Many people believe that the sun's rays can have an impact on their skin's health and appearance. What are their effects on acne?
The sun’s effects on acne-prone skin
Acne usually develops when hair follicles—the small sac that covers the hair on our skin—become clogged and prevents the evacuation of sebum. Sebum is an oily substance that helps keep skin hydrated. When sebum accumulates, it causes the formation of comedones (blackheads). Pores clogged by sebum also promote the proliferation of bacteria which are responsible for the inflammation and pimples that acne is known for.
Sun exposure causes two opposite effects on acne-prone skin. Initially, the sun dries out the skin. This drying effect and tanning give the impression of an improved complexion and reduced acne. Unfortunately, this honeymoon period will only last a few weeks at the most, because the sun also causes thickening of the outer surface of the skin. This causes pores to be clogged once more, leading to an accumulation of sebum and the appearance of pimples a few weeks later!
The importance of sun protection
Individuals suffering from acne will benefit from reduced sun exposure and regular use of sunscreen. Using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 is particularly important for people who use acne medication, which increases skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Other types of medication can also affect the way skin reacts to the sun. If in doubt, speak to your pharmacist, who will be able to provide you with information about the effects of your medication and the sun.
Several measures can be used to protect facial skin against the sun's harmful effects.
Maintain a healthy skin care regimen!
Acne affects both women and men indiscriminately. Therefore, they must establish a skin care regimen to keep their skin healthy. Here are a few daily guidelines to follow:
- Cleanse your skin twice a day (morning and night) using tepid water and a cleanser that is gentle, fragrance-free and suited to your skin type. Avoid using regular soap, which promotes acne. Regular cleansing helps eliminate any surplus of sebum on the skin’s surface. Ask your pharmacist or cosmetician for advice on what cleanser to choose.
- Avoid rubbing your skin when cleansing it. Lather the cleanser onto your face, rinse adequately, so as not to leave any residue on your skin, and gently tap it dry with a towel.
- Limit the use of skin care products such as masks and scrubs to once or twice a week. Excessive use of these products leads to skin irritation and will contribute to ongoing acne.
- Use a non comedogenic moisturizer for oily skin. Dehydrated skin increases the production of sebum, which makes acne worse.
- Only wear light make-up. Use non comedogenic, oil-free products. Thick creams, such as foundation, and applying several layers of various products should be avoided. Ask your cosmetician for advice about your make-up choices.
- Use alcohol-free after-shave products so as not to dry out your skin.
- Drink a lot of water. Giving your body water provides several advantages, including keeping skin well-hydrated and healthy.
Don’t succumb to temptation!
Pimples and blackheads shouldn’t be picked at, scratched or pierced. Popping a pimple leads to inflammation and the spread of germs on neighbouring skin. Moreover, picking at pimples increases the risk of scarring.
When your skin is prone to acne, the best care you can offer it is gentle care. Ideally, stay away from irritating products, remain patient, and develop a regular skin cleansing regimen. Whether or not the problem is significant, the same basic measures complement drug therapy and ensure your successful fight against acne.
Speak to your pharmacist or cosmetician for additional information about acne and skin care.