Sex isn’t without its benefits: It feels pretty damn nice, counts as exercise, brings you closer with a partner, and the list goes on. But have you ever noticed that after the act and during the inevitable bathroom session, your skin kind of glows? There’s a flush to your cheeks, a light misting of sweat, and from underneath, your skin looks healthy and alive. It can’t just be my mirror lying to me, so is good skin something we should add to the list of sex benefits?
According to a pair of dermatologists, sex provides great health benefits to your skin. The increased blood flow and reduced hormone levels that you get through intercourse give you a better complexion.  You can prevent menstrual acne flareups through the energy you use in sexual activity.

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.

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