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Ejaculation and Acne. Open letter to acne.org


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#1 kensey

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 07:35 PM

Hello,

Thank you for creating this helpful page and this community. I would like, however, to ask for a clarification of one of the points on the myths page which directly affects me and that is the myth about 'masturbation or sex and acne'.

The reply on your page that this thesis has been abused by groups that adhere to certain anti sexual morals is well understood. Before you delete this email as another one of 'these', let me however state that I have no religious affiliation whatsoever, and that I certainly do not see sex or masturbation as something amoral.

Please allow me to briefly state my problem: I am 32 years old and have had mild to severe acne since I am 15. The acne in my teenager years was severe (with the creation of scars) and fairly constant but since the 20s the intensity started to fluctuate wildly. I have had many years to get experience which factors influence this intensity and there is no doubt that for my type of acne the frequency of ejaculation is the main determining factor.

I say ejaculation and not sex or masturbation as it is really the ejaculation that causes the flare up. There is no difference between masturbation or intercourse. If I ejaculate once a week or less my skin is nearly clean. About twice a week means mild acne. Sexually very active times (like a new girlfriend) with once a day or more induces serious acne. There is a delay for changes to take effect. When my ejaculation frequency increases into the dangerous area, it takes about a week until the increase in acne can be observed. The same it true vice verse, a reduction in frequency does require several weeks till the skin starts to clear noticeably.

I am well aware that this problem seems to be rather uncommon and for most people this correlation does not appear. It may be that it solely appears in certain forms of adult acne. However that may be, I have experienced that anyone who mentions this problem on the internet is at best ignored or at worst treated with derision or as a religious zealot.

I have an MSc in Biology and am working in pharmaceutical cancer research. I know from this area how incredibly complex most metabolic and signaling pathways are. And only a fraction of pathway regulation by protein protein interaction is well understood.

I am not an expert in this area but the idea that sexual activity and the resulting changes in hormone levels could have no effect on skin secretion while the hormonal changes in puberty are proven to do so, seems to be rather ignorant.

My suspicion is that the prevalence of this thesis is a symptom of a scientific backlash towards wrongful religious moralization. After all, masturbation has been blamed for so many problems, like loss of bone tissue or brain cells that most people have become used to reject anything which puts it into any relation to a medical problem.

I would however like to discuss this form of acne and possible solutions other than sexual abstinence on the internet. For this it is essential that people not suffering from it do not see it as fiction. If it would be better known that such a form of acne does exist, maybe there would also be more scientific effort into researching the underlying reasons and coming up with better forms of therapies or treatments.

I therefore would like to ask you to restate the paragraph on your website towards a more balanced view. A possible suggestion would be:

In most cases there it no such connection and this argument has been heavily abused by people trying to dissuade young people from having premarital sex. There are, however, rare forms of adult acne which are induced by sexual frequency.

Thank you,

Tim

#2 PlzWrkFishOil

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 10:28 PM

Agree with you 100%. I've been clear for about a year and a half by reducing sexual activity to once a week.

Be prepared to see alot of people say that this is bs, but if its free why not try.

#3 databased

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 11:14 PM

IMHO, the connection from semen loss to acne is simply zinc, since semen represents a concentrated means of zinc loss (at least in the first ejaculation in a 48-hour period). However, it's not really productive to move from that to hoping that stopping semen loss will cure acne because the connection is just more complex than that. Which of the zinc compartments in the body is being drained to replenish seminal zinc that results in increasing acne? Why does avoiding ejaculation not provide acne improvement for everyone?

My suspicion is that zinc metabolism connects a variety of factors that involve acne but is (and here, at least, we have controlled studies to prove it) not the sole factor.

If I'm right, then if you hold all other factors (diet/environment/sun exposure/sleep cycle/etc.) constant you should be able to get the same improvement you see by restricting ejaculation simply by taking, say, 200mg zinc picolinate per day. The reason I pick 200mg for this claim is that it should be enough to appreciably increase zinc levels in a number of different zinc compartments in the body -- and I really have no good idea of which one(s) make zinc a co-factor in acne.

However, it's incredibly hard to hold constant all the factors that could influence acne for even a week's time. For example, if you get a new girlfriend and are having more sex, you may also be significantly altering your sleep cycle, and melatonin is certainly a plausible requirement to improve acne, both on its own and via its indirect effects with zinc.

#4 FourMurasame

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 12:12 AM

Does this apply to females too? Sorry i had to ask *hides*

#5 kensey

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 07:10 AM

QUOTE (databased @ Apr 9 2009, 12:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
However, it's incredibly hard to hold constant all the factors that could influence acne for even a week's time. For example, if you get a new girlfriend and are having more sex, you may also be significantly altering your sleep cycle, and melatonin is certainly a plausible requirement to improve acne, both on its own and via its indirect effects with zinc.


True, but for me this causality is so easy to reproduce, and I have experienced it so many times while other factors were changing, that I can say with extremely high confidence that any other factor only plays a secondary role. It does not matter whether by masturbation or intercourse. I can sleep a lot or a little or eat mostly salad or mostly fast food. Vacation or daily grind. It can be summer with a lot of sun or winter.

Regarding the connection to zinc loss. I am taking dietary supplements with 15mg Zinc and these don´t make a difference for me. As a teen I took prescription zinc orotate (for helping the healing process of scars), I don´t remember the dosage but it had no effect on the intensity. I will try 200mg, but even if that helps I am a bit reluctant
to take a dosage of anything that far beyond the recommended daily value over a longer period of time. According to the wikipedia, the tolerable upper intake levels for zinc is only 40mg.
Has anyone tried to take 200mg over several months or even years? Were there any side effects?

And there could be other explanations beyond zinc loss via semen.
Orgasm causes an increase in prolactin levels (which is the main cause for the refractory period)
and prolactin has a large set of signaling pathways in all kinds of tissue types.
One paper that I found in a quick search claims that prolactin levels are one factor in acne.
[Zoubouli 2004 j. clin. dermatol. Acne and sebaceous gland function]

It would be interesting to know whether there are any women for whom orgasm frequency is a factor in acne intensity. That would indicate that zinc/semen loss is not the cause (or at least not the only one).

#6 FourMurasame

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 08:26 AM

I'll blame acne on pms since its most convenient.

#7 acne_warrior

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 08:46 AM

I always wondered about the connection between ejaculation and acne and I was always told it was b/s. To tell you the truth I have never tried it........but I am going to start eusa_naughty.gif and I will def. let you know how it works out for me. (it is free so why not) .............


p.s. "blame it on the P.M.S" lol I like that

#8 databased

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 10:11 AM

QUOTE
I can say with extremely high confidence that any other factor only plays a secondary role.

That confidence is illusory, unless you are the rare individual who keeps an extremely strict food/environment diary, testing the chemicals in all your sources of drinking water, weighing and recording food, and counting the number and severity of lesions each morning, and graphing the results.

Suppose that it were true that that one factor highly correlates with your acne. It could easily be that it is only causal in conjunction with some other dietary/environmental/genetic factor that is present every single day of your (particular) life. Thus, you would conclude that semen is "primary", when in fact it may only be one of multiple secondary factors that is necessary but not sufficient.

Chronic acne sufferers do not do well-controlled experiments, but they do enormous numbers of experiments. My rule of thumb is that there simply cannot be any single-factor explanation for chronic adult acne that is true for a significant percentage of sufferers; otherwise it would have been (easily) discovered by now. Just take a look at this board and you'll see plenty of people who have tried the "no-masturbation" treatment. Doesn't mean it couldn't be relevant, just means it can't be "the" primary factor for a significant percentage of patients.

It is always tempting (and dermatologists do, without good proof) to try to relate sex hormones to acne because of its prevalence in puberty (though its absence in neo-Paleolithic adolescents strongly implies even adolescent acne is an artifact of unknown aspects of modern life). However, once you realize that sex hormones can be created locally in the skin without reference to the primary sex organs, it's easier to accept that sex hormones may be relevant without the sex organs and their activity actually being all that relevant to acne. Hormones, of course, are just proteins, and every cell in the body has the recipe for making all of them. Biology follows a now-predictable course of discovering particular hormones in conjunction with particular organs in the body, and then only much later being surprised to find the same hormones being created and used in many other parts of the body to significant and unexpected effect.

IMHO. biggrin.gif

[You should not take any amount of zinc you're not comfortable with. I've taken 200mg zinc picolinate per day for more than a month, though I wouldn't do that forever. Studies have used 100 mg zinc/day for a year with no ill effects.]

#9 PLONKER

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 02:08 PM

you dirty little man.

#10 iamafreak

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 02:37 PM

I haven't previously talked about this because it seemed too private (even for an anonymous forum) but since you brought it up and seem very knowledgeable about this, I'll go ahead and ask. Last week I stopped masturbating. Last night, exactly a week later, I woke up with what I think was semen on my leg. The odd thing was that I didn't have a wet dream, because I didn't experience any orgasm (I've had wet dreams before, albeit long ago, and have always woken up before or as I ejaculate and felt an orgasm). Will this make my acne worse? And, is there any way to stop it? Ideally I would like to never ejaculate at all, as the 3 seconds of pleasure (which there wasn't any in this case) isn't worth the hours of self-consciousness to me. Thank you in advance.

#11 kensey

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 07:10 PM

QUOTE (databased @ Apr 9 2009, 10:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Suppose that it were true that that one factor highly correlates with your acne. It could easily be that it is only causal in conjunction with some other dietary/environmental/genetic factor that is present every single day of your (particular) life. Thus, you would conclude that semen is "primary", when in fact it may only be one of multiple secondary factors that is necessary but not sufficient.


I don´t understand the argument. Do you mean there might have been other factors which might have changed coincidentally at the same time but unobserved by me? 10 times, maybe. 100 times, no way! How likely is it that each time that I change my sexual frequency some other primary and unrelated acne factor suddenly changed at the same time?
Or do you mean, that sexual frequency is just a function of a primary acne factor? I like to assume that I have a free will in this, and I actually willfully changed frequency to improve my acne and not just randomly when I felt like it. And honestly, we can find the most abstruse explanations for this correlation but the direct causality is by far the simplest one and the one that makes most sense.

QUOTE (databased)
Just take a look at this board and you'll see plenty of people who have tried the "no-masturbation" treatment. Doesn't mean it couldn't be relevant, just means it can't be "the" primary factor for a significant percentage of patients.


I totally agree. And if you read my first post again, you will see that I did not claim any generality of this causality, quite the opposite. I started this discussion not because I wanted to claim that I found the universal cure for acne but because many people seem to think that sexual activity would never be a factor and this makes discussions about it nearly impossible. I searched on the internet about it and there were some promising discussions but they always ended with lots of people claiming that they know for sure that it is BS.

And that for many people sexual frequency has no influence, does not at all refute the thesis that there can be a connection and that for some people this is the most important factor.

Just take that zinc/semen theory as an example. If this was to be true, then there would be a lot of factors that would come into play. How high is the zinc concentration in the semen. What is the average volume of ejaculated semen. What is the absorption rate for zinc in the gastrointestinal tract. How good is the retention rate. And all other factors which are involved in zinc related metabolic processes which can be hundreds. If someone would have a negative genetic predisposition for most of these factors he would experience it as a clear correlation, while for someone else it might not be important at all and the abnormal rate of sebum excretion might be caused by an entirely different process. Nothing in medicine is simple and one dimensional or we wouldn't need large clinical trials for everything.

QUOTE (iamafreak)
Will this make my acne worse? And, is there any way to stop it?


I don´t know but you shouldn´t worry, especially since you haven´t done it for a week till it happened. Keep it down to once a week or less, and if you don´t see a significant improvement after about 6 weeks, it is not working for you.

QUOTE (marjory)
you dirty little man.


What is the saying? The dirtier the mind, the greater the fun wink.gif

#12 iamafreak

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 12:56 AM

QUOTE (kensey @ Apr 9 2009, 07:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (iamafreak)
Will this make my acne worse? And, is there any way to stop it?


I don´t know but you shouldn´t worry, especially since you haven´t done it for a week till it happened. Keep it down to once a week or less, and if you don´t see a significant improvement after about 6 weeks, it is not working for you.


Thank you.

If you ejaculate twice in a row (about 2 hours apart) then don't masturbate for a week, does that count as once a week, or twice?

#13 iamafreak

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 08:21 AM

Oh my God, last night I actually had a wet dream! shock.gif

I'm stunned. Even if not ejaculating didn't have any effect on acne, I'd want to do it anyway because of the mental clarity I experienced. Just that one little change made me feel like a kid again; the world became a happy, simple place, I appreciated everything, I stopped worrying so much. It was amazing.

#14 JoshT

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 02:02 PM

I have had moderate to severe acne since I was in HS (am close to 30 now). I have tried Proactiv, and Skin ID to no noticeable effect. I'm lactose intolerant so I have a significantly reduce intake of milk products, I sleep well and have a easy job.

I don't want to try accutane since I'm worried about the side effects so I think I'll try this out. I'm assuming I should see results pretty quickly if this does work for me.

#15 ruudster

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 12:37 AM

i actually think there could be a correlation between ejaculation and acne. i have noticed a difference in my acne and i seem to be more clearer, less breakouts during a non-sexual phase. it is as much to do with hormones, and the trigger of it during heightened sexual pleasure, i am sure. i think the whole zinc theory is just simply rubbish in my opinion.

#16 andersoj

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 01:28 AM

I think the first thread I created on here was about this, oh the good old days lol. My skin is much much more manageable now, but I'm doing a million things and my frequency of jacking it has dropped significantly on its own. At most once a week with a wet dream here or there. I'm not sure if its a factor any more, but it could be thinking back on it. So I was low dosing accutane for a while, then got a girlfriend and then tried dropping the tane a month later for a miracle treatment from Korea that I spent many hours fantasizing about that ended up being a bust. Anyway, I broke out with a huge cyst and it was back to tane. I then started supplementing with resveratol and was able to ween myself off of tane because my acne was staying dormant, but I was also not sexually active at this time. eusa_think.gif I haven't had a gf for a while now and my sex life has been irregular, so I can't say if my skin is impervious to the daily sesh. eusa_think.gif DOn't want to experiment on thast one either, unless I find a worthy lab partner hehe.

But yeah I think this is an important topic that is relevant to a lot of people. I appreciate your objective and intelligent opinion on the matter.

I somewhat sarcastically made a post a while back that went something along the lines of us being punished for our sins in the form of acne. The only two that could really apply are glutiny and lust, but god knows I love e'm both!

#17 anders.tlns

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 01:47 PM

the only way for me to stop wet dreams is watching porn and masturbating for about half an hour every second day or so. just be VERY careful not to ejaculate and after a while you won't even have a problem keeping your load in. doing this i managed a whole month without once ejaculating, awake or asleep.

#18 pea*nut*butter

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 09:44 PM

it's not good for your prostate, or your social/mental health. it also lowers your testosterone levels in the long run, which makes you prone to depression and a host of other diseases. the notion that sex might have any harmful effects on the body defies the very essence of the fact that we are sexual beings.

i tried abstaining from all forms of sex.. the longest i ever lasted was 3 days. i cannot assert whether it helped me or not, mainly because i couldn't last long enough, and partly because my acne is of the milder variety.

life is funny. the way people react to it is even funnier.

#19 Success505

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 03:00 PM

QUOTE (Spikey @ Apr 26 2009, 10:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
it's not good for your prostate, or your social/mental health. it also lowers your testosterone levels in the long run, which makes you prone to depression and a host of other diseases. the notion that sex might have any harmful effects on the body defies the very essence of the fact that we are sexual beings.

i tried abstaining from all forms of sex.. the longest i ever lasted was 3 days. i cannot assert whether it helped me or not, mainly because i couldn't last long enough, and partly because my acne is of the milder variety.

life is funny. the way people react to it is even funnier.


That is true that it may not necessarily be good for your prostate, as it is proven that ejaculation could significantly reduce the chances of prostate cancer. Your social/mental health? Well, I personally feel bad about myself after I masterbate, but I guess that differs from person to person. Sex, on the other hand, is different, and I agree with you on that. Well, with regards to testosterone, it is not necessarily correct that ejaculation is for the better:


www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12659241
"On the 7th day of abstinence, however, a clear peak of serum testosterone appeared, reaching 145.7% of the baseline". That is a lot of extra testosterone. Just imagine how you will feel and act with that much more testosterone flowing around in your veins!

I have recently tried to halt my sexual behavior (from 1-2 weeks), and even though I could not say whether or not it affected my acne, I still felt better about myself. I do not know why, but it seemed as if I could wake up more easily in the morning, do more reading before I got tired, and that I generally had more energy and will to go out and do things. Of course, it could just be a placebo, but I believe that it is not natural for us to be ejaculating that often. It means, for us guys, that one is in essence making children every single day. Is that natural? Wouldn't that put a strain on the body, or at least the nervous system for that matter?

#20 JoshT

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 09:05 PM

So it's been over a week now and I'm noticing improvement. Other concurrent factors to consider is the dramatic change in weather in my area (cold to warm). One other thing is that I have reduced my skin products usage from all the Skin ID products to just the mask.

I'm taking pictures every few days as proof. Visually though I don't look that much better since my skin is still healing from my past breakouts but I'm very surprised at the results so far. I'm looking to see what will happen after two weeks.

I've been mainly dealing with nodular acne and haven't really had much success with topical products. I'm down to one subsiding nodular acne from something like 7-8 nodular acne.

One thing is that I am seeing a small increase of whiteheads, I'm not sure if this is from discontinued usage of some of the Skin ID products, or if it is a reduction of my nodular acne into whiteheads. I'll post back in a week or so.