Semen is the reproductive fluid that the penis releases during ejaculation. Although there has been some anecdotal evidence that semen may provide skin benefits, there is little scientific evidence to support this.

While semen may contain ingredients that can benefit skin, the small quantity of these ingredients is unlikely to provide any benefit. Putting semen on the skin or consuming it also carries the risk of developing an allergic reaction and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Read on to learn more about the effect of putting semen on the skin and hair, as well as the risks this may carry.

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Photo editing by Lauren Azor; PhotoAlto/Sigrid Olsson/Getty Images

The idea that semen may be beneficial for skin health largely stems from anecdotal evidence claiming that the nutrients within semen may help with skin health.

Although semen does contain nutrients that can be beneficial for the skin, there is little scientific evidence to support the idea that topical use of semen or consumption can improve a person’s skin health and appearance.

An older review exploring the properties of semen lists the following as some (but not all) of the nutrients found in semen:

  • protein
  • zinc
  • magnesium
  • urea

This section will explore each of these nutrients and how they may be beneficial for the skin. But it is important to note that semen only contains small quantities of these nutrients, and as such, they are unlikely to have any effect when applied to skin.

Protein

Collagen is a type of protein that can be beneficial for skin health. A 2019 study highlights that a collagen supplement may be able to improve skin hydration and elasticity, and make it softer.

Zinc

A 2014 study reviewing the benefits of zinc for skin notes that it possesses antioxidant properties and may be able to help prevent skin damage from exposure to UV rays.

Magnesium

Older research suggests that bathing in a magnesium-rich sea salt solution may have benefits for dry skin by reducing inflammation and increasing hydration.

Urea

Urea is a waste product from the breakdown of the amino acids found in proteins.

A 2018 review highlights that products that contain low doses of urea can be helpful to moisturize the skin.

Some people believe that semen may help treat and improve acne. This stems from the idea that spermine, an organic compound found in semen, contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

But there is no scientific evidence to support the use of semen as a treatment for acne.

Click here to learn more about acne and possible treatments.

Semen contains a chemical called spermidine, which is responsible for the smell of semen.

A 2021 study notes that spermidine, when secreted from streptococcus bacteria, can contribute to skin recovery by encouraging collagen synthesis.

The amount of spermidine within sperm is likely too low to help skin look younger. But many foods have high levels of spermidine, such as citrus fruits and green peppers.

There is a lack of scientific evidence exploring the effects of semen consumption on skin.

As a person with a penis only ejaculates a small amount of semen, it is unlikely that consuming this will provide sufficient nutrition to benefit a person’s skin.

Click here to learn more about skin-friendly foods.

Semen may be beneficial for improving a person’s mood. Some examples of this include:

Lowering depressive symptoms

Older research suggests that semen may have positive effects on depression. In this study, sexually active women who engaged in unprotected sex scored lower on a questionnaire measuring depressive symptoms than those who used condoms.

But this was a correlation and conducted with a small sample size. As such, more research is necessary to validate these findings.

Reducing stress

According to older research, semen contains oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone and neurotransmitter that may help in improving stress-related disorders.

Some anecdotal evidence suggests consuming semen may improve mood due to oxytocin. But sexual activity can also increase oxytocin levels. So sex alone may be sufficient to boost mood, meaning it is not necessary for a person to consume semen to achieve this benefit.

Older evidence suggests that spermidine may stimulate hair growth. But there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the application of semen on hair will achieve the same result.

Click here to learn about other remedies to improve hair growth.

Putting semen on the skin carries a number of potential risks. Some of these may include:

STIs

Putting semen on the skin can place a person at risk of developing an STI, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea.

For example, it is possible to develop a chlamydia or gonorrhea infection if a person gets semen in their eye. Additionally, gonorrhea can affect skin and may cause a rash.

Allergic Reaction

It is possible for a person to experience an allergic reaction following exposure to semen. A person who is having an allergic reaction to semen may experience the following symptoms:

  • itching
  • swelling
  • hives
  • anaphylactic shock

Dermatitis

As with any product that a person may use on their skin, there is a risk that using semen on the skin may cause skin irritation.

Semen is a fluid that the penis releases following ejaculation. Although semen contains nutritional properties and ingredients that may benefit skin, these appear in low quantities. So it is unlikely a person will receive any skin or hair benefits through topical use or consumption.

While further scientific research is necessary, most current research suggests that semen does not provide any benefits. Additionally, the properties that may provide a benefit are typically present in food or skincare products.