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Advice
Advice 2 min

Last Updated Dec 20, 2023

Does the tanning bed help clear up pimples?

Author
|
Dermatology Resident
Dr. Jesse Dewey

Tanning is not a safe or effective way to treat acne.

Tanning does not improve acne. There are a few reasons why it may seem that tanning can improve acne, but these are temporary. First, tanning dries out the skin which may make it appear less oily. Second, because tanning darkens the skin adjacent to pimples, the redness from the pimples does not seem as apparent. Last, sunlight may target porphyrins in your pores and eliminate the acne-causing bacteria, cutibacterium acnes.

However, all of these effects from tanning are temporary and studies show that sunlight can actually make acne worse by increasing oil production, inflammation, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Tanning also increases the risk of sunburns and skin cancer. There are effective topical medications to treat acne that are readily accessible over-the-counter. Instead of exposing yourself to harmful UV radiation, opt for one of these treatment options instead.

 

 

Doctor's Note

Tanning is NOT a safe or effective way to treat acne.

The Research

A review of the use of tanning beds as a dermatological treatment. PMID: 25735439

Ashkenazi H, Malik Z, Harth Y, Nitzan Y. Eradication of Propionibacterium acnes by its endogenic porphyrins after illumination with high intensity blue light. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2003

Dr. Jesse Dewey

Dermatology Resident

Dr. Jesse Dewey

Dermatology Resident

Dr. Jesse Dewey hails from the beautiful state of Utah where he completed
both his undergraduate and medical school training. Currently, he is
completing his dermatology residency in Wilmington, North Carolina
where he also plans on completing a surgical fellowship. Dr. Dewey
loves dermatology and enjoys helping people obtain and maintain
beautiful and healthy skin. Outside the clinic, Dr. Dewey finds joy in
spending quality time with his family, exploring the east coast, and
indulging in his favorite TV shows.

Location: Wilmington, North Carolina

Doctor's Note

Tanning is NOT a safe or effective way to treat acne.

The Research

A review of the use of tanning beds as a dermatological treatment. PMID: 25735439

Ashkenazi H, Malik Z, Harth Y, Nitzan Y. Eradication of Propionibacterium acnes by its endogenic porphyrins after illumination with high intensity blue light. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2003

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