This beauty “trend” deserves major side-eye. (Photo: Getty Images)
There’s a myth floating around the Internet that semen facials are something a person can try in order to freshen their skin. This myth has been floating around for years, perpetuated by former Cosmo editor Helen Gurley Brown and Heather Locklear, that recently resurfaced when beauty blogger Tracy Kiss made a tutorial video of her own semen facial.
In a description of the tutorial, Kiss claims this treatment has had “positive results” combating her rosacea, a condition where there is redness of the skin accompanied by small, red, pus-filled bumps. But when Yahoo Health asked dermatologist Cybele Fishman, MD, of Integrative Dermatology in New York City, she told us that putting a substance like semen on your face is an especially bad idea for people who suffer from rosacea or eczema.
Semen is alkaline since sperm are happier in an alkaline environment. Our skin, on the other hand, is acidic — and “putting an alkaline substance like semen on it disrupts the skin barrier,” Fishman explains. “While this is especially bad for people with eczema or rosacea, a “disrupted skin barrier is bad for everyone because it makes the skin more prone to infection and oxidating substances, which age the skin by destroying collagen and elastin.” So not only does putting semen on your skin not actually rejuvenate it, it could actually age it.
Plus, if the semen has a sexually transmitted disease and that semen makes contact with breaks in your skin, you could potentially be infected with the STD, Fishman adds. (While she notes this is highly unlikely, it’s still theoretically possible.)
This begs the question of where one would go about acquiring semen for a facial (and storing it, for that matter). Whether or not it is from a trusted source, how sure are you really where your semen facial donor has been? It’s just not something we’d be willing to take a chance on.
So would a semen facial have any redeeming value? Technically, semen “has zinc and copper in it,” Fishman says, and “zinc is good for your skin if you have acne. Copper is a vital mineral for enzymes that help make collagen.” Yes, both of these are technically antioxidants and, therefore, good for the skin, but semen contains such low amounts of these that “there are easier, more independent ways to get those minerals,” she says, such as actual face creams that you can buy from drug stores or specialty stores.
“With so many good anti-aging products, why on Earth would you go to semen?” Fishman says. “I am a fan of using natural ingredients on your skin, but I think semen is pushing it. I once had a patient who was using her own urine on her face in an attempt to treat her acne. Just because you can do something, does not mean you should.”