Many people, scientists and acne sufferers alike, have wondered whether or not tanning, by any means, is beneficial or hurtful for acne-ridden skin. In fact, it is one of our most popular Q&A entries on this site. The truth is, there is no evidence that tanning is good for your skin, but there is some evidence to suggest the opposite.
Tanning and Acne: The Myth
Because the idea that tanning will help clear your acne is so popular, many kids from their teens to their early twenties consider tanning, both indoors and outdoors, as a viable option for skin care. This is simply not true. People, especially young people, who tan in tanning beds as well as in the sun run the risk of dry and damaged skin, which can actually lead to the development of more serious conditions, like premature aging and even skin cancer.*
Tanning, particularly through use of tanning beds, temporarily darkens the skin, which can cover up the blemishes, swelling and redness that acne causes, but it will not reduce the size or severity of acne formations. In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, tanning beds are not yet scientifically proven to reduce acne, and they even might be contributing to the cause of acne breakouts. Tanning beds can contain pools of bacteria, due to the constant use by different people leaving moisture to collect. This bacteria can infiltrate the pores and even cause inflammation, leading to acne growth.**
Sun Exposure and Skin Health
Limiting yourself to the amount of UV (ultraviolet) rays, whether replicated in tanning beds or naturally, from the sun itself, is a very important habit to get in if you suffer from acne. Too much exposure can actually make your acne worse. The sebaceous glands, beneath the skin, which produce oils, are sensitive to light, heat and moisture, and they can start overproducing pore-clogging oil when irritated. Another important fact to keep in mind is that many acne medications, topical or otherwise, can make your skin extra photosensitive, making it even more receptive to UV damage. That is why protecting your skin from the sun and tanning is very important for promoting clear skin.***
All Summed Up…
Although tanning, whether you are inside or outside, can cover up blemishes and outbreaks, it will not help clear your skin of acne, and may even do more damage in the long run than good. Stick to best skin care practices and take control of your dermatological future.
As always, there is more to learn, so check out our extensive clear skin articles. Also, to find the acne skin care program that is right for you, complete our free questionnaire, and you will be on your way to healthy, beautiful skin!