Does The Sun Actually Cure Acne?
5 minutes read
Ever noticed your spots seemed to have gone away after a sunny vacay? Which probably left you wondering: “Is the sun good for acne?”
While it would make a perfect excuse to hop on a flight to Barbados – however, it’s just masking the problem and actually, in the long run making acne worse.
Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager, and Julie Brown, Beauty Therapist and Founder at The Source Clinic, share the truth about what happens to your spots when you bask under the sun.
Is the sun good for acne?
First, let’s get it out of the way. The sun is our skin’s most significant worry; unprotected sun exposure is the number one cause of premature skin ageing. Unfortunately, the sun won’t do anything to solve your acne problems. On the contrary, it’s actually going to give you more problems from premature ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and worst-case scenario, skin cancer. It all leads to irreversible sun-damaged skin.
However, before we continue to dispel this skincare myth, experts say there’s a valid explanation for that skin-clear-up feel when in the sun.
Apparently, when UV radiation penetrates the skin, it damages the cells. Our skin, which is our biggest defence, would sense the problem and would shed oil and water in response. The end result? The skin looks drier.
“For a short time, this can create an illusion that the sun helps or has something to do with healing your acne and breakouts as it dries up the oil. Less sebum means less congestion,” Julie Brown, Beauty Therapist and Founder of The Source Clinic tells Beauty Daily.
For some time, pesky whiteheads, blackheads, lesions, and other forms of acne can temporarily fade.
“However, after a few days, the skin realises it is drier and will produce more oil. An overproduction of sebum leads to acne and breakouts, putting you back in a similar starting place or sometimes slightly worse. Trauma caused by breakouts can also be more prone to pigmentation from scarring.”
Also, Sarah Joan Ross, Beauty Daily Editor, adds: “There’s also a misconception that the sun makes skin appear better due to the change in skin tone, which is especially prominent in pale and medium skin hues. However, this sun damage (aka ‘a tan’) and the goldenness disappears after a few days, and the redness returns, along with the extra associated damage.”
Could some sun be good for the skin?
“Sunlight triggers the body to produce vitamin D, which can help with several disorders,” Brown says.
Experts say inadequate sunlight exposure is one of the leading causes of vitamin D deficiency, leading to chronic fatigue, bone pain, muscle weakness, muscle aches, muscle cramps and depression.
“Any more than the recommended time will decline collagen and elastin production, damage DNA cells, and cause free radical damage and inflammation. Sunscreen should be worn at all times; rain or shine, and time in the sun should be minimised as much as possible,” Brown recommends.
If you think you’re not getting enough Vitamin D, the UK government advises taking vitamin D supplements. You can also eat a vitamin D-rich diet by consuming oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, as well as red meat and eggs.
Expert-Approved Acne-Busting Ingredients
1. Salicylic Acid
“An ingredient to look for is salicylic acid. People with oily and acne-prone skin will benefit more from this,” McHale says. It also works best for those looking to treat whiteheads and blackheads.
Salicylic acid penetrates through oil. It passes through any sebum within the pores to deep clean and unclogs to prevent acne formation. It also removes excess oil and reduces its production.
McHale’s salicylic acid facial wash pick is the Purifying Gentle Foaming Cleanser. Wash your face twice daily to keep pores squeaky clean and keep whiteheads and blackheads at bay. For spot-treatment, Beauty Daily recommends CLEAR-OUT Targets Imperfections.
Pamper yourself a couple of times a week with an anti-oil mask. Apply SOS Pure Rebalancing Clay Mask on areas of concern such as T-zone to minimise shine.
Read Next: Here’s What Salicylic Acid Does To Your Skin
2. Clary Sage
Clary sage oil is a go-to essential oil for controlling excess sebum. It helps regulate sebum secretion to reduce the probability of breakouts, acne and oily skin. It is also good at neutralising the appearance of redness of acne inflammation. Clary Sage is the key plant ingredient in the Calm-Essentiel Range.
If you want to balance the redness, use the corrective gel, ideally in the morning, as this can both soothe inflamed skin and be used as an excellent primer thanks to the greenish gel that counteracts the crimson on the skin.
3. Lotus Extract
Lotus extract contains skin-balancing properties, which help balance sebum production. It is also beneficial in preventing clogged pores, acne and blackheads. McHale recommends using the Lotus Treatment Oil.
“The extracts in the Lotus Oil, for instance, are very good at mimicking the structure of the sebum.” So, instead of stripping the skin with something that ‘dries it out’ McHale recommends “Combatting the excess oil production so the oil glands will not overreact and overcompensate – applying Lotus Oil does a very good job at calming the oil production down.”
Adding, “The skin is very clever and very reactive, so if the skin already knows that there is a lot of oil on the surface, it will calm down. You can train the behaviour of your skin for a long-term solution and regulate oil production.”
It’s difficult to generalise which product will work best as the root cause of acne varies from person to person. Many factors contribute to acne formation from poor lifestyle, diet and stress to genetics and hormonal imbalances.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to cure and prevention. Enlist a specialist or a Clarins beauty advisor for a professional skincare approach.