Smegma, a transliteration of the Greek word for soap, is a combination of exfoliated (shed) epithelial cells and transudated skin oils and moisture that collects in the recesses of the body. Smegma is common to all mammals, male and female. Women usually have more smegma than men.
Smegma is the natural emollient which builds in crevices and folds of skin and mucosa of both males and females. It usually only builds to noticeable levels behind the ears, in the folds of the genitals, and between the toes. Infants are born covered by smegma from all of the dead skincells accumulated on their skin before birth. The color varies with the skin color of the individual being near white in light-skinned persons and darker in dark-skinned persons
Smegma is a healthful non-carcinogenic substance. Adult humans, both female and male, should rinse smegma away periodically.
Smegma may be washed away with warm water. Soap is best avoided because it depletes natural skin oils and may cause non-specific dermatitis. Men who have a non-retractile foreskin may flush out the preputial cavity with a bulb syringe. Women can do likewise around their external genitals. The mucosa of genitals of both men and women are sensitive, so it is important to use only water.