The Sun Clearing Up Acne Is Actually A Myth - Here's Why

We all want clear skin for the summer, especially when we're suffering from inflammation, redness, unsightly blackheads and whiteheads, and the all-dreaded red, bumpy acne, a warning sign on your face you shouldn't ignore. Your physical appearance can affect your confidence, so being able to calm and soothe the redness and bumps can lead to a boost of self-love. However, let's not forget just how prone we are to the media's influence. Supermodels, social media influencers, and even good ol' magazine ads play a huge role in shaping beauty ideals since they tend to highlight impeccably flawless skin. This bombardment is often unavoidable and, even more frequently, unattainable!


In society, women especially are told we need to attain those same results, and that can drive us to try different TikTok trends in the hope of achieving clear skin. Sometimes, this means using dandelion extracts to perfect those pores. Other times, it might be believing that time spent in the sun, with excess tanning, can be a skin hack. But is Mother Nature the best skin care? Many people gush that time spent in the sun is the best viral beauty hack to clear acne, so can the sun actually provide the relief we're looking for? We investigate.

There's no evidence the sun clears acne

Ever come back after a week's holiday in St. Bart's and find that your acne seemed to lessen up? It stands to reason that, hey, maybe all of the time spent in the sun had an effect? We know that the sun can help clear up the symptoms of psoriasis. We also know that the sun helps our bodies produce vitamin D. Can the same be said for acne? "Sunlight is composed of different wavelengths of light and some wavelengths can have anti-inflammatory effects on the skin and can suppress acne-causing bacteria," dermatologist Jennifer Chwalek told Teen Vogue. Justine Kluk, a British Association of Dermatologists spokesperson, agreed, adding, "We do know that certain waves of light – such as blue – can help to kill p.acne, a strain of bacteria that propagates acne, and that blue and red light, used together, might help to destroy sebum [the oil secreted by your sebaceous glands, that can block pores]," per Women's Health.


However, there is no specific scientific evidence behind this. In fact, it's all anecdotal. "I hear it a lot in my clinic, people saying that their skin gets better on holiday," Kluk told the outlet. "And that might be the case for them. Perhaps something does go on with sun exposure that we don't understand yet."

But, you should know that we do have evidence showing how sun exposure can actually do more harm than good to our skin.

Too much sun can damage the skin permanently

On "The Kardashians," Khloé Kardashian comes face-to-face (literally) with the reality of skin cancer when she is diagnosed with melanoma on her cheek. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can be caused by exposure to the sun's ultraviolet radiation. Yes, we're about to rain on your sunshine-y parade, because it turns out that not only is the sun really dangerous for your skin, even our beloved suntans are bad for us. "We know without doubt that exposing ourselves to excess sun increases our risk of skin cancer and skin aging," dermatologist Justine Kluk told Women's Health. "So I don't recommend people try it. Even a tan shows that your skin has been slightly damaged." But suntans are the only reason to go on a beach holiday in the first place! Don't take those away from us, too!


Dermatologist Jennifer Chwalek agrees with Kluk, telling Teen Vogue, "The risk of burning and developing sun damage — which can lead to skin cancer — outweighs any benefit." Chwalek also debunked the myth that getting a good "base tan" will help protect you from sun damage. "Any tan is damage to your skin and over time will contribute to the development of wrinkles, sun spots, skin laxity, and, even worse, skin cancer," she said. Let Kardashian be your warning: Lather and layer on that SPF!