Had Google existed in the Victorian era, commoners would have undoubtedly searched "Will masturbating leaveth me blind?" with the same frequency as "Doth masturbation cause the preposterous consequence of hairy palms?" But it's 2018, people, and there's a new, perhaps less obvious question surrounding solo sex that's mystifying the masses — and that is whether the hands-on activity can also cause acne.
The heavily debated topic has already racked up a whopping 833,000 search results, so we'll get straight to the answer: hell no. No matter what Sigmund Freud or 19th-century philosophers have said, masturbating won't drive you insane, lead to memory loss, change the world as we know it, or curse your skin with a constellation of pimples. "There is no evidence that masturbating will worsen acne," dermatologist Adam Friedman, MD, told POPSUGAR. "If anything, stress reduction associated with the activity would likely limit acne exacerbation, given the known association between stress and inflammation."
How did this urban legend start, then, you wonder? "Masturbating has been shown to mildly increase testosterone production, which may be where some of this myth is derived," he said. "But these data have not been correlated with the development of acne. It's a big leap that completely underestimates the complexity of this chronic inflammatory skin disease."
Indeed. In a world where acne affects 50 million people, there are a number of far more concrete reasons behind your most recent breakout — like forgetting to wash your face at night or just going through puberty. "Acne is a hormonal disease, as androgen hormones stimulate activity of oil glands and promote breakouts in predisposed patients," said dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD. "These same hormones are actually involved in stimulated sex drive. Your best course of action, if you suffer from acne, is to look for treatments over the counter that include benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and adapalene. If these treatments are not helping after one month of regular use, make sure to visit a board-certified dermatologist for evaluation and a prescription medication."
So go forth and enjoy all the benefits of masturbation, secure in the knowledge that the odds of you sprouting pimples is about as likely as you sprouting hair on the palms of your hands. But please, don't get cocky.