Health Library
Uncircumcised Penis Care

How Do You Care For an Uncircumcised Penis?

The penis, the outer reproductive organ of the male, consists of two parts -- the shaft and the glans. The glans is the tip of the penis, while the shaft is the main part of the penis. All boys are born with a foreskin, or a covering over the tip of the penis. The foreskin acts as a covering to protect the delicate glans underneath. When a boy is circumcised, this protective foreskin is lost.

Skin cells from the glans of the penis and the inner lining of the foreskin are shed throughout life. Since this shedding takes place in a closed space, they will work their way to the tip of the foreskin. These skin cells are called smegma.

Caring for the Uncircumcised Penis

The care of the foreskin is easy. Wash the genitals with soap and water. Never pull back the foreskin during infancy or young childhood. If the foreskin is forcibly retracted, pain, bleeding and scarring can result.

After birth, the inner surface of the foreskin begins to separate from the glans. This natural separation may take months or years. Do not force it. Most foreskins retract (push back away from the glans) by the age of 5, but there is no need for concern even after a longer period. Some boys' foreskin will not retract until teenage years. At puberty, a boy should be taught to retract the foreskin and clean beneath it during their daily bath.

Last Updated 07/2021

Reviewed By Vicky Hellmann, RN

Visiting Cincinnati Childrens.

Cincinnati Children’s has primary care services at locations throughout Greater Cincinnati.