Like I often say, everything is skin care—your sex life included! Yes, a healthy sex life can improve your skin’s appearance, decrease stress, and a few other good-for-your-body things. (We’ll get to it in a second.) That’s exactly why double board-certified dermatologist and psychiatrist Amy Wechsler, M.D., asks her patients about their sex lives when they come in for a consultation or appointment. Yes, usually to their surprise.
Here, why this expert wants you to make sex and pleasure a priority.
Why sex is part of skin care—according to this derm and psychiatrist.
What’s happening with your skin is deeply connected with what’s happening in your life overall. For example, stress and sleepless nights can have a negative impact on your delicate skin, resulting in dullness, fine lines, and sensitivity. On the flip side, taking time for yourself and practicing mindfulness can bring a vibrancy and life back to your complexion.
The deep and restorative sleep you’ve always dreamt about*
“I always sit with a patient—I think it invites people to open up to talk more and sends a message that I’m not in a rush. And then I ask open-ended questions: How they’re sleeping, how their relationships are, and what’s going on with their sex life,” she says. “I think it may seem weird to people. Sometimes people will say, ‘Oh I’m actually just here for this skin thing,’ but it’s all connected… Sex is good for your skin and reduces stress. There’s really good data on this.”
She’s not wrong! There are several benefits to having a robust sex life (be it with a partner or via solo sex). Just to name a few:
- Increases good-for-skin hormones. Studies have shown that women who are sexually active (including solo sex, which is one of many great benefits of masturbation) tend to have higher levels of estrogen since the hormone levels increase during orgasm. Estrogen is key for the normal functioning of the skin, blood vessels, hair follicles, oil glands, and melanocytes (aka pigment-producing cells).
- Reduces stress. Orgasms release oxytocin, which lowers stress levels. Less cortisol leads to less breakdown of collagen and elastin, leading to fewer wrinkles. One study on over 3,000 men and women even found those who had sex three times a week appeared seven to 12 years younger than their actual age.
- Gets the blood flowing. Since sex can be a form of physical exercise, it can also boost the release of nitric oxide, which increases blood flow and oxygen throughout the body.
Take this as your permission to focus on your sex life—it’s for your skin and a derm’s orders. If you want more stress and skin tips, go ahead and check out our recent episode of mindbodygreen’s beauty podcast Clean Beauty School.