fbpx

Does Masturbating Cause Acne?

Masturbation is definitely a topic that carries many misconceptions with it. One of these is that it can have a negative effect on the skin and trigger acne, a painful inflammatory condition that affects millions of people around the world.

However, emerging studies show that, while both masturbation and acne tend to occur during puberty, this is pretty much the only connection between the two.

And that, although both are driven by hormones, there actually isn’t a correlation between them.

So, if you’re interested to learn more about where this myth came from, as well as what actually causes acne for millions of teenagers during puberty, read on.

Does Masturbation Cause Acne?

Plain and simple, no, masturbation doesn’t cause acne.

However, since puberty is the time of hormonal changes, particularly characterized by the increase of the male hormone testosterone which is often blamed for the onset of acne, as well as the first experiences with masturbation for most people, it’s really not that hard to make this connection.

But, just because something sounds logical doesn’t mean it’s actually true. And while hormones are definitely one of the main triggers of acne, masturbation itself doesn’t trigger hormones to cause this inflammatory condition.

Does Masturbation Alter Hormones?

Produced by our endocrine glands and some organs, hormones are powerful chemical messengers that dictate how our bodies develop and function. From telling our cells what to do to regulating our mood, behavior, and health, hormones play a vital role in keeping us alive and healthy.

Now, hormonal changes become particularly prominent during puberty when sex hormones are secreted in large quantities, which can result in drastic changes in behavior and appearance.

Testosterone, for example, is the hormone that’s most associated with male sexual characteristics and occurs in large amounts in men’s bodies and in smaller amounts in women.

This alone characterizes testosterone as a male hormone; however, both men and women need it because it serves many purposes in our bodies, including helping the growth, maintenance, and repair of tissues and bone mass, and even reducing fatigue and depression symptoms, as well as improving mood, and sex drive.

However, it was believed until recently that having an orgasm can lead to an increase in testosterone, which would mean that masturbation can, at least ever so slightly, alter or elevate some hormones.

But that was disproven over a series of studies that observed hormonal and cardiovascular parameters in men after having an orgasm.

Instead, it was proven that, while orgasm increases blood pressure, heart rate, plasma catecholamines, and prolactin, it has no effect on testosterone.

Additionally, this also proves that, while testosterone is often blamed for skin ailments such as acne due to its ability to stimulate the sebaceous glands into producing more oil, which clogs our pores and causes inflammation, masturbation is not necessarily what causes this issue.

So, while we become more aware of deriving pleasure through masturbation thanks to hormones, the self-pleasuring practice doesn’t alter or affect our hormones in return.

Where Does The Myth of Masturbation Causing Acne Come From?

The myth of masturbation causing acne likely stems from our ability to connect the dots and draw conclusions as a way to explain different occurrences that start taking place around the same time at a certain age.

This is most likely why many believe in the connection between puberty, increased hormone production, and first experiences with masturbation and acne.

Additionally, and as already mentioned above, masturbation is a topic that carries many misconceptions, and it’s something that has a long history of being highly discouraged, particularly due to moral and religious beliefs.

So, a combination of misinformation, strong condemnation towards something we didn’t understand that well, and the ability to connect the dots in order to resolve problems all probably played a part in making up (and spreading) the myth of the connection between masturbation and acne.

What Actually Causes Acne?

Acne is one of the most complex inflammatory skin conditions that can be triggered by many factors. And although pinpointing what exactly triggered it at any point of your life can be one heck of a challenge, here are a few most known causes that can help you understand your acne better:

Clogged Pores

Every pimple, no matter how big or small starts as a clogged pore.

The most common cause of clogged pores is the overproduction of sebum, which is an oily substance secreted by our sebaceous glands and serves as the skin’s natural moisturizer.

Sebum, although good for our skin as it prevents it from becoming dry and cracked, can become a problem when produced in excess.

When this happens, sebum can’t reach the surface of the skin and instead forms a stiff plug inside the pore mixed with other types of cellular debris, such as dead skin cells.

This mixture will then attract a particular strain of bacteria, known as Cutibacterium acnes, which use the substance to feed and multiply.

Eventually, this results in an overgrowth of the Cutibacterium acnes bacteria, which triggers our immune system to respond, leading to inflammation.

And it is this inflammation that we see and feel as redness and swelling on the skin.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal imbalances, such as an increase in androgens (male hormones), can oftentimes trigger the overproduction of sebum, which, as we know by now, can lead to clogged pores and eventually acne.

Additionally, some hormones, such as dihydrotestosterone, a byproduct of testosterone, can actually change the composition of sebum, making it thicker and more likely to clog pores.

Other factors, such as stress, which is yet another common presence during puberty, can also indirectly lead to hormonal imbalances, which in turn can trigger or worsen acne.

Inflammatory Diet

A diet that consists of low-quality, processed foods filled with inflammatory components is yet another factor that’s been linked to acne, especially during puberty when many teenagers don’t really have a say in what they eat and tend to go for the easiest and most convenient option, which is often unhealthy fast food.

These inflammatory foods can further aggravate acne by causing inflammation in the gut, which then results in elevated levels of inflammation throughout the whole body.

Having a constant state of low-grade inflammation can be a good ground for acne because it means that your immune system is constantly on the alert and reacts to even the most negligent stimuli, such as tiny clogs inside the pores.

Additionally, food intolerances and sensitivities can also lead to inflammation, which is why it’s important to be aware of any food that doesn’t agree with your system.

However, diet is definitely a vast and complicated topic, and although there are certain foods that are more likely to cause inflammation than others, it can be quite difficult to pinpoint the exact culprit behind your acne, especially because it usually takes time for the damage to show on the skin.

But if you suspect that inflammatory food might be behind your acne, you definitely want to check out GoodGlow’s ebook, which provides super useful information on how to lower inflammation, balance your hormones, and reduce active acne on the skin through diet.

Cosmetics

Cosmetics such as skincare, makeup, and even haircare products can sometimes cause acne, especially during puberty when we tend to become more aware of our appearance and start experimenting with different products.

The problem with many cosmetics is that they often contain comedogenic ingredients, which are components that clog the pores or form an occlusive layer on the skin’s surface and prevent sebum from flowing freely and reaching the surface.

This can then lead to a long and complex process, which is the formation of pimples.

Hygiene

Hygiene is not necessarily a direct cause of acne, but it can play a role in its formation or even make it worse under certain circumstances.

For example, not washing your face regularly can cause dirt, sebum, and dead skin cells to accumulate on the skin’s surface and continue to clog the pores and cause more inflammation.

Additionally to that, surfaces where you tend to rest your head, like pillowcases, also harbor bacteria, oils, and product residue that can rub onto the skin and make its way into the pores, where it essentially becomes food for bacteria, enabling them to multiply and exacerbating acne.

And finally, touching your face a lot can also cause more dirt and bacteria to accumulate on the skin, as well as irritate existing pimples and prolong healing.

So, although hygiene is not a direct cause of acne, it can definitely make it worse, which is why it’s important to develop good hygiene habits in order to control acne.

Need more help? Ask our team!

I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their acne naturally. If you cannot easily find an answer to your question on the website, please reach out to me by email ([email protected]) or send me a message on Instagram or Twitter. I will reply within 24 hours.

Get The Clear Skin Resource Kit

Everything you need to get permanently clear skin, including:

250-Page Comprehensive eBook​

Clear Skin Food & Drink Database​

Members-Only Content​


Ashley-Wilson-Certified-Personal-Trainer
Analyzed by Ashley Wilson

Hi, I’m Ashley Wilson. I’m a part-time personal trainer, yoga instructor, and mom of three. I had a little bit of acne as a teenager, but it pretty much went away after high school. However, during my first pregnancy, I constantly suffered from hormonal acne breakouts. Because I was pregnant, I refused to take medications to manage my hormones to clear my acne. This led me to try lots of self-experimentation with natural remedies that would not jeopardize the health of my pregnancy. During the course of my self-experimentation and research, I found GoodGlow’s blog which helped me quickly manage my acne by following a low inflammation diet. After implementing a lot of the natural acne management strategies Sam and the rest of the team were writing about I asked if I could join the team and document some of my own experiences of dealing with acne during and after my pregnancy. They were gracious enough to accept my offer, and I have been on the team ever since. While I never considered myself to be “unhealthy”, I was never really proactive about taking charge of my health. When I began experiencing a bunch of adverse side effects due to my pregnancy (acne breakouts, taste changes, mood swings, joint inflammation) I knew I had to take better control of my health. Since I made this decision to follow a low-inflammation diet, my skin has cleared, I have more energy, and I’ve had two acne-free pregnancies. However, my diet was just the beginning. Since joining GoodGlow I’ve also learned to prioritize my physical and mental helath. At the encouragement of the GoodGlow team I have begun to regularly practice yoga, resistance training, and meditation. This not only reduces inflammation throughout the entire body but also gives me the foundation to raise three kids while working part time. In my “free time” I am typically running my kids to soccer practice, piano lessons, and teaching healthy cooking classes at my local community center. If you have any questions or want to get in touch please send us an email or message our social channels and I’ll be sure to get back to you within 24 hours. Read more of Ashley's articles.


Leave a Comment

Optin-Splash

FREE Clear Skin Blueprint

Get the Diet + Supplement Blueprint and start your journey towards clear skin today!

- Food To Eat Guide
- Foods to Avoid Guide
- Meal Balance and Shopping Guide
- Supplement Guide

Close
Optin-Splash

FREE Clear Skin Blueprint

Get the Diet + Supplement Blueprint and start your journey towards clear skin today!

- Food To Eat Guide
- Foods to Avoid Guide
- Meal Balance and Shopping Guide
- Supplement Guide

Close