Every year or two, there are new DIY trends in the world of beauty, some were questionable, such as the Kylie Jenner lip challenge, and others less harmful like lash extensions or the no make-up look. Semen facials, however, take the cake in lieu of being the weirdest beauty trend. The male ejaculatory fluid was making the rounds a few years ago as the newly discovered, game-changing and natural way to get glowing skin. Take a minute to let that sink in. Beauty bloggers were pushing this idea forward by calling it a worthy 'home remedy', which involved rubbing semen all over your face to achieve a dewy glow and ‘skin that doesn't look a day over 20’. Websites took it as far as to advocate that semen helped in the prevention of tooth decay!
Even Indians, who are usually huge propagators of home remedies, would shy away from this one.
Beauty bloggers, such as Tracy Kiss and even the former editor of Cosmopolitan, Helen Gurley Brown, were earnestly advocating for the application of semen on the face. It gained so much traction that there was once a time when a famous New York spa offered spermine facial! Why did people buy into in such an outlandish skincare trend?
Skincare products often throw around words such as antioxidants, proteins and minerals to convince you of the product’s credibility, and it works most of the time. When the trend of semen facials emerged, the same conversations were occurring about it, for example, the former editor of Cosmopolitan, Brown describes it as ‘full of protein, as sperm can eventually become babies.’ This aided the propagation of the claim to a wider audience and invoked people’s curiosity towards the trend.
Beauty blogger Tracy Kiss, who pioneered the trend
Tracy Kiss, a beauty blogger has a semen-facial tutorial video on her YouTube channel, if you’re curious. Here is how she describes the outcome of putting semen on her face, “I use the semen to look after my skin, to rejuvenate it, to give it some freshness," she says. Why? "You know, semen builds babies, they come out very soft and they have beautiful skin.” she continues. Sorry but this doesn’t really qualify as logic.
The YouTuber was featured on the Cosmopolitan for her semen facial tutorial where she explained how semen helps soothe down her rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness and small bumps to appear on the face. Sperm seems to have solved the problem she's battled with all her life as it helps rejuvenate her complexion which balances out the redness caused by the skin condition. However, there isn't a scientific explanation for this, it's purely anecdotal.
From where does she get the semen? She says that a male friend occasionally drops a semen donation in a small container, and she mentions that one must use it as quickly as possible to maintain freshness. According to her, you can't just take anyone's sperm as the semen quality affects how it will interact with your skin. Tracy reiterates that it's crucial that the semen comes from a healthy man and that she keeps a check on her donors eating habits and water intake before taking a sample.
If you are still considering that maybe, just maybe there could be the tiny possibility of this working, a dermatologist completely debunks the claim and calls it a myth in an interview with The Daily Beast.
Dermatologist debunks ‘semen facials’ as a myth
Dr Will Kirby, a Beverly Hills dermatologist, clears up the air on semen as a skin-care elixir. According to Dr Kirby, there is absolutely no proof of semen having any redeeming qualities except anecdotal evidence, in fact, there is proof of semen proving dangerous for the skin in certain situations.
Dr Kirby tells the Daily Beast that “this is an area of discussion that gets brought to my attention by patients in my dermatology practice with relative frequency.” He says that it isn’t just naive teenagers that buy into the myth but grown adults hopeful of its anti-ageing qualities.
In relation to Tracy Kiss and her anecdotal evidence for semen reducing her rosacea, a dermatologist Doris Day, MD disagrees with her reasoning. She tells the Cosmopolitan, "It's not necessarily something that can penetrate the skin in any way beyond what a regular moisturizer can do," she says. In fact, it could end up making your skin drier and more irritated. "The water in the semen, as it dries off on your skin, could leave your skin drier. If you have rosacea, you should be careful."
Advocates for ‘semen facials’ are baiting you with pseudoscience
If you look at the explanations behind semen facials, they’re clearly baiting you in by throwing in scientific terms. Websites advocating for this irksome routine used phrases like “packed with protein” and use element names such as “zinc, calcium, potassium and fructose” to confuse you further. People have claimed that Spermine, an amino acid, (building blocks of protein) has antioxidants (believed to be an anti-ageing agent), and these antioxidants are what makes sperm a worthy skincare ingredient, especially to clear out acne. However, Healthline claims there is no evidence for this.
We are not denying the fact that protein is good for your skin or that semen contains protein but as Dr Kirby explains, there isn’t enough protein in semen to provide any of the claimed benefits to our skin. As mentioned earlier, he reiterates passionately, “There is nothing in semen that has demonstrable skin benefits. Anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed or purposefully misleading you. Or is just a moron.”
Now, if you have a sexual kink of getting a little jizz on your face then, by all means, go ahead but don’t be under the false impression of it doing any favours to your skin.
Semen facials can give you sexually transmitted infections
Semen is not only ineffective, but it can also lead to some grave medical health issues. Dermatologist Karyn Grossman, MD tells the Refinery29 how it can cause STIs, “Body fluids are capable of transmitting STIs, and even if you're with your husband or boyfriend, and could potentially have these diseases anyway, there are potential issues that could be different [on the face]”
The scariest possibility, she says, is of contracting an infection of the eye aka eye herpes that can cause severe vision problems. Can you imagine how scarring that would feel? It is absolutely not worth the risk, besides, there are enough proven skin-care routines that benefit your skin but semen is definitely not one of them.