Does sun exposure really help skin conditions like acne and eczema?

Posted by Cedars Dermatology, 18th December 2018

As much as we love the sunshine, we all know too much sun exposure can damage skin and increase the risk of skin cancer. But what about the benefits – can sun exposure help improve certain skin conditions?

 People often ask things like: Is sun good for skin, and is sun good for acne?

Is there any truth in this, and what should people keep in mind when it comes to sun exposure and skin conditions?

Why is sun exposure said to be beneficial for skin?

You might have heard people with conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis say sunshine improves their symptoms – and there is some science behind this. In fact, there’s a number of theories as to why sun exposure might help some skin conditions.

The body needs a certain level of sun exposure in order to create vitamin D, which is known to play a role in reducing inflammation. A study published in 2017 found sun exposure triggers the release of nitric oxide, which activates immune cells found to help relieve eczema. It’s a similar process when people notice their acne improves in the sun: The anti-inflammatory response within the body can improve the appearance of redness, for example. However, it’s important to note that this is a short-term affect and too much sun exposure could worsen acne in the longer-term. Skin can become dehydrated, triggering an increase in sebum production and resulting in more breakouts down the line.

Managing skin conditions is a balancing act

Also, any benefits to skin from sun exposure only apply in sensible moderation. Also, conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis often have a range of triggers. Managing them can be a balancing act and a case of finding what works best for you. While you might find a little bit of sunshine helps your skin and makes you feel good, summer can bring its own set of triggers too – heat, moisture from sweating, and chemicals in certain suncare products might all aggravate flare-ups.

Remember, there’s lots that can be done to help treat and manage acne, as well as conditions like eczema and psoriasis, and our expert dermatologists are here to help.

Safety first

Bottom line, keeping skin protected in the sun should always be top priority, regardless of your skin type. Skin cancer can affect anybody, so being sensible and always wearing a suitable SPF-containing sunscreen (look for fragrance and alcohol-free, mineral-based formulas which tend to be more gentle for sensitive and reaction-prone skin) when you’re spending time outdoors, is vital. Find out more in our information video on top tips for sun safety.

If you’d like to find out more about acne treatments, or managing your skin condition, our expert team is here to help.

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