Does Tanning Help Acne? (Suntanning and Tanning Beds)

woman with acne

Whilst for most of us, acne is something we experience as teenagers and then forget about, for some of us, it is a lifelong struggle. Therefore, many acne sufferers end up asking, ‘is tanning good for acne’?

Typically, tanning does not help acne, whilst having a tan may help to reduce the appearance of acne or scars, tanning does not actually help deal with the problem.

Here we will look at the effects of suntanning and tanning beds on acne, and answer once and for all the question: Can tanning help acne?

What is Acne?

It’s important before we look into how tanning affects acne, let’s talk about what it is in the first place.

Acne is caused by a buildup of sebum, oil or dirt in our pores or hair follicles. Whilst some people go through life hardly experiencing it at all, for others, it is a long-term struggle that can have a negative effect on self-esteem.

Acne is common in teenagers, due to big changes in hormone levels around that age. If you suffer from acne into adulthood, however, you will need to seek advice from a dermatologist about how to keep it at bay.

There are medications, as well as specific skin care products and routines to follow to help deal with long-term acne. A dermatologist will carry out tests on your skin and be able to recommend products that will help. You will have to remain vigilant about the types of products you use on your skin.

Now let’s take a closer look on the effects of suntanning and using tanning beds on acne.

How Suntanning Affects Acne

Many of us seize the sunny days to get out on a lounger and work on a beautifully bronzed complexion. But does tanning help acne?

In the (very) short term, it might appear that the sun helps your acne. The sun dries out the skin which can appear to be a good thing if your acne is caused by having oily skin. Furthermore, when you have a tan, the appearance of pimples and spots is reduced.

However, these effects are temporary and in fact do more harm than good. The drying of your skin in the sun will stimulate your pores to produce more oil as a response, and so can lead to a flare up a few days after sun exposure.

Furthermore, natural tans don’t last very long, and the acne underneath will not have gone away in the meantime.

In fact, suntanning is associated with numerous risks to the skin. According to the National Cancer Institute, “exposure to UV radiation causes early aging of the skin and damage” Definitely not worth it for a couple of days of your pimples looking a bit less obvious.

Furthermore, a number of recommended medications to alleviate acne also make you more sensitive to the sun. This means that you are more likely to burn and blister, and the negative effects of sun exposure will be magnified.

Tanning Beds and Acne

So, if spending time in the sun won’t help, can tanning beds help acne? Tanning beds are also not a good option for curing acne. They have the same worrying effects as the sun, at a more concentrated level.

In fact, tanning bed salons used to promote their use for acne reduction but later where prosecuted for false claims.

Maybe you have even heard of tanning bed acne, where people have seen flare-ups after using tanning beds, even if they do not usually have acne-prone skin, this comes either from lotions used on the beds or the beds not being cleaned properly between clients.

If you want to use tanning beds and you have acne-prone skin, check the ingredients of any lotions you use very carefully before applying and make sure the salon has a flawless cleaning routine.

Positives of Tanning & Acne

If you have acne-prone skin, this is not to say that you should never go out in the sun again! The right amount of sunlight is really good for the body, in terms of the vitamin D it gives us, the mood elevation we feel from the sun and from spending time outdoors.

Make sure to find a sunscreen that works with your skin. More and more sunscreens are catering to sensitive skin, using natural ingredients, and ditching the harsh chemicals. With sunscreen, spending time in the sun is much safer.

If you are on medication for your acne, stick to high-SPF sunscreens, as the medication might mean that your skin is more vulnerable to the effects of UV rays in the sun.

We Recommend: Sun Bum Sunscreen SPF 50

Keep up your skincare routine after spending time in the sun. Have a shower when you get home and use gentle cleansers to clear your skin of sunscreen, sweat and dirt. Then apply your normal lotion and moisturizer to re-hydrate your skin.

Wearing a hat whilst you are spending time in the sun is a great way to create shade for your face. And never forget sunglasses to protect your eyes!

Furthermore, like sunscreens, the development of sunless tanning products for sensitive skin are also on the rise. Talk to your local tanning salon about products they use that would be suitable for acne-prone skin. This will mean you can enjoy the reduced appearance of your acne from the tan, without any associated risk.

Whilst suntanning and sunbeds are unfortunately not going to do anything to help your acne, this does not mean you need to hide indoors to protect yourself. Take some precautions and get out there!

Related Questions

Can Tanning Help Body Acne?

Unfortunately, no. Whilst the appearance of acne may be reduced with a tan, this effect is temporary and will not make the acne go away. It is purely because the color of your skin becomes closer to the color of your acne.

Will Tan Make My Acne Worse?

If you have sensitive and acne-prone skin, some of the products that go along with the tanning process may cause a flare up on your skin. Choose sunscreens, lotions and sunless tanning products that are designed for sensitive skin and free of harsh chemicals.

Do Sunburns Clear Acne?

No. Whilst bad sunburn will cause a layer of skin to eventually peel off, it will not burn acne away. Aiming to get burnt in the sun is never a good idea, as you cause serious damage to your skin cells, with possibly dangerous consequences. There are much safer and more effective ways of clearing up acne.

What Are the Benefits of Tanning?

The benefits of tanning include vitamin D production, improved mood, and improved appearance through tanning or not. Of course, it’s not all positives – you must be careful to not overexpose yourself to UV rays.

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