Sex is already both fun and totally free, which is hard to say about many other things besides like, hikes, which I have mixed feelings on anyway. But getting busy may have other benefits besides being an excellent way to pass the time, because as it turns out, there are some pretty surprising benefits of sex for your skin. So if you skip your nightly skincare routine in favor of a roll in the hay, rest assured that your complexion is still getting a natural boost.
You’ve probably already noticed that you feel relaxed post-sex (and maybe extra sleepy). This is because hormone levels fluctuate during intercourse, and “oxytocin is released during sex. This is known as the ‘feel good hormone’ [and it] relaxes and calms you,” Dr. Debra Jaliman, board-certified dermatologist, tells Romper. Oxytocin can also ease inflammation in the skin and reduces the stress-hormone, cortisol, which is precisely why sex is relaxing. “Sex helps lower stress hormones and that can help reduce inflammation within the body that reflects on the skin as reduced acne, fewer flares of chronic rashes, and glowier complexion,” Dr. Michele Farber of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City tells Romper. Read on for five more ways sex can be just as good for your skin as the fanciest, most snail mucin-y products out there.
1. Promotes collagen production
“When we are stressed, our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol that breaks down and irreversibly damages collagen,” Jeannel Astarita, Founder and CEO of Just Ageless Beauty and Body Lab in New York City, tells Romper via email. Collagen is a naturally-occurring protein in the body that gives skin its elasticity (aka bounce). "Having sex produces serotonin and dopamine in the brain which lowers stress and cortisol levels. This means increased collagen and therefore more plump, youthful skin," Astarita says. So you could buy those tiny sticks of collagen powder, or you could just do the deed; the choice is yours.
2. Helps rid the skin of toxins
I use a cheek tint called “O-Glow” by Smashbox (which is one of my favorite products), but I never realized I could get a real O-Glow without dropping 30 bucks. Sometimes this bright post-coital radiance is referred to as an “afterglow,” but the benefits of sex for skin are far-reaching, and don’t stop just because your romp did. “[Sex] has long-term benefits. Improved circulation of blood, oxygen, and lymph under the skin moves toxins out of the body for better skin and overall health,” Astarita says.
3. Increases blood flow to your skin and lips
You don’t necessarily have to have an orgasm, however, to get glowing skin. “You can still reap the benefits of sex without an orgasm because there is still an increase in blood supply. [This] also helps with anti-aging because collagen production increases as blood-flow increases,” Jaliman says. If you don’t feel like getting freaky, exercise is also a great way to boost blood-flow. “Physical activity gets circulation going and helps deliver oxygen to the skin, leaving your skin rosy,” Farber says, which is just one more reason to get to the gym, a yoga class, (or in my case, force myself to go on a hike).
However, during orgasm specifically, your heart rate will rise, increasing blood supply to the face. This is what causes your skin to look extra radiant and you may also notice that your lips look fuller, per Women’s Health.
4. Produces serotonin and dopamine
Orgasms also “produce more of the serotonin and dopamine that contribute to better skin while also balancing of hormone levels,” Astarita tells Romper. You can, of course, get the same skin-benefits from solo-sex, too, no partner required, or you could go to karaoke or listen to tunes, which also apparently boosts dopamine, according to The BBC.
5. Can help ease hormonal acne
Some good news for people like me who experience pesky hormonal acne in the days before and during their period. "The hormones that are released during sex may help ward off acne associated with your menstrual cycle," Jaliman says. "Sex helps balance out your hormone levels in turn helping prevent an acne flare up."
So the next time I have cramps and pimples on my jaw, and I'd rather watch The Morning Show than even consider taking off my clothes, maybe I'll reconsider at the promise of clearer skin.
Jeannel Astarita, Founder and CEO of Just Ageless Beauty and Body Lab in New York City
Dr. Michele Farber of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City
Dr. Debra Jaliman, board-certified dermatologist with private practice in New York City