Tanning and acne: What you need to know

There’s nothing like sunshine to make you feel better. It’s why we pack a sun lotion and head for the nearest horizontal outdoor surface whenever it’s hot enough. The benefits of a day soaking up vitamin D are plenty; a healthy glow and a clearer complexion are the marks of a successful summer tan. But the second of these is sometimes an uncertain area – does sun really help to clear up your acne?

The answer may be different for everyone, but what’s certain is that a healthy, natural tan with the right level of protection in place can do wonders for your skin. What’s right for you depends on your skin type, so choose your SPF rating wisely – and take a look at our full range of sun lotions and oils to see which of the Hawaiian Tropic collection you should be packing in your hand luggage (or taking to the park).

Can tanning in the sun make acne clear up?

It’s certainly a common feeling to return from a holiday in warm climes with skin that just feels… better. And looks it, too. However, there’s currently little scientific evidence to demonstrate a link between increased sun exposure and decreased acne. Plus, there are plenty of people who come back from holiday with skin that feels worse.

Some theories suggest that certain light frequencies emitted by the sun might be helpful in destroying the bacteria that helps acne to spread, or the oil that blocks pores. Being less stressed on holiday is likely to be a big factor – after all, everyone knows that stress and skin trouble go hand-in-hand, and a few days by the poolside is bound to melt the anxiety away.

When to use tanning to help with acne

It’s important not to rely on the sun to clear up your acne – there’s no guarantee of it having any effect because everyone’s different, and your priority should always be to protect your skin. If you’re going to spend time tanning, make sure you apply a gentle and sensitive sun lotion with a high SPF like the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Protective Sun Lotion – this will give your dry or sensitive skin the coverage it needs while allowing the sunshine to work its magic.

SPF (sun protection factor) indicates the level of protection against ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) that a sun lotion offers. Sun lotions sold in the UK also offer protection against ultraviolet A radiation (UVA) and carry a 1-5 star rating indicating the strength of protection. There are many harmful effects of being exposed to sunlight without adequate protection, and these can include premature ageing of the skin, an increased risk of skin cancer, eye problems and a damaged immune system.

Check out our tanning for sensitive skin tips

Other ways to soothe acne on your skin

Away from your time spent making the most of the sunshine, there are plenty of other things that you can do to try and lessen the effects of acne on your skin.

  • Don’t over-wash the affected area as this can irritate the skin and worsen symptoms
  • Don’t squeeze spots as this can cause permanent scarring
  • Use mild soap and lukewarm water to clean the affected areas as anything hotter or colder may make the problem worse
  • Don’t wear too much make-up and use water-based products which are less likely to block pores
  • Remove any make-up before you go to bed
  • Wash your hair regularly and try not to let it fall across your face if this is the area that’s affected
  • Shower immediately after exercising to avoid irritating the acne