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Does the sun help acne?

Myths about acne and the sun

If you have acne-prone skin, you may feel that the sunshine helps to improve it. In fact, some people even believe that the sun can actually ‘burn off’ acne from the skin, encouraging them to use sun beds or spend too much time soaking up the rays. The truth is that over exposing the skin to the sun is damaging to all skin types, including acne-prone, so it should be enjoyed safely and responsibly.

This is due to UVA, UVB and infrared rays that penetrate the skin, causing oxidative stress and damage to our cellular DNA. This can lead to premature ageing such as lines, wrinkles and discolouration, and even more serious health concerns such as skin cancer. It also puts those with acne at greater risk of concerns such as post-acne pigmentation: a term used to describe the dark marks left after a spot or breakout has healed.

Does the sun help acne?

When it comes to the sun and acne, you may wonder if it’s actually a benefit or not. Does staying out in the sunshine help to dull down a breakout, and will applying sunscreen just make things worse? Here we help you to separate the myths from the facts and care for your acne-prone skin safely.

Benefits of the sun

This isn’t to say that all sun exposure is bad. The sun is actually one of our body’s major sources of vitamin D that’s responsible for keeping our bones healthy and strong. It also helps us to feel happier as it increases the release of serotonin – the hormone that makes us feel good. Many people with acne may feel that the sunshine improves their skin simply for this reason. When we feel good, many aspects of our health – including our skin – can improve.

Getting the balance right

So how can you enjoy the benefits of the sun while ensuring your skin is adequately protected from damage? The most important and effective way of protecting your skin is by wearing daily broad-spectrum sunscreen. If you’re concerned about sun protection adding additional oil to your skin, then make sure you invest in a formula suited to your skin type. There are now a multitude of sunscreens to try that are matte and non-comedogenic and suitable for blemish-prone skin.

La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios range has been tested via clinical studies carried out in-vivo on subjects suffering from sun intolerances, particularly those caused by UVA rays. This showed that Anthelios products all have a high PPD (Persistent Pigment Darkening) factor. Anthelios Anti-Shine Face Mist, for example, is suitable for oily and blemish-prone skin and suitable for skin that is prone to sensitivity, sun-intolerance or prickly-heat and provides Exceptionally high broad, photostable UVA/UVB & Infrared protection.

It’s also important to note that wearing sunscreen doesn’t stop your body from absorbing that all-important vitamin D. Just 15 minutes of time outside, in addition to a healthy balanced diet, will give your body the amount of vitamin D it needs.


*Survey conducted on 267 dermatologists by La Roche-Posay in the UK, July 2019. The efficacy has been proven by a file of 16 clinical studies carried out by world-renowned expert dermatologists.

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