Penis caught in zipper? Yikes! A 2013 article published in the Journal of the British Association of Urological Surgeons reported that about 17,616 men had shown up to the emergency room between 2002 and 2010 with part of their genital skin caught in the zippers of their pants. This problem is most prevalent among men with foreskins, and those who go commando are most vulnerable. Injuries to sensitive penile skin tend to be extremely painful, and appropriate penis care steps need to be taken in order to limit the damage to the skin when removing it from the grips of a metal fly. The following are methods used, either at home or the hospital, to get the skin free.

Note: It is best to seek out the help of a medical professional for this problem, as DIY methods may result in further damage to the skin.

1) Cutting the Zipper

If skin is caught between the teeth of the zipper, then removal is fairly simple. The zipper can be cut both above and below the site where the skin is trapped. The teeth will easily come apart, freeing the skin.

2) Cutting the Slider

Sometimes, penile skin gets trapped in the sliding mechanism of a zipper. When this occurs, the two faceplates that make up the front and back of the sliding mechanism can be separated to free the skin. To do this, a doctor may use a bone cutter, wire cutter or small hacksaw to sever the median bar that connects the two faceplates.

3) The Screwdriver Method

If breaking the faceplates apart is not desirable or deemed too risky, a screwdriver may be used to pry the faceplates apart and widen the gap between them, enabling the skin to come loose.

4) Mineral Oil Soak

Some medical professionals advocate soaking the zipper and skin generously in mineral oil, and allowing that to sit on the area for 10-20 minutes. It may loosen the skin enough to easily slide out.

5) Retracing the Zip

By far one of the least ideal methods, the penile skin may be freed by unzipping the zipper back over the entrapped skin. This can lead to further damage to the skin, and is best left as a last resort in case other measures fail.

6) Circumcision

Perhaps the least ideal of all solutions is emergency circumcision when the foreskin is entrapped. This is also a last resort, and should be considered only in the most severe cases where other options have proven ineffective.

Cuts and cracks on the penis are never a pleasant thing, and a zipper isn’t the only thing that can cause them. Excess friction from rough masturbation or sex can damage the skin. Penile tissues may also grow dry from cold weather or chafing against clothing. For the wellbeing of the tool, men would do well to wear soft cotton undergarments and to use adequate lubrication when engaging in sexual activity, either partner- or solo-based.

An extra step men can take to prevent cuts on the penis is to use a quality skin care product that keeps the area moisturized and supple. Ingredients like Shea butter and vitamin E are beneficial, but by themselves may be too greasy for the penis skin. That’s why it’s best to invest in a specially-formulated penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) that goes on smooth and doesn’t clog the pores like some pure products do. A crème that contains other penis-friendly ingredients for proper blood flow and nerve function (such as L-arginine and acetyl L-carnitine) is ideal. While a crème like this should not be applied to skin that is broken, it can be used once skin is closed up to help it heal and become more resilient.