It is common practice for physicians in Western cultures to recommend the surgical removal of the foreskin (or prepuce), called a circumcision procedure. Physicians often cite “hygienic reasons,” though there is no medical need for this procedure and the decision should be left to the person with the penis. At birth, the foreskin is fused with the glans (or head) of the penis via the balano-preputial lamina (BPL), a thin membrane that acts as a natural “glue.” Over time, the membrane dissolves, gradually separating the foreskin from the glans, enabling the skin to be pulled back. By adulthood, the foreskin should no longer be attached to the glans. Retraction, or pulling the skin toward to body to expose the head of the penis, should never be forced.
Some of the advice in medical literature or given by pediatricians/physicians contradicts the advice given in the educational pamphlet above. However, it is important to remember this area of the body cleans itself and mishandling of this sensitive skin will cause severe pain (because of the many nerve endings) and can lead to infection and possibly permanent scarring.