Fact or Fiction: Sun exposure is good for acne.

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Sun exposure is something everyone needs to stay healthy. Soaking in the warm sun is a relaxing way to enjoy a vacation, but how much sun is too much? With summer in full affect, it is time to consider the truth surrounding the old wives' tale of sun exposure being beneficial for acne.

The Good
Small doses of sun exposure can not only be good for acne, but also for the skin in general. Vitamin D plays an important role in bone health and is present in very few foods, making sun exposure a much easier way of getting a daily dose.

Many people report clearer skin after being out in the sun. This report may be due to the sun drying out some of the acne, thus improving its appearance; or it might be as a result of the sun having an anti-inflammatory effect, therefore reducing redness.

These effects, however, are only temporary; long-term exposure to the sun can have several negative impacts on the skin.

The Bad
While a little bit of sun every day is good for the skin, too much can bring on a whole host of problems. The sun's rays can cause dryness and the buildup of dead skin cells, which can promote acne. In addition, due to this increased dryness, the body may increase its production of sebum, increasing the person's chances of an acne breakout. Therefore, not only can increased sun exposure create breakouts, it can also cause breakouts to become more severe and painful than before. Keep in mind that some of these negative side effects might take time before they become visible and that it is necessary to continuously monitor the skin for changes.

Acne is not the only thing people need to guard against: The sun is constantly emitting ultraviolet light that can create free radicals and lead to health concerns, such as sun damage, skin cancer, and premature aging.

The Balance
Life is all about balance and this idea applies just as strongly to sun exposure as it does to other areas of life. Small, daily doses of sunshine are definitely beneficial for skin and health, as the sun is a good source of vitamin D and helps keep bones strong. Prolonged exposure, however, can have damaging long-term effects.

Everyone is different and will have different reactions to the sun. While some people can tolerate more exposure, others could see negative side-effects almost immediately. It does not really matter which category a person falls in, they should always pay attention to the length of time spent outside, the time of day, and the sun's strength. Direct sunlight in the middle of the day will have a much greater impact than later in the afternoon with cloud coverage.

Even if a client is determined that a little bit of sun is good, they should not go too crazy this summer! No matter how often the client decides to go outside, remember to always wear sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen will not take away from the body's absorption of vitamin D and will help to protect the skin against sunburns, sun damage, and premature aging. Clients want to make sure that whatever sun protection they use, they will not be blocking their pores, so they should try finding a great oil-free, non-comedogenic sunscreen to help prevent additional breakouts.

Go out and safely enjoy the sun!

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