The ultimate facial: Why to try it, and is it really good for your skin?

The ultimate facial:  Why to try it, and is it really good for your skin?

Read about the author Alice Hunter

The facial – the act of a man ejaculating into the face of his partner – has many aspects to it. Where did it come from? Who is it for? And should you try it?

The Marquis de Sade wrote about facials in his book 120 Days of Sodom in 1785, and hardcore pornography in the 1970’s solidified its practice in modern sexual culture. Today, 62% of all male-female pornography scenes end with ejaculation into the facial area.

Opinions on the experience vary, with some people finding it disrespectful, repugnant or conversely, strangely intimate. It carries almost no risk of pregnancy. The act holds no STI risk for the man doing it. It’s usually very messy.

How to do a facial

Performing a facial as the male donor is not difficult. After obtaining enthusiastic consent, other sexual activities are usually performed until almost at the point of orgasm. At this point you can stand or kneel facing your partner, with their face in close range, and either you or your partner can masturbate you to the point of ejaculation. Most men find their aim a little hit and miss, and it’s not unusual to miss your target completely and get their chest, hair, the wall or the floor. The closer your partner’s face is and the better the angle, the better your chances of completing it successfully.

As the person receiving the facial, there is certainly still work to do. You can guide your partner’s penis, masturbate them, perform oral on them, fondle them or talk dirty. Most men say they prefer a happy, enthusiastic expression, often with the mouth open, tongue out and plenty of eye contact. You and your partner’s play style may be different. If you are trying something new for the first time, or as part of a role play, talk about your fantasy first, and get to know what each other is hoping for.

What to expect

The consistency of semen is quite variable. Some men produce a little, some make a lot. It can be watery or thick and jelly-like. Be prepared to wash your face and hair afterwards, as it will quickly dry to be quite crusty. One of the enduring questions of the ages is whether you should wash it off quickly or allow its mystical benefits to permeate your epidermis.

Indeed, the semen is good for you/good for your skin story has been around for long time. Some celebrities swear by it, either swallowed or applied directly to the face, and some scientists say it’s pointless and even dangerous. Let’s examine why:

What does semen contain that could potentially help your skin?

Along with the sperm themselves (if your partner is not vasectomised) there are a number of compounds in the seminal fluid, 30% of which comes from the prostate gland. The seminal vesicles contribute about 2/3 of the fluid and the rest is from the bulbourethral glands. All these chefs contribute to the mix in different ways, feeding the sperm, activating it and preserving it, as well as helping it to slip out at orgasm and giving it the characteristic thickness and feel.

Any substance that can power up billions of potential humans certainly seems to be a magical ambrosia of life, youth and vitality, so it’s unsurprising that this elixir has been popularised as a beauty treatment.

Yet is this intrinsic appeal- the penis as the fountain of youth – really accurate? Or is it just a rumour perpetuated by men to encourage their partners to perform oral sex and accept a facial?


A single shot contains 3% of your daily recommended zinc allowance, but that’s more relevant if you swallow it. Zinc has anti-inflammatory properties, as well as helping cellular repair and collagen production. Sounds like a good thing to have- yet the low quantities mean it’s not been proven to make any difference.

It’s also packed with other minerals, like magnesium, calcium, potassium and also has fructose (fruit sugar) which are reputed beauty aids. Again, the amounts are too low to be meaningful, and easily replaced with healthy foods.


200 different proteins are found in semen, and the average shot will contain 5 grams of protein. That seems quite a lot, but the average woman would need to swallow 9 of these a day to meet her protein requirements. In that context, it’s not so much. Although many beauty creams contain peptides (a form of protein) as an anti-aging ingredient, they are mixed with many other products to activate them and allow them to be absorbed. Semen doesn’t contain these, and it is unlikely that any of the proteins would be absorbed into the skin. Again, science finds no strong evidence in favour of the semen facial as beauty aid.


With 4.5mg of urea per 10 millilitres of semen, a product known to gently exfoliate, hydrate skin and help the absorption of other skin care products, perhaps we have a winner? It’s the main active ingredient in most natural skin toners. But it’s also in urine and sweat. Again, the strength doesn’t appear to be potent enough to prove effective and it’s not hard to find elsewhere. Nothing special here.


Derived from spermidine, the anti-inflammatory antioxidant substance that has been manufactured artificially and included in some face creams. They have now largely has fallen out of popularity. There has been suggestion that its antioxidant properties could remove wrinkles. A study was done that showed injecting spermidine into cells could slow down the cellular aging process, but it’s not known whether applying it to the surface would make any difference.
Its anti-inflammatory properties have been suggested to help with acne. Again, the concentrations and amount mean there is no good scientific evidence that it would be effective.

The downside

You can have a skin reaction to the many compounds found in semen, causing redness and itching. You also risk contracting an STI if a partner is infected and it lands on the lips, in the nose or (ouch) in the eye. The biggest culprits for this kind of infection are herpes, chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

Semen also transfers a hit of testosterone, which is drying to the skin and can encourage acne.

A 2002 study in New Scientist found that women who were exposed to semen vaginally on a regular basis were less depressed than those who were abstinent or whose partners wore condoms. They didn’t look at different routes of exposure, but it’s possible that opting for the facial, if you normally have unprotected sex with your partner, could mean missing out on some happy hormones.

The verdict

Other than this? There are no real downsides. You might not have solid evidence for semen rejuvenating your skin, but if you want to try it with an STI free partner and have not reacted to their semen elsewhere on you, the risks are pretty minimal. Some celebrities and online gurus swear by semen, either applied to their face or mixed in a smoothie. How much of this is to stand out and get followers is unclear. Certainly, the semen spa-facials that were made with artificial spermidine involved a lot of other, more effective, products mixed in and they have fallen out of favour after not producing the wonderous results hoped for. The results that could be measured by people in lab coats.

Perhaps the rejuvenation comes not just from the chemistry, but from the act itself. A healthy, happy sex-life filled with variety and excitement to explore is a wonder-tonic for recapturing youthfulness and vitality. Perhaps the magic is not just in the potion, but in the ritual that made it. That’s something science can get on board with.

Should you try a facial? Absolutely. If you both want to. Love it or hate it, it’s an experience. Whether you feel repulsed by it, degraded, just amused or intimately worshipped is down to your own thoughts and feelings, and you are entitled to decide what you want to do accordingly. Certainly, there is no reason not to discuss them. Sometimes fantasies stay just that way- an arousing conversation, some naughty thoughts that bring excitement before retreating to the comfortable and familiar. Sometimes they act as the impetus to make your comfort zone bigger and more exciting.

One way or another, the facial is going nowhere. Except, often, on the carpet.