syphilis STD – Dry Skin and Other Symptoms

Syphilis symptoms include joint pain, genital and oral sores (also known as an oral chancre).

What Happens if Dry Skin due to STD is Left Untreated?

Leaving an STD untreated can result in severe health complications. There is no need to worry and wait for the symptoms to go away on their own. STDs can be treated and the symptoms can be controlled with medications. Bacterial STDs such as Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics if treatment begins at an early stage. In the case of STDs caused by viruses like Herpes or HIV, they cannot be cured, but you can control symptoms by daily medications.

If you’re given antibiotics to treat your condition, you should take and finish the prescription period of the drugs given by your physician, even though you stop showing symptoms. Also, abstain from sexual activity and avoid drinking alcohol and consuming tobacco as they fight against the antibiotics, and the treatment process tends to be slower or inefficient.


If you are sexually active, dry skin often indicates a Sexually Transmitted Infection that you have contracted unknowingly during sex with an infected partner. Do not take dry skin and rashes symptoms on your skin and genitals for granted and wait for the symptoms to go away. The signs and the STD infection need to be terminated with the help of antibiotics and treatment procedures. Leaving an STD untreated may lead to complications such as infertility and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).