Foreskin gets a bad rap in American culture, but there are several positive things about it. It provides a layer of natural protection between the sensitive penile head and clothing; it produces natural lubrication for the penis; some partners greatly enjoy the process of "undressing" the head of the penis by retracting the foreskin over the head with lips or hands. While circumcision is not necessary for a healthy penis, there are some unique problems that can occur in uncut men, and guys should be aware of them both in order to identify and prevent them. The following foreskin problems, and the penis care steps to remedy them, are important for all intact men to know.


Balanitis is a condition broadly characterized by inflammation of the foreskin, sometimes accompanied by inflammation of the head. It can be caused by several things. Most often, it refers to an infection created by improper hygiene. Smegma, the white substance that builds up under the foreskin, attracts bacteria and can cause infection if not wiped away on a regular basis (usually, once a day while showering). Proper hygiene is both the prevention and typical treatment course.

Another type of infection that can lead to foreskin/head swelling is candidiasis (yeast infection). In men, this usually occurs among diabetics or those who have unprotected sex with an infected woman. In the former case, managing diabetes effectively is the best prevention protocol, and in the latter, protected sex serves to prevent yeast infections. Treatment involves use of an antifungal cream. If contracted from a partner, both partners should be treated simultaneously to prevent a resurgence.

Finally, aggressive sex or masturbation can lead to swelling of the foreskin and head. Giving the member a break can speed recovery, and using more lubrication next time may help prevent a recurrence.


Phimosis is marked by the inability to retract the foreskin, usually because of infections and scarring. The latter may result from infections due to improper hygiene. Medicated creams may be prescribed to correct the problem.

During adolescence and the teenage years, the foreskin generally becomes unattached from the head of the penis. Rarely, the adhesions that attach the foreskin and head at birth don’t wear away normally, and medical intervention is required. Stretching exercises may be of assistance in naturally retracting the foreskin.


The penis can become injured in such a way that the foreskin gets trapped below the head of the penis. If stuck in this position, the foreskin may cut off blood flow to the head of the penis, constituting a medical emergency. Going to the emergency room is called for in this situation to prevent serious, permanent damage. Avoiding super-aggressive sex and odd thrusting angles can help prevent it.

Foreskin Entrapment

When the penis is flaccid, the foreskin is baggy and often wrinkly. This renders it susceptible to being caught in fly zippers. While this may sound like a silly way to get injured, it can be significantly painful and often requires medical attention to remove the skin from the zipper’s teeth. Men can lessen the likelihood of this occurring by wearing undergarments and practicing caution when zipping and unzipping (sliding one hand between the pants and the undergarments is a good way to go).

Caring for the foreskin is generally not difficult. Guys need to retract it gently and wash away smegma regularly; using just warm water, or warm water plus a very mild cleanser, while wiping the smegma away with the fingers is a simple task. Men can boost their penile care regimens by using a penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) that keeps the skin moisturized, supple and retractable. In addition, a crème with vitamin A can help combat bacteria that promote odors and infections. There’s nothing wrong with foreskin, so long as a man takes proper care of what he has.