Yes, I’m going there.

So, the topic of masturbation causing acne is something that I have found comes up frequently around the internet – mostly in the form of studies that say ‘no, there is absolutely no correlation’ juxtoposed against guys who swear up and down that masturbating causes them to break out.

Ladies, I will say right now – I have never heard/read of any females finding that masturbation causes acne, so you can breathe easy as this does seem to be mostly a male problem.

So… anyway, back to the question, does masturbation cause acne in males?

Well, to be honest, I would say no – masturbation does not “cause” acne. Acne is a manifestation of underlying issues – gut problems and nutritional deficiencies, if you want my opinion. Which I guess you do if you’re reading my website. However, once you’ve got that going on (and most do to some degree), people seem to have about a bajillion different things that can trigger their acne.

For example, one person’s major trigger may be stress, for others, it’s a particular food. Or maybe it’s fluoride in the water supply, blood sugar swings, or your chemical cleanser that is irritating the heck out of your skin. 

Unfortunately for some guys out there, sex and masturbation may also be one of them. This will not be true for every male, but judging by real people’s experiences and not the studies (I prefer real people’s experiences), there may be a link here.

For example, I got this email from someone yesterday:

Hi Tracy!

I’ve been watching your videos, and I tried them out, and some other stuff as well. And I discovered something… strange.

Believe me, I’m not trolling, this is not a joke. I’m a 20 years old male, and I found out that masturbation CAN cause very severe acne.

I was on paleo diet, threw away the cosmetics, etc.

Well, my face got pretty good, but after I masturbate, it gets REALLY bad, like 30 zits out of nowhere. Well, I couldn’t know it before, because I ate junk food and stuff, but now, when all bad factors where eradicated, I have noticed it. My skin got really bad on sunday, and I said to myself: I will NOT masturbate, but eat the same foods as before.

My skin is pretty amazing now compared to the old days, and I only had to stop that ONE thing: masturbation. Not because of junk foods, or any other thing.

Long story short: masturbation could be a HUGE factor (its at least 80% for me, the other 19 is picking the pimples, and 1 is the food) Maybe because it tilts the hormone balance?

Now, it seems to me like this is a bit of an extreme case – and I’ve always been hesitant to mention this potential trigger because I didn’t want anyone to get all paranoid about this natural act if it wasn’t the culprit.

But I figured it was time to talk about it since the evidence is quite clear to me that there is potential for acne creation here, therefore, you guys out there may want to try experimenting with cutting yourself off for a while to see what happens.

Why Would Masturbation Trigger Acne?

That I don’t know for sure, but the common theory is that the surge of testosterone when you become aroused triggers it. Male androgens, after all, are responsible for end reactions in the acne formation cycle.

This theory makes sense to me considering I have also heard that in some males, heavy weight lifting workouts that increase testosterone production also can trigger acne.

However, another theory that I find interesting is that it’s not the hormone surge, but the nutrients lost when you ejaculate. Apparently semen contains Vitamins B6, B12, and E; Calcium; Magnesium; Selenium; and Zinc.

Zinc in particular is a mineral that is really important to healthy skin and its deficiency has a strong link to acne. So I can see how this theory would make sense, especially because I have heard that, in general (not acne related), that many men find that they have more overall energy when they hold back.

On the other hand (no pun intended), it also doesn’t make sense to me, because your body is always using these nutrients to create the sperm and semen inside your body whether you blow your load or not. Although maybe production goes into overdrive afterwards in order to catch up, and if you are masturbating every day or multiple times a day, then you really are draining yourself of life force and vital nutrients.

In short, I don’t know the truth and since there are no studies confirming anything, we only have speculation.

I Have to Choose Between Sex and Acne? Great. Kill Me Now.

Well, particularly if the “ejaculation loses nutrients” theory is correct, it doesn’t mean that you need to totally quit – just cut back a little. Try to do it twice a week only, well spaced out. But of course, you will have to experiment to see what works for you, as everyone is different.

I totally realize that trying to choose between acne and orgasms isn’t a fun thing to do. So I asked the person who sent me the above email how he felt about this. I said:

I have a question – and that is – are you planning to never masturbate or have sex EVER AGAIN? It’s a pretty hard thing to choose between. I’ve heard it’s more to do with ejaculation and the nutrients (particularly zinc) that a male loses, so therefore, it wouldn’t be too detrimental if you just did it once or twice a week spread out instead of never.

Anyway, I just wanted to know how you are resolving that part of it with yourself…. you must be happy you know you can control your acne, but it’s at quite the expense. Or is giving it up not such a big deal to you?

And he said:

Im just gonna lower it to once a week for now, and see the results. Naturally I will do them, but more sparingly. One can’t stop doing these, because without them life wouldn’t be full. Acne is bad, but life without sex is worse.

And there you have it.

If you’re a guy, do you notice any connection between masturbation or sex and acne? 

photo by Kait Jarbeau