While having sex can’t reverse “unhealthy habits such as smoking and tanning beds,” says Dr. Piliang, it’s clear that doing the nasty, getting frisky, or whatever else you want to call it, does benefit the skin. As if we needed something else to convince us to have sex, getting clearer, brighter, and younger looking skin is a side effect we’ll gladly take.
Like other forms of exercise, sex increases blood flow to the skin, which will give you a brighter complexion. Thanks to the blood rush, which provides an oxygen boost to the skin, the oxygen boost equals immediate glow. But there are more benefits to your skin than just an easy highlight — and more science, too.
Having sex leads to a reduction in cortisol levels, the stress hormone,’ which can improve collagen production. Collagen — for all non-derms — is the most abundant protein in our bodies. This protein is what helps keep our skin elastic, supple, and smooth. High cortisol levels can physically damage collagen beyond repair, leaving your skin with scars or wrinkles. Thus, the more sex you have, the more skin-saving collagen you have. Even if you’re constantly stressed out, Dr. Piliang adds the boost of estrogen levels during sex also helps to “plump” collagen, so you don’t have to worry about worrying.
The good news doesn’t stop with immediate effects, either. Both doctors say regular sex, one to three times a week, has lasting benefits on complexion and youthful appearance. Dr. Piliang attributes brighter, clearer skin to the lowering of cortisol levels over time, while Dr. Lain says the regulation of hormones oxytocin, prolactin, and estrogen help prevent unwanted menstrual acne flare-ups.
We’re all in for these skin bonuses, but what kind of sex is needed to reap all these benefits? Thankfully, you don’t have to dedicate hours to making love — unless you want to, no judgment here — but Dr. Lain does say that having an orgasm is the “most beneficial” for skin. He explains, “The more energy expended translates to better circulation and higher blood pressure, leading to increased hydration.”
And if you don’t have the time, can’t find a partner, or need a break from yours, masturbation works, too. Although you won’t get all the hormonal benefits, says Dr. Lain, coming and blood flow are bound to happen, which means afterglow and hydration are also coming … your way.