From young boys to grown men, many males have questions about their intact penises that have never been explicitly answered by parents or teachers. This, along with the fact that American culture is squeamish about foreskin for no reason at all, leaves many men uncertain about what is going on down there, particularly when it comes to smegma. What is it? Is it normal? Is it harmful? Are there penis care steps to manage it?
There’s no need for such mystery around something most men in the world have. That’s right – though circumcision is the norm in the U.S., the majority of men globally – around two-thirds – have foreskin. Men should get to know their foreskin as well as the smegma that forms beneath it. The following information will help men get better acquainted with their manhoods.
What is it?
Smegma is a lubricating oil produced by the foreskin. It helps the sheath glide easily over the head of the penis. It provides natural lubrication both during sex and masturbation. Smegma often refers not only to the oil that the body naturally produces, but to the combination of this oil with dead skin cells and other bodily fluids.
Is it bad?
No! Smegma is totally natural, and many men find the lubrication it provides to be helpful in their sex lives. That said, there are certain problems associated with improper hygiene and smegma.
If smegma is not properly cleaned from beneath the foreskin, it can become sticky and cause the foreskin to stick to the head of the penis. This is one cause of phimosis, or inability to retract the sheath.
Another potential issue associated with improper hygiene is balanitis. Smegma that is allowed to build up can develop bacteria that causes an infection, to which the body responds with inflammation. Redness and soreness generally accompany the swelling of the head and foreskin in this condition.
Finally, some men may notice a strong odor coming from their members, and this may be related to bacteria from smegma buildup. However, there is a natural fishy odor that occurs in some men after sex or masturbation, created by their glands; sometimes, this may be mistaken for smegma smell.
It’s important to note that the above problems occur from improper hygiene habits, NOT from smegma itself.
Penis care steps
Obviously, washing the penis regularly is important. Men with foreskin should be sure to retract the sheath and wipe away smegma buildup from under it about once a day. Men who have difficulty retracting the foreskin enough to clean beneath it should consult with a medical professional.
Many men think the best way to keep their penises clean and free of odors is to use strong, scented soaps, but this is not the best way to go. Chemical ingredients in soap can irritate and dry out the delicate skin of the penis. Men should instead wash the member with warm water (not hot), and, if using soap at all, choose a mild, natural cleanser.
Another step men can take to combat bacterial buildup beneath the foreskin is to use a penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) with vitamin A. This natural antibacterial ingredient can safely and gently help keep odors at bay. Aside from that, Man1 Man Oil is an excellent moisturizer; even men with naturally lubricated members may notice dry skin sometimes. Using a lotion designed specifically for the penis is the best way to avoid irritation. Circumcised or not, skin care is important. A man can ensure he’s doing all he can to take care of his manhood by investing in the condition of his skin.