My acne clients often comment that going to the beach clears their acne (especially on the back), and this may very well be true, but not for the reason one may think. Most of us know about the dangers of lying out in the sun, such as skin cancers and advanced aging of the skin. But for acne suffers it can be worse! When you already have inflammatory acne lesions, the sun will make them redder, more inflammatory, take longer to resolve, and cause those older red spots to last longer.
Since there are so many negative aspects to being in the sun, then how can it dry up acne as people claim? Perhaps it is not the sun after all, but the heat causing your body to sweat. Could it be that sweating cleans your pores, and therefore clears acne? This is not exactly true since the sweat glands excrete through sweat “ducts”not the hair follicle pore where the acne bacteria reside. However, there is a “salt” component of the sweat that has a drying effect to the skin. Although salt will not kill acne bacteria, it may give acne sufferers with oily skin a clean, tight feeling, and a little less inflammation.
Going to the beach may help acne due to salt from sweating and the salt in sea water. This could be a really great thing if we could just eliminate the sun!