In the quest for perfect skin, celebrities dunk their faces in ice buckets, use crazy expensive home facial products, and eat a sh*tton of salmon. But Amber Rose doesn’t need all that. In a recent interview with Allure, Rose revealed her secret to a glowing complexion is simple: masturbation. Now that’s a beauty routine we can get behind.
Rose’s skincare hack may seem too good to be true, but experts say she’s generally onto something.
During an orgasm, your body releases nitric acid, which increases blood flow. This leaves you with a flushed face—what sexologist (a scientist specializing in human sexuality) Megan Stubbs likes to call the “after glow.” People who’ve just climaxed typically look youthful, fresh-faced, and rosy. Note: These benefits are temporary. Stubbs says the “after glow” comes “immediately after orgasm,” so don’t expect yesterday’s orgasm to translate into today’s youthful glow.
Plus, orgasms release chemicals that have mood-boosting effects. Dopamine, which helps control the brain’s pleasure center, makes you feel good; and epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, gives you a crazy rush. It’s no wonder Stubbs says people who engage in sexual activity often report less stress in their lives. Oh, by the way: Less stress can lead to a better night’s sleep, and it can minimize anxiety-related triggers for skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis, according to dermatologist Julia Tzu, M.D. Skincare benefits for days!
And for the record, those myths about masturbation being linked to blindness and acne have been solidly rejected.
Sexologist Jill McDevitt, Ph.D., tells SELF that some 18th century doctors tried to link masturbation with a number of medical ailments. They blamed it for acne, blindness, and hairy palms. Thankfully, McDevitt says their accusations couldn’t be farther from the truth. “We now understand that these medical claims were myths started as part of an anti-masturbation moral crusade,” she says. “But, the myths still persist.” So there’s no need to worry about your latest orgasm causing an outgrowth of hair on your palms—we promise.
That said, you probably shouldn’t replace your face wash with a nightly self-love session just yet.
The relationship between masturbation and skincare seems promising. I mean, who doesn’t want a fresh face and a stress-free life? The thing is: There isn’t a huge body of research backing this stuff up. Nitric acid increasing blood flow, dopamine making you happy, and epinephrine causing a rush are all basic biology. But the connection between those orgasm-induced responses and flawless glowing skin? Scientifically lacking, at best. Tzu says, “There actually may be a positive effect of sexual intercourse on skin health, although there really isn’t much solid data demonstrating a causal relationship between [the two].” Yes, some studies have found connections between sex, stress, and sleep. But there isn’t research to draw a definitive link between those findings and their potential effects on skin.
The good thing is: We know masturbation doesn’t have major adverse effects on skin. As McDevitt said, those fear-mongering myths have been firmly debunked.
So experts recommend enjoying masturbation for its own sake and viewing any skincare perks as added benefits.
“Sexual behavior can be so deep and nuanced, and…it can often be more satisfying when it is not goal-oriented,” McDevitt says. “While sex has some purported health benefits—some supported by research, some not—I don’t know that people are saying, ‘I want to have an orgasm to possibly increase my sleep function which may, in a roundabout way, increase my skin health.’ And that’s OK.” Instead, she recommends enjoying sex and masturbation as you normally would. Focus on the pleasure—not the potential acne reduction. As dermatologist Bobby Buka, M.D., astutely puts it, “I’m all for spreading the love, but a single visit to a board-certified dermatologist is probably your best afternoon delight.”
So go forth and masturbate as you please. And if you end up looking a little more youthful afterward, you can give Amber Rose a high five.
Also: Women Tell You Secrets About Masturbation (BuzzFeed)