Can sunlight help you get rid of acne?

No matter how much you love the gloomy, rainy weather, too much of it may cause you to miss sunlight again. After all, it has the power to modulate your mood and keep you healthy with a steady supply of vitamin D. A little bit of sunshine is essential in your life. Among its many virtues is its ability to zap microbes. In fact, in the old days, sunlight was used to sanitise rooms by simply drawing up the curtains and letting the light in. So powerful were its germicidal properties that heliotherapy or sun therapy was used in the treatment of tuberculosis and smallpox as well.

In the light (pardon the pun) of these observations, it was long speculated that sunlight could help in the treatment of acne as well. If the mighty mycobacterium tuberculosis and the smallpox virus could be defeated by sunlight, Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as the culprits that cause acne, won’t even stand a chance right? Well, it may not be that simple.

As someone who had long been suffering from acne, I was told by many people that I should step out in the sun every day for an hour. Exposing my face to the sunlight, they said, could kill the acne-causing bacteria and dry the pimples out.

(Read: Rujuta Diwekar diet tips for acne)

But my personal experience with the sun has been very different. I have never been very comfortable with venturing out when the sun shines brightly. And in my own experience, I have seen that stepping out in the sun worsens my acne. I also happen to sweat a lot in the sun, which turns my skin extra itchy. So I did my own research over the internet to see whether there was any truth to the claims and the results didn’t surprise me. Sun is bad news for acne!

(Read: 9 pimple-causing ingredients everyone with acne should avoid)

Why is the sun bad for acne?
While sunlight has numerous benefits, it’s important to remember to keep your sun protected from UV radiation while sunbathing, especially if you have acne. When a substance has the potential to clog pores of the skin and cause acne, it is known to be comedogenic. A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that when sebum is exposed to the ultraviolet radiations of the sun, it becomes more comedogenic. Excessive sebum, which ends up clogging the pores, is one of the causes of acne. The study states that frequent sun exposure can make it even more comedogenic than before, flying in the face of conventional wisdom which says that sunlight is, in…

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