Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Does Sun Help Acne Scars

Heidi Prather Md Faad

DIY Turmeric Facial Mask to help get rid or Acne, Acne Scars, Sun Damage and Aging Spots

Heidi B. Prather, MD, FAAD is a board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained cosmetic and procedural dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology. She joins our practice after working with a prestigious cosmetic and dermatologic surgery center in Boston, MA. Dr. Prather brings these unique skills to Westlake Dermatology, along with her passion for using technology to enhance medical care.

Heidi B. Prather, MD, FAAD is a board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained cosmetic and procedural dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology. She joins our practice after working with a prestigious cosmetic and dermatologic surgery center in Boston, MA. Dr. Prather brings these unique skills to Westlake Dermatology, along with her passion for using technology to enhance medical care.

The Relationship Between Acne And Sunshine Explained

Nicole HangsterferJul 13, 2021 ยท 3 min read

When the warmth of its rays hits your bare back, sunshine feels goodand some say it has benefits for body acne. But the relationship between sun exposure and acne is complicated. Its true that brief exposure to natural sunlight can have health benefits , but that doesnt mean you should book some tanning appointments.

So is the sun itself good or bad for acne? Its actually bothwhile UV rays can harm skin and cause signs of aging, a little bit of sunlight can help reduce inflammation . That said, practicing sun protection is absolutely essential to your skins overall health and skin cancer prevention. If youre struggling with body acne, you should take steps to fortify your skin against UV rays!

Does The Sun Actually Cure Acne

Earlier this week, we posted our awesomely comprehensive guide to SPF, where we told you all about how to protect yourself in the sun and revealed the best acne-friendly sunscreens. One thing that was clear from our research and interviews was this: If you have acne, you don’t like sunscreen.

Obviously, that can be chalked up to the fact that most SPFs are greasy and heavy, which causes breakouts to get worse. But thanks to new technology and the onslaught of BB Creams, pore-clogging sunscreens are becoming less and less the norm. The reason many teens don’t protect themselves daily, it seems, is because you’re falling victim to a pretty dangerous myth: You think the sun cures acne.

“I hear it from my patients all the time,” says New York City dermatologist Dr. Julie Rusak. “They go outside in the sun and they say, ‘My acne went down!'” And it’s truetheir eyes aren’t deceiving them. “Back in the ’50s, doctors thought the sun and sun lamps actually helped acne since UV rays have antiseptic effects on bacteria,” explains Annet King, global director of education at Dermalogica. So, what’s happened in beauty science since all that time?

“Well, the sun does several things to our skin,” Rusak explains. “But, in this case, you’ll notice that it decreases redness. Since the sun suppresses the immune system, it therefore suppresses the immune cells in acne, which are the cells that create redness.” So the doctors in the ’50s were right, then? The sun is the cure to all acne?

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Why Do I Have Acne Scars

If you have acne scars, youre not the only one. Of the 80% of people under the age of 30 with acne, 20% of them will scar. Whether or not you fall into this category depends on several factors, many of which are unavoidable:

Genetics: Some people are more prone to scarring than others. Not only from acne, but from all types of skin damage. If you have a family history of scarring, or acne scarring, you may want to prioritize acne prevention.

Gender: Although both men and women deal with acne, scarring is more common in men. Androgen hormones, which are more prevalent in men, tend to make acne more severe and persistent, two additional factors which lead to acne scarring.

Acne Severity: The deeper and more inflamed your acne, the more likely it will result in scarring.

Acne Persistence: The more often you have breakouts, the more your risk for scarring increases.

Puberty: Teenagers are more prone to acne thanks to hormonal fluctuations. More acne and more frequent breakouts lead to a greater chance of scarring.

Sun Exposure: While sun exposure wont necessarily cause more scarring, it potentially makes scarring more visible. Scars darken at a faster rate than the surrounding skin, sometimes permanently.

Lack of Treatment: The longer you wait to treat your acne, the greater your risk of scarring. If frequent face washing or over-the-counter medications arent helping you, consider seeing a dermatologist.

The Bottom Line: We Don’t Know If The Sun Is Good Or Bad For Scarring But Doctors Still Recommend Protecting The Skin

Acne Scars and Sunscreen: 2 Stories About How SPF Helped ...

Scientists clearly need to do more research, but even the rabbit study authors, who found that UV radiation might be helpful, are not yet ready to tell people to seek out the sun if they have scars or are healing a wound. In their paper, they write, “sunscreen should still be used as primary protection when skin is exposed to direct sunlight.”4

UV radiation, along with possibly making acne scars worse, can cause sunburns and skin cancer, so it is important to protect yourself. Wear sunscreen or try to avoid excess sun exposure, and especially sunburn, if you have acne.

Read Also: Why Do I Have So Much Acne On My Chin

Studies Using Artificial Light

Studying the effects of sunlight can be fraught with error because depending on cloud cover, latitude, season, and time of day, sun exposure can vary greatly.

Therefore, scientists have resorted to artificial light in their experiments, while fully admitting that artificial light may not be directly generalizable to natural sunlight.1 In other words, we cannot necessarily say that natural sunlight will have the same effects as artificial light, but at least it gives us a clue.

Several teams of scientists have taken a critical look at all the studies on artificial light and acne so far. Unfortunately, they came to the conclusion that the evidence is conflicting and weak. In other words, the jury is very much still out when it comes to the effects of artificial light on acne.1-3

Expand to read details of analysis

One systematic review looking at the effect of artificial light on acne was published in the journal Family Practice in 2005. This systematic review examined all the studies on this topic to date to draw overall conclusions.

According to several of the reviewed studies in the analysis, “Trials of artificial UV-B, UV-A and combined light sources, and phototherapy with artificial blue-red, blue, violet, green and full-spectrum light sources have been found to improve acne.” However, the authors noted that these studies had methodological problems that limit the ability to interpret their results.

Studies Looking at Seasonal Variations

Expand to read details of studies

How To Prevent Acne Scars

Acne scars are primarily prevented via the prevention of acne. Once you have acne, how and when you treat it also matters.

Minimizing Excess Oil

Acne is the result of excess oil, dead skin cells, bacteria, and other environmental impurities becoming trapped in your pores. To minimize this build-up, practice the following:

  • Keep your hands and face as clean as possible
  • Choose a face wash specifically formulated for oily skin
  • Choose moisturizers that are free of oil, or non-comedogenic
  • Use a gentle exfoliant once weekly

Early Acne Treatment

Because scarring occurs more frequently in severe acne, its important to treat your breakouts in the early stages. Practice the following to reduce acne-related inflammation before it gets worse:

  • Follow the above advice on daily washing and weekly exfoliating
  • Choose products containing acne-fighting ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid
  • Use spot-treatments as needed at the first sign of a breakout

Never Pop Your Pimples!

Finally, if you do have a severe breakout, just be patient. While nobody wants to wait out a pimple, its the best way to avoid scarring. Squeezing, popping, or picking at acne increases your risk of scarring in two ways:

  • Bacteria and impurities get pushed deeper into the pore
  • The surrounding skin cells experience more trauma

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Exfoliate To Dissolve And Lift Away Discoloration From Damaged Cells

When cells are damaged and discoloration has formed, using a gentle acid exfoliant will work very well to loosen these cells from the skins surface. Also, a gentle facial scrub massaged very lightly over the area twice a week is very effective to ensure these loosened cells are getting lifted off the skin. This will reveal the healthy, even-toned skin underneath. The combination of a chemical and physical exfoliant will be very beneficial to fade acne scars.

Cost Of Microneedling For Acne Scars

How To Treat Hyperpigmentation, Acne Scars, Remove Suntan – Antiaging face mask at home naturally

Despite the fact that dermatologists perform microneedling, this procedure isnt usually covered by insurance. This is because its considered an aesthetic treatment, and not medically necessary.

The exact amount youll pay for microneedling depends on your provider and your location. Dermapen estimates that the average microneedling session is about $300. If you need multiple treatments, you can expect to pay around this amount each time. At-home dermaroller kits can cost about $100, but you wont see the same results.

According to DermNet NZ, moderate acne scars require three to four treatments. You might need an additional procedure or two for more severe scarring. Also, most people need to wait six weeks between treatments in order to allow new collagen to fully form.

The out-of-pocket costs of microneedling can get expensive pretty quickly, so its important to ask your provider about ways you can save money. Some offices offer membership discounts where you pay a certain amount of money per month and save over the course of a year. You might also ask about payment plans and financing. Be on the lookout for possible manufacturer rebates these work similar to coupons.

Even though microneedling is an aesthetic procedure not covered by medical insurance, the overall costs are far less than surgery.

Also Check: How To Prevent Acne After Eating Chocolate

Benefits Of Aloe Vera For Acne Scars

  • Repairs the skin: Aloe vera is a wonderful natural option for reducing the residual injury to skin caused by acne or other wounds, Nazarian says. Like scars found elsewhere on the body, acne scars occur when a breakage occurs in the skin. Even if you dont pop or pick your pimples, you may still notice scarring if the clogged pore beneath the breakout expands so much that the follicle wall breaks, says the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Fortunately, aloe vera can help heal those scars over time thanks to its naturally anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. “There are studies that have shown aloe vera to increase growth factors for fibroblaststhe cells that make collagen,” Nazarian adds. “Its possible that this is the pathway that allows aloe to improve wounds and scars, via the production of enhanced and increased collagen fibers. Its a great alternative medical treatment following burns or skin injury, she explains.
  • Heals wounds and inflammation: “There are also studies that have supported the use of aloe vera to improve wound healing, and to decrease skin inflammation,” Nazarian explains. “Aloe vera has been shown to decrease a chemical called thromboxane, which is known to inhibit or slow down wound healing. Aloe also contains magnesium lactate, which is a chemical that decreases histamine and can decrease itching and irritation.”

Brighten/fade To Calm And Suppress Melanin Activity

When youre exfoliating the skin and removing dry, damaged surface cells, a skin brightening product can absorb deeper within the mark and help to settle down active melanin so the mark can go away faster. Many forms of vitamin C work very well to gently calm redness and fade acne scars. This can also help for PIE , which Ill discuss further in this post.

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What Causes Red Or Dark Marks After A Blemish Has Healed

Red or dark acne marks are the result of inflammation within the dermis. This inflammation triggers the skin to produce pigment cells, a natural response to trauma. In addition, capillaries get dilated during the blemish cycle, which brings out additional redness. A blemish must be cared for properly in the first place to expedite the healing process to prevent long-term damage to the skin.

How To Apply Aloe For Acne Scars

Does acne scarring go away?

Aloe vera is available in a number of forms, from drinks to gel to supplements, so which formula is the best for healing acne scars? “Oral intake of aloe vera likely does not have the same wound-healing properties as the topical forms, so I would recommend topical use immediately following tissue injury, twice a day for 1-2 weeks,” Nazarian recommends. To apply aloe to the skin, start by washing your face and drying it with a clean towel. Then, apply a thin layer of aloe vera to the affected areas on your skin and allow it a couple minutes to dry before following up with your usual skincare routine.

While aloe can work well on its own, some people may see better results if it’s used in tandem with specific products. For acne, it can be used in conjunction with traditional acne medications nightly, which will aid in curbing irritation and dryness, and potentially improve residual scars and marks, says Nazarian.

One product sticks out above the rest: retinol. According to a 2014 study, aloe vera gel used with retinoid tretinoin proved more effective in treating acne with less irritation than tretinoin alone.

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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Acne Scars

  • Wear sunblock: Sunlight is important because your skin uses light energy to help make vitamin D. However, too much sun can darken scarring. And the darker your skin color, the more obvious your scars will be.
  • Dont pick, scratch, or squeeze: Causing extra damage to your skin promotes inflammation which will make scars worse.
  • Treat your acne immediately: The longer you wait, the greater the likelihood of scars.
  • Dont smoke: Smoking tobacco increases your risk of scarring. Not just acne scars, but scars on your body in general.
  • See a dermatologist: Get professional help as soon as possible! Get your acne treated before it scars.

Dark Spots Acne Scars And Tanning

Some people like to tan because it may reduce the appearance of acne scars and hyperpigmentation, or dark spotsbut overexposure to UV rays can make those skin concerns worse. Both tanning beds and laying out in the sun can damage your skin, but that doesnt mean you have to miss out on the bronzy glow! Just use a self-tanner thats free of potentially pore-clogging or irritating ingredients.

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The Sun’s Effect On Acne Is Still An Open Question

There is limited and conflicting scientific evidence to support the use of sunlight in treating acne. In fact, partly due to the fact that it is difficult to perform studies on sun exposure, there are no reliable studies that look directly at the effect of sunlight on acne.

For this reason, to get an approximate answer to the question of whether the sun helps or hurts acne we need to look at two other types of studies that can potentially shine light on this question:

  • Studies using artificial light on acne: Because some days are cloudier while other days are sunnier, this makes it hard to control for sun exposure in studies. For this reason, scientists will often instead opt for artificial light sources like sun lamps which can be shone on the skin at exact wavelengths and for exact amounts of time. These studies indicate that some light wavelengths might have a beneficial effect on acne while other studies indicate the opposite. In other words, the evidence is conflicting.
  • Studies looking at seasonal variations in acne: There are also several studies that examine seasonal variations in acne, which could show us whether acne tends to improve or worsen in the summer, when people get more sun exposure, but these studies also produce conflicting evidence.
  • What Can I Expect If I Have Acne Scars

    How Does Tanning Help With Acne Scars?

    Acne is very common. Its likely that most people you know either have or have had it at some point, probably when they were teenagers. Expect to have to make choices choices about if you will or will not get treatment and choices about the type of treatment. Expect to have the scars for most if not all of your life if you decide not to get treatment. Even with treatment, acne scars are difficult to heal. Theres no 100% guarantee that the acne scars will be completely gone. But most treatments reduce the size of the acne scars and make them less visible.

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    Know The Different Types Of Acne

    You see the whiteheads, blackheads and pimples, but have you ever wondered about those acne bumps that never actually seem to surface. They’re hard, red bumps that can really hurt, but, unlike other types of acne, they remain under the surface of your skin.

    “Cystic acne is a type of acne characterized by inflammation underneath the skin with no pore to the surface. Since there’s nowhere for the fluid to actually come out, you really want to avoid trying to apply pressure to cystic acne. Attempting to pinch or pop this type of acne will just lead to the inflammation spreading underneath the skin, creating a larger area of damage and, ultimately, a larger area of discoloration scarring,” explains Christenson.

    For cystic acne, Christenson recommends applying ice to help relieve the inflammation and leaving it at that.

    What Sun Protection Is Most Compatible With Acne Treatment

    The active ingredients in several medical acne treatments e.g. Benzoyl Peroxide, Tretinoin, Adapalene and Azelic Acid can heighten skin sensitivity to UVA and UVB rays. You can find out more in Acne Medication and side effects. If you are undergoing medical treatment, its important that you practice safe sun. Limit the time you spend outdoors, avoid the sun during its most intense hours, wear protective clothing whenever possible. Choose a high sun protection factor such as Eucerin Sun Gel-Creme Oil Control SPF 30+ or SPF50+ and be sure to apply it on sunny and cloudy days alike.

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