It’s no secret that acne can flare up from unhealthy eating, unbalanced hormones, and harsh skin care (among a plethora of other factors). But what causes big breakouts after that “other” activity? In this article, we’re diving under the sheets to discover whether or not sex causes acne.

Our Hormones

To determine whether or not it is the underlying cause of some acne flare ups, we need to understand the body’s reaction to the hormones released during intercourse. According to Dr. Amy Wechsler, while having sex, you’re “… bathing the skin in anti-inflammatory molecules such as oxytocin and beta endorphins”. These natural chemicals create a sense of wellbeing, and can contribute to lower stress, better chance of quality sleep, and higher serotonin levels – all of which contribute to clearer skin.

Dr. Wechsler also says the endorphins and oxytocin release during intercourse creates “… healing molecules in the body that help repair the skin, increase cell turnover, and even work to reverse the aging process”. This is great news for those dealing with fine lines and acne scarring. Furthermore, your body also releases immunoglobulin A. This antibody is known for fighting infections, which is a bonus for those with acne lesions.

SkinB5’s founder, inventor, and MD Judy Cheung-Wood states increased blood flow and circulation from sex can also remove toxins, deliver nutrients to the skin, and ultimately help the skin fight off bacteria and infection more effectively. So if sex is such a great acne fighter, why do some experience breakouts afterwards?

The Sheets

If you’re wondering when you last washed your sheets, it’s definitely time to wash the sheets. Bacteria from dirt and oils on bed linen, especially pillow cases, are notorious for causing breakouts. This is especially true if you have existing open acne wounds, which can become easily infected. Practice good hygiene habits by washing all of your sheets, pillow cases, and quilt covers at least once a week.

Pore-Clogging Products and Sweat

Even if you’ve completely rejigged your skincare routine to products that are natural, gentle, and effective on clogged pores and acne, you may still break out from other comedogenic ingredients. What skincare does your partner use? Does he use pomade or heavy moisturisers? These types of products can irritate your skin and cause breakouts. Sweat, in general, can cause acne, but sweat between two people and, if you’re so inclined, massage oils, is the perfect equation for problem skin. Make sure you both take a thorough shower afterwards to wash it all off.

Facial Hair

Whether your partner has short stubble or a full beard, you may find your skin irritated after some affection. Harsh friction from facial hair increases your skin’s oil production, which can lead to clogged pores and acne. The friction can even cause you to break out in a mild rash. If you’re really struggling with sensitive skin, either he’ll need turn clean-shaven or you’ll need to calm your skin afterwards with cool water, a gentle cleanser, and a lightweight moisturiser. Check out SkinB5’s topical range, which features aloe vera among other calming ingredients.

There we have it. While making love actually improves acne, outside factors can make it a veritable warzone for your skin.