above come from Circumcision, Volume 1, Number 1, June, 1996,
http://faculty.washington.edu/gcd/CIRCUMCISION/v1n1.html#article1, in an
article by George C. Denniston, M.D. M.P.H.
Newborns: Care of the Uncircumcised Penis
Guidelines for Parents
American Academy of Pediatrics
At birth, the penis
consists of a cylindrical shaft with a rounded end called the glans. The
shaft and glans are separated by a groove called the sulcus. The entire penis
- shaft and glans - is covered by a continuous layer of skin. The section
of the penile skin that covers the glans is called the foreskin or prepuce.
The foreskin consists of two layers, the outer foreskin and an inner lining
similar to a mucous membrane.
Before birth, the foreskin and glans develop as one tissue. The foreskin
is firmly attached - really fused - to the glans. Over time, this fusion
of the inner surface of the prepuce with the glans skin begins to separate
by shedding the cells from the surface of each layer. Epithelial layers of
the glans and the inner foreskin lining are regularly replaced, not only
in infancy but throughout life. The discarded cells accumulate as whitish,
cheesy "pearls" which gradually work their way out via the tip of the foreskin.
Eventually, sometimes as long as 5, 10, or more years after birth, full
separation occurs and the foreskin may then be pushed back away from the
glans toward the abdomen. This is called foreskin retraction. The foreskin
may retract spontaneously with erections which occur normally from birth
on and even occur in fetal life. Also, all children "discover" their genitals
as they become more aware of their bodies and may retract the foreskin
themselves. If the foreskin does not seem to retract easily early in life,
it is important to realize that this is not abnormal and that it should
eventually do so.
Infant Smegma: Skin cells from the glans of the penis and the inner foreskin
are shed throughout life. This is especially true in childhood; natural skin
shedding serves to separate the foreskin from the glans. Since this shedding
takes place in a relatively closed space - with the foreskin covering the
glans - the shed skin cells cannot escape in the usual manner. They escape
by working their way to the tip of the foreskin. These escaping discarded
skin cells constitute infant smegma, which may appear as white "pearls" under
Adult Smegma: Specialized sebaceous glands - Tyson's Glands - which are located
on the glans under the foreskin, are largely inactive in childhood. At puberty,
Tyson's Glands produce an oily substance, which, when mixed with shed skin
cells, constitute adult smegma. Adult smegma serves a protective, lubricating
function for the glans.
Foreskin Hygiene: The foreskin is easy to care for. The infant should be
bathed or sponged frequently, and all parts should be washed including the
genitals. The uncircumcised penis is easy to keep clean. No special care
is required! No attempt should be made to forceably retract the foreskin.
No manipulation is necessary. There is no need for special cleansing with
Qtips, irrigation, or antiseptics; soap and water externally will suffice
[Ed. Intact boys should avoid harsh detergents, bubble baths, etc., just
as should girls do, in order to prevent urinary tract infections. Mild
soap and water are all that's needed.]
Foreskin Retraction: As noted, the foreskin and glans develop as one tissue.
Separation will evolve over time. It should not be forced. When will
separation occur? Each child is different. Separation may occur before birth;
this is rare. It may take a few days, weeks, months, or even years. This
is normal. Although many foreskins will retract by age 5, there is no need
for concern even after a longer period. Some boys do not attain full
retractability of the foreskin until adolescence.
Hygiene of the Fully Retracted Foreskin: For the first few years, an occasional
retraction with cleansing beneath is sufficient.
Penile hygiene will later become a part of a child's total body hygiene,
including hair shampooing, cleansing the folds of the ear, and brushing teeth.
At puberty, the male should be taught the importance of retracting the
foreskin and cleaning beneath during his daily bath.
Summary: Care of the uncircumcised boy is quite easy. "Leave it alone" is
good advice. External washing and rinsing on a daily basis is all that is
required. Do not retract the foreskin in an infant, as it is almost always
attached to the glans. Forcing the foreskin back may harm the penis, causing
pain, bleeding, and possibly adhesions. The natural separation of the foreskin
from the glans may take many years. After puberty, the adult male learns
to retract the foreskin and cleanse under it on a daily basis.
1990. American Academy of Pediatrics
Please read more
about this very important topic! There is no site I want to link to in particular
as many of them are a bit graphic and some speak casually of things I don't
want to endorse, but use Google and your own judgement -- and note that
Michelangelo's statue of David is uncircumcised, so there go the "aesthetic"
excuses for this surgery!