5 Ways Men Can Prevent Smegma Infection

Does the word “smegma” make you feel uncomfortable? Well, it makes sense. Smegma isn’t very pleasant, and it has many slang nicknames.

What is Smegma?

Smegma is a cheesy fluid that’s secreted by both male and female genitalia. It’s slimy and made of dead skin cells, fat, and protein. Smegma also contains the bacteria Mycobacterium smegmatis, which is the reason for its name.1 Unsurprisingly, smegma is common in uncircumcised men. The foreskin, after all, doubles as the perfect home. It’s also made by specific sebaceous glands along the foreskin’s inner surface. Smegma is made to protect and lubricate the area, especially during sex.2 However, to most people, it looks like pus.3


Thanks to the bacteria, smegma has a distinctive odor. The scent is considered normal in countries where uncircumcision is standard. Yet, in America, most men are circumcised. The smell might be off-putting to some people, depending on who you ask.4 If smegma builds up, your risk for infection will increase. It encourages the growth of harmful germs. The most common infections are posthitis, infection of the foreskin, and balanitis, infection of the foreskin and glands.5 Good hygiene is key for avoiding problems.6 Not sure where to start? Here are five ways men can stop smegma from turning into an infection:

1. Bathing Prevents Smegma Buildup

Bathing helps to remove all the excess smegma as well as keep the bacteria in check


Regularly cleaning your body is a big part of personal hygiene.7 It doesn’t matter if you’re female or male, uncircumcised or not! But if you are uncircumcised, bathing is even more crucial. In a rush? Wash your penis, at least. It’s a must for uncircumcised males. Poor hygiene is a major cause of balanitis. By keeping yourself clean, you can reduce the risk.8

2. Pulling Foreskin Helps Clean Smegma

Just having a bath will not clean the inside of the foreskin which is where the smegma gland is present. Thus cleaning it helps


When you shower, carefully pull back the foreskin of your penis. Clean thoroughly with your hands. Keep in mind that the smegma glands are under the foreskin, so it’s important to wash the area. Don’t tug at the skin too hard. You don’t need to stretch it all the way down! Instead, be gentle.

3. Not Using Soap Can Help With Smegma

Soap contains lots of chemicals and additions that are not good for the sensitive area such as the genitals.


Ladies are always told to avoid scented soaps “down there”9 and it’s no different for men. These products are often full of chemicals, alcohol, and coloring. The
genitals are sensitive, so be careful. If you choose to use soap, wash it off completely. Go for an unscented soap when possible.10

4. Clean The Smegma And Dry It Well

After cleaning the excess bacteria as well as the smegma, dry out the area to prevent moisture build up and thus breed bacteria


Always dry yourself after washing. Otherwise, the foreskin will trap moisture. It’s the perfect set-up for bacterial build-up. You don’t need to be aggressive with this part. Pat it, don’t rub. Use a clean towel at all times.

5. Loose Underwear Can Slow Smegma Buildup

Wearing loose inner wear will help give adequate air and some cooling effect that will help the genital area to remain bacteria-free


When possible, wear boxers. They’ll give your area room to breathe. At night, consider sleeping without underwear. If you choose to wear boxer briefs or briefs, opt for 100 percent cotton. It’s the best fabric to keep things cool.11 If the area gets hot and moist, fungus and bacteria will thrive and cause posthitis.12

Do you have smegma? Don’t panic. It’s normal and common for uncircumcised men. By keeping the area clean, you’ll have nothing to worry about.