When we complain to our dermatologists about having dull complexions or suffering from adult acne, the last thing we expect them to prescribe is sex. But it turns out getting "busy" has benefits beyond the bedroom (or wherever you choose to get it in).
Dr. David Weeks, a British consultant clinical psychologist and former head of old age psychology at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, made us blush with his research that claims regular sex can make you look younger. In a new study, Dr. Weeks found that older men and women with an active sex life appeared five to seven years younger than their actual age.
Curious as to whether Dr. Weeks has truly uncovered "the fountain of youth," we asked a few experts to explain exactly how having more sex is good for our skin.
1. It releases anti-inflammatory molecules.
Dr. Amy Wechsler, who takes a whole-body approach to dermatology, credits sex for its skin-healing abilities. "We're constantly damaging and repairing our skin, and you want to tip the scale more towards repair," said Dr. Wechsler.
She explained, "When you have sex, you're bathing the skin in anti-inflammatory molecules such as oxytocin and beta endorphins. As we get older, we don't heal as often as we repair. But having sex can turn the clock back on that."
2. It makes your skin physically glow.
Sexual intercourse also boosts our immune system, prevents stagnation, allows us to feel more alive and sweat out toxins from our pores, according to Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure.
"This translates to our skin's radiance and being more at ease with facial expression (as we use our facial muscles to express ourselves during a sexual encounter). Ultimately, giving a post-sex glow and possibly helping to ward off wrinkles," said Levine.
Sweating is sure to impart a dewy glow, however Dr. Wechsler said that it is an increase in circulation that triggers the flush. Besides sex, there is only one other activity that releases the anti-aging hormone oxytocin, and that is childbirth.
3. It prevents dry skin.
Another beauty benefit of having regular sex is that it increases estrogen levels, which stave off dryness and improve skin elasticity. But Dr. Wechsler still believes strongly in using a good daily moisturizer.
4. It clears an acne breakout.
Individuals who have more sex have even been proven to sleep better, and we all know how a good night's rest is connected to skincare. "Breakouts occur more when people are stressed or sleep deprived," said Dr. Wechsler. "And I think when you boost those anti-inflammatory molecules by having sex, it is certainly helps treat acne."
As a sex coach, Levine believes "the more, the better." But you don't need to "follow a prescription to figure out what's best for you," she said.
Sexologist Dr. Jill McDevitt echoes this belief, saying "I think people should be having as much sex as they like, but not because it will make them looking young, specifically. When people make a decision to have sex, they don't say, 'I really want to boost my immune system and increase my immunoglobulin A antibodies' or 'I want to increase the elasticity of the skin on my face, so let's have sex.' People have sex because it feels good, they enjoy it, they like feeling close to someone, they're bored and lonely."
Two to three times a week is the number of times Dr. Wechsler suggests having sex to stay looking young, as doing it every day may not be realistic. She also recommends masturbation because let's face it, not everyone is in a relationship or hooking up. This sexually stimulating act may not release as many endorphins in comparison to doing the "do," but it's helpful.
Will you ditch your anti-aging creams and serums for more sex?
Check out more beauty myths that we've debunked (or proven true):
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