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How to clean an uncircumcised penis

The main difference between a circumcised (cut) and an uncircumcised (uncut) penis is the presence of a foreskin around the head of the penis.

First thing first, it is totally okay and totally normal to have an uncircumcised penis. Whether you will get circumcised or not, the decision is up to you. 

An uncircumcised penis requires some extra attention when it comes to hygiene. If you don’t regularly clean under the foreskin, bacteria, dead skin cells, and oil can cause smegma to build up.

What is the smegma?

Smegma is the white stuff that sometimes forms on the penis head of an uncircumcised penis. It is made of dead skin cells, skin oils, and moisture.

Its role is to keep the penis head moist and to provide lubrication thus facilitating the movement of the foreskin up and down the penis head.

If it is left to accumulate, smegma starts looking like a white, cheese-like layer covering the penis head and releases an unpleasant smell and the area can become a breeding ground for bacteria. This can cause redness and swelling of the head of your penis, called balanitis.

Balanitis is not usually serious but it's important to see your health care provider for help and treatment.

So how can I keep an uncircumcised penis clean?

The best way to prevent smegma from accumulating is to clean your penis in the shower each day. Warm water will do. Gently pull the foreskin back and wash underneath.

Don't try to pull back the foreskin with force, as this could be painful and cause harm. The penis head is a particularly sensitive area and using strong soap or lotion while cleaning it could irritate it and cause more serious problems. If you want to use soap, choose a mild or non-perfumed soap to reduce the risk of skin irritation.

Make sure to also wash the area between your scrotum and anus and between your butt cheeks. This will help you be odor-free.

Reminder

As you wash, it is important to look out for any unusual lumps or swellings on your testicles. If you find something unusual, make an appointment with your health care provider to find out what it is.

Also, remember that having an uncircumcised penis does not protect you from getting HIV and other STIs. Use a condom correctly every time you have sex.

Did you learn something new?

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