In this section
It is important to look after your son's penis and foreskin to
keep it healthy and prevent redness, pain and infection.
The foreskin is the loose skin covering the end of the penis. A
foreskin covers the head of the penis (glans) and cannot be
easily pulled back in most newborns. Over time, the foreskin
separates and is able to be moved back from the tip of the
penis. In many boys this happens by about 2 years of age, but
in some it may not happen until puberty. This is all normal.
In a small number of boys, the foreskin will never retract (be
able to be pulled back over the head of the penis). This condition
is called phimosis. Your son's foreskin should never be forcibly
pulled back for cleaning. There is no need to clean inside the
foreskin in young boys, and trying to force the foreskin down may
cause scarring and problems in the future.
A circumcised penis is one where the foreskin has been removed
by a surgical procedure.
Most young boys will frequently touch or play
with their penis. This is a normal part of their development
and how they learn about their body Once the foreskin is
ready to be retracted, your son will most probably discover
this for himself.
Redness at the tip of the foreskin is very common and may be due
to irritation from soiled wet nappies, soap residue or from trying
to pull the foreskin down to clean the penis. Avoiding these
things, changing nappies frequently and applying some barrier or
nappy cream to the tip of the penis can help.
Make sure you change wet or dirty nappies promptly. Try leaving
him without a nappy for short periods of time (fresh air
A warm bath may soothe red/ sore skin. Dry thoroughly
afterwards and apply a barrier or nappy rash cream liberally with
each nappy change.
Sometimes the tip of the foreskin or the head of the penis
(called the glans) becomes red from an infection. If this is
the case, a cream or ointment will be prescribed. Your
son may cry or complain of pain in the penis, especially
when passing urine (doing a wee). A warm bath may be
helpful in soothing the sore/red skin surrounding the
The white/yellow lumps are called smegma and are made
up of the cells that once attached the foreskin to the head of the
penis. Smegma is normal and will eventually disappear. No
treatment is needed.