How Sunlight Affects Acne

young woman's face with eyes closed standing in light

Characterized by pimples, pustules, and painful or inflamed skin, acne is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Although acne is often associated with your teenage years, it can actually occur at any time.

Acne can be caused by a variety of factors, such as hormones or diet. However, there are also certain triggers that can exacerbate or worsen the condition, including sunlight. If you’re dealing with acne, it’s important to know what can trigger your symptoms and how to prevent the condition from worsening.

Does Sunlight Cause Acne?

Sunlight can cause a specific type of acne, known as acne aestivalis. This type of skin condition occurs when the sun’s UVA rays combine with chemicals in make-up, skincare products, or sun creams and trigger an allergic reaction.

The most common type of acne, known as acne vulgaris, isn’t caused by exposure to sunlight but it can exacerbate your symptoms.

How Does Sunlight Worsen Acne Symptoms?

UV rays from the sun can trigger inflammation, which often leads to a flare-up of skin symptoms. If your skin is already inflamed due to acne, spending time in the sun can cause this inflammation to worsen. Similarly, the sun’s UV rays can also cause reddening of the skin, which may be problematic for people with acne.

In addition to this, sunlight increases the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in people with acne, which appears as dark spots on the skin. Although this type of hyperpigmentation is usually temporary, it can take anywhere from three to 24 months for it completely fade.

Can You Prevent Sun-Related Acne Triggers?

Everyone should take steps to protect their skin from the sun but’s it’s particularly important to take preventative action if you have acne. By staying out of the sun, particularly during the hottest part of the day, and covering your skin, you can help to prevent your symptoms from worsening. Unless you have acne aestivalis, wearing sunscreen can also help to prevent the sun from damaging your skin and triggering your symptoms.

Do Acne Medications Help?

Acne medications can be a highly effective way to treat the condition and minimize your symptoms. However, it’s important to note that many types of treatment, including acne medication, can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. This means that spending time in the sun following a treatment or when using medication can cause your symptoms to worsen.

If you are considering taking medication to help alleviate the symptoms of acne, be sure to discuss this potential side effect with your dermatologist.

Can Acne Be Cured?

Depending on the cause, acne may resolve without any treatment, although it can take years for this to happen. Fortunately, there are effective treatments that will reduce breakouts and rejuvenate your skin. From oral medications to laser therapy, there are a variety of options to consider.

By consulting with an experienced dermatologist, you can find the most effective treatments for acne and enjoy clearer skin. To learn more, contact The Dermatology and Laser Group now at (212) 444-8204.