If you have acne, will a tan harm or help your skin? There’s a lot of misinformation out there about whether or not you can keep your skin healthy and tan at the same time. This guide will take all of the guesswork out of tanning with acne and explain what you should and shouldn’t do. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about tanning with acne.
Don’t Expose Your Face to UV Rays
Technically, UV rays can kill acne, which has led to some people thinking the best acne cure is a little sun. According to dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban, UV rays do kill the bacteria that causes acne. However, not only does the extra heat make your skin oilier, but the UV rays also damage your skin. Though a soak in the sun might temporarily disguise acne and keep a few little pimples from forming, your skin will typically end up worse off afterwards as dry, flaky skin clogs pores. Another big issue is that sun exposure can permanently darken a scar, so you end up with big, noticeable scars once your acne heals and your tan goes away. There are safer ways to kill acne bacteria and darken your skin without creating permanent acne scars.
Do Check to See If Your Acne Meds Interact With Tanning
Another thing to keep in mind when considering tanning and acne is the medications and skin treatments you use. Several acne treatments, including retin-A, retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, alpha hydroxy acids, isotretinoin, and certain oral antibiotics, make your skin more sensitive to sun. If you are taking one of these, you can end up burning after a short time in the sun or a tanning bed. Some treatments, like AHAs and BHAs, can also cause spray tans to fade, leaving you with white splotches wherever your acne treatment was. Therefore, you may want to skip these treatments if you plan on spray tanning.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask How a Spray-On Tan Product Will Affect Acne
Some ingredients in spray tans may trigger acne in certain people. However, a knowledgeable tanning technician should know which one of their products can have this side effect. If you have any concerns about acne, feel free to bring it up before your spray tan. A good tanning studio will be able to offer you spray tanning formulas that darken your skin without clogging your pores.
Do Exfoliate Before Your Spray Tanning Session
When you have a healing acne spot on your skin, you might be tempted to just leave it alone, get a spray on tan, and hope for the best results. However, this is a problem because most acne has a cluster of dead skin cells surrounding it. This leads to an uneven tan that fades quickly, and since spray tanning pigmentation clings to dryer, dead skin cells, your acne spots will look dark and very noticeable. The best way to solve this is by exfoliating your acne gently before your spray tanning session. If physical exfoliants, like scrubs, hurt the sensitive area too much, consider a gentle chemical exfoliant instead.
As you can see, it is possible to get a healthy glow even when you have acne. By avoiding UV rays and getting a high quality spray tanning session instead, you can get the gorgeous skin you’ve always dreamed of.