Skip to main content

Foreskin Care

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 4, 2023.

What do I need to know about my child's foreskin?

The foreskin is the fold of skin that covers the glans (tip) of your child's penis. At birth, the foreskin sticks to the tip and cannot be pulled back. The foreskin should separate naturally and pull back when your child is about 3 years old.

How do I care for my child's foreskin?

  • Do not force the foreskin to pull back. Your child may have pain, cracking, and bleeding. A scar may form and cause the foreskin to stick to the tip of the penis.
  • Keep your child's penis clean. Use gentle soap to remove smegma from around the tip. After the foreskin has separated from the tip, gently pull it back and wash this area with soap and water. Rinse the soap off. Then gently push your child's foreskin back to cover the tip of his penis. When your child is old enough, teach him how to clean the area.
  • Gently move the foreskin back to the normal position. Every time the foreskin is pulled back, make sure it returns to its original position. The foreskin must always cover the tip. Do not force the foreskin away from or back over the tip. Force may cause more pain, or cause scars to form on the penis.

What do I need to know about problems that can occur with the foreskin?

  • An infection may make your child's foreskin swollen, red, and painful to the touch. An infection may be caused by pulling the foreskin back before it has separated. It may also be caused by not cleaning under the foreskin. This can cause dead skin cells, called smegma, to build up.
  • Phimosis means the foreskin is tight and cannot be pulled back from the tip.
  • Paraphimosis means the foreskin can be pulled back from the tip but cannot be pushed back onto the tip.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Your child's foreskin is stuck behind the tip of the penis.
  • Your child's foreskin or penis swells up and his urine only comes out in drops.

When should I call my child's doctor?

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has yellow discharge coming from his foreskin.
  • Your child's foreskin looks red and swollen, or is painful when touched.
  • Your child has pain while urinating.
  • Your child urinates more frequently and in smaller amounts.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright Merative 2023 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.