Acne plagues the lives of millions of teenagers every year and while their plenty of myths and remedies to address when it comes to cures, the sun can play a double-edged sword. First, we must define what acne is.
What exactly is Acne?
When we hear the word acne we usually bring to mind the image of a teenager who has read, blotchy, skin riddled with pimples. The fact is that while the majority of people suffering from acne are young adults, adults can also be faced with acne. The body begins to experience hormonal changes in the form of androgen and testosterone during puberty and this can often be linked to the causes of acne. Women may also face hormonal imbalances during menstruation and pregnancy.
Acne is most often found on the face, the shoulders, and the back. Our skin is covered with pores and inside each of these pores are tiny hair follicles. These hair follicles are also the base of oil glands being secreted to the surface. When these follicles become clogged, the glands that secrete the oil are blocked and excess oil gathers under the skin. It is when the blocked pores become infected that acne begins to develop in the form of pimples.
There are a variety of ways in which to treat acne such as dietary intake, topical medications, and antibiotics. A diet low in dairy is suggested with a high intake of fruits and vegetables, especially greens. There are medicated lotions, soaps, and toners specifically formulated to combat acne. Topical over-the-counter medications used to treat acne may contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, sulfur, resorcinol, and Retin-A.
Tanning for Acne: a Sun Myth?
One of the cures for acne that is often discussed is exposure to the sun. Usually, when I have heard someone suggest prolonged exposure to the sun they start off by stating that the sun dries out the skin thus drying out the overactive pores. There is some truth to this statement as the sun does indeed dry out the skin, but over time, prolonged exposure to the sun can actually cause the skin to become thicker. Our skin and our bodies need expose to the sun especially when it comes to delivering vitamin D.
The truth is that getting a tan will make the skin appear more even-toned, and this combined with the drying of the skin can provide a short-lived solution to acne, but one that is quite temporary. Sun exposure will not treat the underlying factors of acne.
The dark side of using the sun to aid in the suppression of acne outbreaks is the skin damage that is brought on by sun exposure. Some acne treatment medications actually warn users against exposure to the sun, as skin is more susceptible to UV rays. It is imperative to apply sunscreen to avoid sun damage, sunspots, skin discoloration, early wrinkles, and even skin cancer.
The sun has been worshiped since the beginning of civilization for its life-giving properties and our bodies do need it but in moderation and with protection from damaging UV rays. A healthy diet, balanced hormones, and the use of over-the-counter medicated soaps, lotions, and cleansers are a much more effective means by which to treat acne at any age.