What is smegma?

Smegma is a combination of shed skin cells, skin oils, and moisture. It occurs in both male and female genitalia. In female bodies, it collects around the clitoris and in the folds of the labia minora; in males, smegma collects under the foreskin. It is not a sign of a sexually transmitted infection, and it’s not a serious condition. It is actually very common. But if left untreated in men and women smegma can cause an odor and in some cases harden and lead to irritation in the genital area.

How to treat smegma in men:

  • Gently pull back the foreskin. If the smegma has hardened, you may not be able to pull it back all the way. Do not force it, as that can cause pain and tear the skin, which could lead to infection.
  • Use a mild soap and warm water to wash the area that is usually covered by your foreskin. Avoid harsh scrubbing, as that can irritate the sensitive skin. If the smegma has hardened, gently rubbing oil on the area before cleaning it may help loosen up the accumulation.
  • Thoroughly rinse off all the soap and then gently pat the area dry.
  • Pull the foreskin back over the tip of the penis.
  • Repeat this daily until the smegma disappears.
  • It is important to avoid scraping the smegma with sharp devices or cotton swabs. That can cause additional irritation.
  • Use Essence of Nature LLC “Scrotum Oil” after washing.

If the smegma is not improving after a week of proper cleaning, or if it is getting worse, see your doctor. You should also see your doctor if your penis is red or inflamed. You may have an infection or another condition that requires medical treatment.

How to treat smegma in females:

  • Gently pull back the vaginal folds. You can position your first two fingers in a V-shape to help spread the folds.
  • Use warm water and, Essence of Nature LLC ph. balanced “WET Yoni Wash,” a gentle cleanser made just for the yoni, to clean the folds. Avoid getting soap inside the vaginal opening.
  • Thoroughly rinse the area.
  • Gently pat the area dry.

You may also want to wear underwear made of breathable materials, like cotton, and avoid wearing tight pants to help reduce your risk for smegma buildup. Changes to vaginal discharge and odor may indicate an infection. See your doctor if the smegma does not clear up or gets worse. You should also see your doctor if you have pain, itching, or a burning sensation in your genitals, or if you have abnormal discharge. See your doctor if you have yellow or green vaginal discharge as well.

Bottom line:
Clean your genitals daily and avoid using harsh soaps or products in the area. In females, that includes avoiding douches, or vaginal products with fragrance rinses, which can lead to vaginal infections and other health concerns. If you regularly have excess smegma accumulation despite good personal hygiene, or if you notice other changes to your genitals, including inflammation, pain, or abnormal vaginal discharge, see your doctor.