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Boys are born with a foreskin. This is a fold of skin that covers and protects the rounded tip of the penis. The foreskin provides sensation and lubricates the penis.
Some families choose to circumcise boys. This means that the foreskin is removed by surgery. Other families keep a boy's penis in its natural state.
A baby's foreskin can't be pulled back (retracted) over the head of the penis. But over the first few years of life, the foreskin gradually pulls back more easily. By the time a boy is 5 years old, his foreskin usually can be pulled all the way back. Some boys' foreskins cannot be pulled all the way back until they are 10 to 17 years old.
When the foreskin can be pulled back, the area needs to be cleaned every day. Until it can be pulled back, wash only the outside of the penis. Don't try to force the foreskin back.
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Current as of: December 12, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
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