It may come as a surprise to men who think they have their hygiene routine under control, but the wrong approach to penis care can mean unpleasant consequences for the boys downstairs. These common self-care mistakes can leave the manhood sore, throbbing, and prone to chronic skin issues and penile health concerns.
1) Not cleansing often enough. Whether a guy goes a day (or two, or three) without a shower is a matter of personal taste – some men like to be shower-fresh at all times, while others have no objection at all to a bit of a manly aroma. However, when it comes to the penis, skipping the daily wash can lead to itchy, smelly skin that is prone to issues such as acne (from clogged pores) and infection.
2) Neglecting the foreskin. In young boys who are uncircumcised, the foreskin does not always retract fully, and parents are often advised not to pull it back for cleaning in order to avoid damaging the delicate tissue. Because of this, not all men are aware as they get older that they should retract the foreskin gently and clean away any built-up material underneath. This material, known as smegma, consists of dead skin cells, body oils and other fluids that accumulate to form a cheesy paste. Not removing it during a daily wash can lead to swelling and inflammation, a condition known as balanitis that can cause pain and discomfort.
3) Inappropriate personal care products. While cleansing is important, the wrong choice of personal care products can also lead to sore, irritated penis skin. Regular soaps and shower gels are designed to strip away oils and grease; this leaches the natural body oils from the skin and can leave the delicate penile tissue feeling raw, tight and uncomfortable. Cleansers that are designed for sensitive skin are a better choice – men should look for products that are free of dyes and fragrances, as well.
4) Dry masturbation. Masturbation is a healthy and beneficial practice, but without a little forethought, it can also lead to chafing and irritation. A quick, furtive session in the bathroom without the benefit of a lubricant can feel sensational at the time, but dry rubbing can cause long-term damage to the skin and underlying nerve tissue. Men who engage in this practice may notice a significant loss of sensation over time. To avoid this, it is important to always use a personal lubricant – one that is designed for the purpose; grabbing the first slick substance at hand is not generally a good idea, as not all lotions and moisturizers are appropriate for use on the penile skin.
5) Wrong choice of clothing. Clothing that is too restrictive (witness the currently popular “skinny” jeans) can cut off circulation to the penis, leading to a gradual loss of sensation in the area. On the other hand, clothing that is too loose can leave the boys swinging in the breeze, opening them up to potential injury. Even if men tend to go for the low-and-lazy look when it comes to outerwear, choosing underwear that is supportive, but breathable, is the best option for protecting the family jewels.
6) Wrong choice of laundry detergent. Just as the wrong personal care products can cause irritation and itchy, uncomfortable skin, laundry detergents are also frequent culprits when it comes to penile issues. A hypoallergenic detergent may be a better choice for men that have especially sensitive penis skin.
7) Neglecting to moisturize. The penile skin can become dry and dehydrated for numerous reasons. Sweating, rubbing against clothing, friction related to masturbation or sex, insufficient fluid intake – all of these can lead to skin that is parched, cracked and rough. Dry penis skin can lead to soreness, not to mention an unpleasant appearance; and dry skin is less responsive to pleasurable sensation. A high-end emollient such as Shea butter, accompanied by vitamin E to lock in moisture, can soothe roughened skin and restore its smooth and youthful appearance. A penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) can be a better choice than ordinary body moisturizers, as these products often contain fragrances and other additives that are too harsh for the delicate penile skin.