Acne is one of the most common skin issues. It not only gives an unsightly appearance but also can cause permanent scarring on the skin. Getting rid of acne actually seems like the ultimate skin goal for every person suffering from it and they hardly leave any stone unturned. There has been a long standing concept that sunlight can heal acne but is it really true? Sunlight, which is considered harmful for even healthy skin, can be actually safe for acne prone skin? In this article, we will take a deeper look into it.
How sunlight affects the skin
The impact of sunlight on the skin is not debated any more. All the researchers have finally agreed that exposure to excess sun rays can be highly damaging for the skin. However, exposure to mild or controlled sunray can actually fetch some benefits. Though this idea is still debated, there are some explanations to support.
Sunlight is the most common source of ultraviolet ray, which has excellent antibacterial properties. Ultraviolet ray can kill the infection causing bacteria on the skin thus helping with the acne. Sun rays also dry out the skin, which temporarily reduces the problem of excess oil and thus helps in controlling acne. Sunlight can also suppress the immune response of the body for some time and thus reduce the redness and inflammation on the skin caused by acne.
Sunlight adds color to the skin. Sunlight also has a direct effect in reducing stress and a less stressful life can easily improve the acne condition. So, the sunlight is not that bad at all. However, the positive effects of sun on the skin exist only till the exposure to the sun rays is minimum or controlled. It turns extremely bad for the skin as soon as your skin is exposed to extreme sunlight or sunlight for longer hours.
High exposure to sun can damage the skin resulting into skin tanning. Sunray is also a major cause of freckles and age spots. It can deteriorate the overall skin condition quickly and can induce the signs of skin aging more rapidly.
So, now as you have got some idea about how exactly sunlight affects the skin, let us get to the main topic of this article, is sunlight safe for acne prone skin?
Effect of sunlight on acne prone skin
Acne prone skin is generally more sensitive and sensitive skin takes the burn of sunlight even more quickly. Exposure to sunlight can give rise to various problems on acne prone skin. Sunlight exposure can cause mild or severe skin allergies which can easily take turn to acne. Sunlight dries out the skin, which triggers the production of more oil by the skin in the long run. So, though you might feel that the sun exposure has reduced the problem of excess oil immediately, it will only aggravate the problem in the long run.
Moreover, the UV rays of sunlight kills bacteria on the skin. You have to keep in mind that a healthy bacterial colony on the skin is the key to a healthy skin. These bacterial colonies protect and nurture the skin naturally. So, if the UV rays kill the skin friendly bacteria, the natural protective barrier of the skin is lost, which increases the chance of getting serious bacterial infections on the skin.
Sunray has been found to be a major cause of premature skin aging. It harms the skin cells and can induce the signs of premature skin aging easily. As acne prone skin is more sensitive, sunlight is expected to harm it even more, not only resulting into skin tanning but also inducing symptoms of premature skin aging.
So, if you have acne prone skin you have to make sure that your skin is always saved from harsh exposure to sunlight. However, if you are able to control the sun exposure according to the suitability of your skin, it might actually work as a treatment.
How controlled sun exposure can help acne prone skin
Controlled, mild sun exposure might be a boon for acne prone skin. It will help killing the infection causing bad bacteria on the skin and thus not only reduce the existing acne but will also reduce the chance of future acne breakouts. Mild sun exposure for few minutes can give a natural glow to the skin and is also good for the body overall as it helps in Vitamin D synthesis.
So, while exposure to harsh sunlight or exposure to sunlight for longer hours is not safe for acne prone skin, controlled and minimum exposure to sun rays is not only safe but can also bring some great benefits for the acne prone skin. However, the crucial point here is to find out the right amount of sun exposure that is suitable for your skin and can work as a treatment.
Taking controlled sun exposure
When you are trying to treat your acne prone skin with controlled sun exposure, it is important to take the right precautions. Do never plan to take sun exposure when you are going out. When you are out, you actually have no direct control over how much sun exposure your skin should get. So, do not just step out without your sunscreen to give your skin some sun exposure.
You should only treat your skin with sun rays when you are at home, so that you can easily control the exposure according to the requirements. Sit in the verandah or near the window where the sunray is coming. Instead of using the noon or late noon sun rays for treating your skin, it is better to opt for the morning hours, when the sunray is naturally not so harsh.
When you are taking sun exposure, it is best to place a cotton cloth covering your face and not to face the sunlight directly. This cotton cloth will work as a sieve and make the sunlight milder for your skin. Adjust the distance of the cloth depending on the intensity of the sun rays.
If you have pale or whitish skin complexion, you should not opt for more than 5 minutes of sun exposure on alternate days to start with. For, darker skin tones, 5 minutes of daily sun exposure might be suitable at the beginning. Light skinned people might increase their sun exposure to a maximum of 15 minutes each day, depending on how exactly their skin is responding to the sun. For people with darker skin tone, the time might stretch to a maximum of 20-25 minutes each day.
However, it is important to keep in mind that every skin is unique and hence every skin can react differently to the sun exposure. It is only wise to start with minimum exposure and then increases the time and frequency if it goes well with your skin. If even the minimum exposure seems to be irritating or drying for your skin, skip it all together, because even a bit of unrequired sun exposure can be damaging for your skin.
Sunscreen is vital for acne prone skin
If your skin is prone to acne, it is important that you do not miss to lather on sunscreen whenever you are going out during the day. Even on a cloudy day there is enough UV radiation to harm the skin, in case of uncontrolled exposure. Chose a sunscreen that is light on the skin and do not cause sweating, which can increase the chance of getting more pimples. Also opt for physical barriers, like umbrella, hat and scarfs to give maximum protection to your skin from uncontrolled exposure to sun.