How to Treat and Prevent Circumcision Scars

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Male circumcision is a surgical procedure where a surgeon or religious leader removes your foreskin from your penis, exposing #JustTheTip. But like any surgery, it can leave a scar.

Lots of peeps have circumcised peens for religious or clinical reasons.

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Here’s how male circumcision works and the top ways to heal and prevent scarring.

Getting rid of male circumcision scar bumps

Here’s the 411 on aftercare and how to reduce your risk of male circumcision scars.

For infants

Infants generally bounce back from male circumcision faster than adults. But there are still some aftercare rules to reduce scarring.

Make sure you change bébé’s bandage daily until the wound fully heals. This usually takes up to 10 days, according to the UK’s National Health Service. You also need to wash your baby’s penis with warm soapy water every day.

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Pro tip for the tip: Apply petroleum jelly to the head of your baby’s penis. This helps prevent irritation from diaper friction. A range of petroleum jelly products are available for purchase online.

For adults and older children

Be sure to give your wilkins some TLC after a male circumcision procedure.

You should:

  • Gently wash your wang with warm soapy water every day for several weeks.
  • Wear loose undies to prevent friction. (Boxers are prob your best bet.)

Cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic surgery might not remove your scar 100 percent. But some procedures can make it less noticeable.

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Talk with your doc if you’re not sure where to start. They can recommend a plastic or cosmetic surgeon who specializes in scars.

OTC treatments

Sometimes, scars are inevitable even if you master your aftercare.

Here are some over-the-counter (OTC) ways to reduce its appearance:

  • Lightening creams. These products can reduce discoloration. You might want to avoid them if you have sensitive skin. They can be a bit harsh and cause lightening of the surrounding skin (especially on your penis skin — yikes).
  • Scar oils. These oils are hella hydrating and can reduce the appearance of scars. Each product is different, so results can vary. Your doctor can tell you which will be best for you. We rounded up the best scar creams available.
  • Vitamin E. Lots of OTC skin creams contain vitamin E, but you can also buy vitamin E creams. It’s highly nourishing and can reduce the appearance of scars. (Here are our favorite vitamin E oils right now.)

Lightening creams, scar oils, and vitamin E creams are available to buy online.

Different techniques and scar risk

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There are many ways to remove your foreskin. Each technique might lead to a different type of scar.

Techniques used in infant circumcision

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many infants around the world undergo a circumcision. This includes just over 58 percent of babies in the United States.

Techniques for older kiddos and adults

Some religions, such as Judaism, mandate that male circumcision happens during infancy. Mazel tov!

But older peeps can still opt to have their peen cut. These are the three most popular procedures.

Shield and clamp

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Doctors also use the Mogen and Gomco clamp in adult male circumcisions. A doctor can use several other devices as part of a shield and clamp method.

  1. Your doc will put a protective cap over the head of your penis serving as the shield.
  2. A clamp mechanism is placed around your foreskin to cut off its blood supply.
  3. Using a scalpel, they will remove your foreskin. In some cases, the clamp stays on for about a week, so your foreskin starts to fall of on its own.

Not all techniques use a shield. The doctor may also need to stitch your skin on your shaft back to your skin near the head of your penis.

Dorsal slit

The doctor makes a small incision in your foreskin at the 12 o’clock.

This is usually a preparation for one of the other methods. A dorsal slit provides more space to apply devices like a shield.

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According to a 2013 research review, most docs won’t use this method alone because a dorsal slit can lead to scarring. It leaves your foreskin attached, just with a cut. A person might be experiencing inflammation, in which case the surgeon may carry out a dorsal slit without follow-up.

Do circumcision scars change over time?

According to KidsHealth, circumcision recovery can take a few weeks.

Swelling and discoloration is normal in the first few days after your procedure. You might also notice some raised skin or bumps near the incision.

Itching and discomfort is also common in the weeks after your treatment. This should go away after you’ve healed up.

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The scar’s color and texture should fade naturally over the course of 2 to 3 years.

PSA: Smoking can lead to a longer recovery time, according to the University of Wisconsin, as it can slow down wound healing. Cigs can also increase your risk of complications after surgery. (If you’re worried about quitting, here’s how it feels.)

What do circumcision scars look like?

Not all circumcision scars look the same. You might notice lumps, bumps, or discoloration post-peen-procedure.

Tissue

Surgical cuts can harden or thicken your skin.

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If your scar tissue doesn’t shrink over time, it can leave bumps or ridges under your glans or along your shaft.

Stitch scars

If your doc uses a clamp or excision method, they may give you stitches to reattach your remaining skin to your shaft.

You might have more scarring if the stitches rip or slip.

Keloids

Sometimes scars can develop tumor-like tissue called keloids.

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Thankfully, they’re fairly rare, according to a 2013 case report. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to get rid of keloids.

Discoloration

Scars can change your skin tone. You might notice the area around your circumcision is lighter or darker than the rest of your skin.

The color should even out after a while. But it might return to normal completely.

Takeaway

Male circumcision, a common procedure in certain regions of the world, is where your foreskin is removed from your penis. Like any with surgery, it can leave a visible scar.

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There are many ways to reduce your circumcision scar’s appearance without calling a doctor.

There’s also the option of cosmetic surgery. But the best thing you can do? Slay your aftercare 10/10 to prevent a gnarly scar from forming in the first place.

Learn to love your Johnson whatever it looks like — after all, penises come in all shapes and sizes. But none of the other ones are yours.

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