Let’s get straight to the point: You need to keep your junk fresh. You need to prevent fungal infections. You need to protect it against chafing and itching. You need to keep your balls ventilated, and your hair groomed. But it can mean far more than just showering, too. There are some things soap won’t fix, but that can be solved with other preventative measures. Your junk stays tucked inside a dark, damp chamber all day. It can be a prime breeding ground for fungus, yeast, and more. For that, you need a lineup of powders, creams, soaps, and even the right underwear fabric to eliminate all the potential threats.
We spoke with dermatologist James Collyer, M.D. about the topic. He’s the medical director at Modern Dermatology in Seattle, specializing in men’s skincare. Here are his suggestions for keeping everything clean, fresh, smooth, and above all, healthy.
Never let sweat stick around (get it…stick around?)
I know, it’s obvious, take a damn shower, but sometimes we think we didn’t sweat as much so we are good to go, wrong. “Always shower after workouts,” Dr. Collyer says. “Don’t sit in sweaty clothing, and always wear clean underwear.” Lots of infections are caused by the bacteria nesting inside your underwear or gym shorts (or gym bag), and you should minimize the time they spend on your body, since the bacteria can multiply and migrate quickly. Again, take a damn shower!
Wash with a bar of soap or body wash (not your wife’s loofa)
Dr. Collyer says to avoid exfoliators, scrub brushes, and loofahs when showering, because they can irritate the skin—and the testicle skin is sensitive. “Use a standard, nourishing bar soap,” he says. He always tells his patients to stick with Dove, since it moisturizes while also killing germs. Try Dove Men+Care Body and Face Bar Deep Clean ($10 for 8 bars, Buy It Here).
And keep everything trim (but not too trimmed)
There are hygienic benefits to trimming your family jewels. “Hair can harbor odor and some different forms of bacteria,” Dr. Collyer says. “However, pubic hair also helps decrease friction,” so you should leave some hair, even if you’re going to trim it shorter. Leave anything from a centimeter to an inch if you want a trim-but-not-too-trim result. Don’t use anything besides an electric trimmer on your junk, and avoid putting it right on the skin, since it’s easy to get nicks and to experience irritation on the thin skin. Let me simplify this for you, don’t take a blade to your junk! It’s important to protect it against anything sharp.