Let me start from the beginning: It was a Friday night and I was out with my two best besties. We were working our way through frozen wine pitchers (as you do during girls’ night), and as the frosé flowed, so did the conversation.
My friends and I have always been super honest about everything with each other. Poop? Periods? Sex? Nothing was off limits. On this particular night, the subject turned to skincare.
My friend Julie* and I have classic combination skin—flaky dry patches, acne, all of it, and we were admiring our other friend Tara’s* face, which had zero blemishes. The girl was literally glowing.
But for whatever reason, Julie was being super hush-hush about her routine. After around the fourth or fifth drink though, and lots, and lots, of pleading, she admitted the truth: The secret to her skin was none other than her boyfriend’s semen.
When she told me this, I screamed. Literally. Because that’s what happens when you hear your best friend puts her boyfriend’s sperm on her face in the name of “skincare.”
Apparently Tara had seen a Reddit thread years ago that said applying semen to the face once a week worked as a brightening mask? So after talking with her boyfriend about it, he agreed to jack off into a cup.
The first time she tried it, she grabbed the semen cup in the fridge, cleansed her face, dabbed a few drops of the mixture on her forehead, cheeks, chin, nose, and then put her moisturizer on all over.
She “loved the results” so much that she continued doing it weekly. And apparently this had been going on for a month—a month! Julie and I literally couldn’t get over it.
As absurd as it sounded though, there was no denying what we were seeing: Tara’s face looking bright, glow-y, and snatched as hell. I was jealous.
When I went home that night, the first place I went was Google. And from my internet sleuthing, I learned that semen facials are the definition of fake news. They literally don’t work, and have been debunked many, many times. (I mean, dermatologist Doris Day, MD, previously told Cosmopolitan that while “semen has some good things going for it because it’s an anti-inflammatory and is designed to support the essence of life,” it’s not enough for her to recommend using it on your skin.) But I didn’t care. I had to try it.
So about three days later, my boyfriend came over and we were doing the standard Netflix and Chill thing. We had dinner, hung out, watched a show or two, and then got into some pretty sensational knees-over-his-shoulder sex right then and there.
Now for reference, I use birth control, and my boyfriend and I are in an exclusive long-term relationship, so he normally finishes inside of me without a condom. But when I told him what I wanted to do, he wasn’t all about the whole “cum-in-a-cup” thing, so we improvised.
Once he came inside of me, I duck-waddled my way into the bathroom like usual, only this time, instead of jumping on the toilet and letting the leakage begin, I put my hand down there and collected as much as I could. Once I scooped up my new serum, I placed it in a small paper cup. Tara suggested I get a nickel-sized amount, but I had successfully secured a hefty palmful.
I was so excited that without waiting or cleansing my face first, I applied the goo to my skin almost immediately.
Oh, and by the way, I’m fully aware that this was the less sanitary way of doing it because it was all up in my vagina too, but hey, I wanted to try it. So I slathered it on, being careful to avoid my eyes and mouth because I didn’t want it to react poorly. (Oh, the irony here.)
About three minutes after applying, the semen began to dry up and tighten around my face and my skin started tingling. “Yes, it’s working!” I thought. But then, the tingling became a burning… quickly. At that point, I used some water and took it off my face.
Feeling refreshed and like I was walking around with a dirty lil secret because, well, I kind of was, I kissed my boyfriend goodbye and walked him out to his car since he had to leave for work. All was fine and well besides some mild burning on my face still.
Well, twenty minutes later, when I looked in the mirror, I saw a nightmare. My skin was blotchy and red, and my eyes were swelling so intensely it looked like I had been crying for weeks. I immediately went to use some of my cleanser to fully clean my face off, but it did nothing to improve the situation. Nearly ten minutes later, I could hardly keep my eyes open because they were being sealed shut.
I needed to get to an urgent care fast.
Luckily there was an urgent care office only 10 minutes away from my house, but unluckily for me, I couldn’t see shit. My vision was so impaired that I had to ask my roommate to take me to the doctor.
“What did you put on your face?” She demanded, horrified by the allergic reaction happening on my face. I told her the lie I later told the doctor: “It’s a new serum I ordered.” She rolled her eyes, but totally bought it.
When we got to the urgent care, they took one look at me and put me in an exam room immediately. Here I was thinking “Ugh, there’s no way it could be that bad,” yet when the doctor walked in, the first thing he said to me was, “Woah.” (Not a thing you want to hear a medical professional say, my friends.)
After faking my story about how I had ordered a new serum, he didn’t seem suspicious and insisted I do an IV of antihistamines. It took about an hour.
By the time I was done, my eyes were at least open enough to be able to drive, but my face was still bright red and mottled. I looked horrendous.
I later told Julie all about my horrific semen facial and she just responded: “Maybe his load is ultra acidic.” My response? No, Julie, maybe sperm just really doesn’t belong anywhere near your face—and it definitely shouldn’t sit there longer than 10 seconds.
So, take it from me: Invest in the $10 brightening mask if you want a more glow-y face. It’s cheaper than a doctor visit. Trust me.
*Names have been changed