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Do Tanning Beds Help Acne?

One of the most common skin issues many people struggle with is acne. Whether you’re a teenager or adult, acne can be incredibly difficult to manage and treat.

While there are a variety of traditional treatments for acne, some believe that tanning beds may help as well.

But, do tanning beds help acne? I’m going to let you know whether tanning beds will help make acne better. So, keep on reading to find out…

Do Tanning Beds Help Acne?

What Are The Different Types Of Acne?

When dealing with acne, it’s essential to know the different types that can affect your skin. This will help you better understand what you’re dealing with and find the right solutions for your acne problems.

1. Whiteheads: These are small, white blemishes that form when a hair follicle becomes clogged with sebum and dead skin cells. They’re usually not very painful, but they can be unsightly on your acne-prone skin.

2. Blackheads: Similar to whiteheads, blackheads form when a clogged pore is exposed to air, causing the sebum inside to oxidize and turn black. Although they may look like dirt, they’re actually a type of acne blemish that can be challenging to get rid of without proper treatment.

3. Papules: These are small, red bumps that can be tender to touch. They form when a clogged pore becomes inflamed, leading to acne breakouts. Papules can be caused by hormonal changes, stress, or exposure to environmental irritants.

4. Pustules: Pustules are essentially papules that have formed pus. They usually look like white or yellowish bumps surrounded by red, inflamed skin. Many acne breakouts will feature pustules, and they can be painful, especially when touched or picked at.

5. Cysts: These are severe acne formations that occur deep within the skin layers. Cysts are large, red, and painful, often filled with pus. They require professional treatment, as improper handling can lead to scarring.

6. Nodules: Nodules are similar to cysts but aren’t filled with pus. They’re also a type of severe acne that develops deep within the skin and can cause significant pain and discomfort. Like cysts, nodules need professional treatment to prevent scarring or long-term issues.

What Are The Benefits Of Tanning Beds?

Tanning beds have been quite popular within the tanning industry in recent years, and you might be wondering what the benefits of using them are.

While indoor tanning is a controversial topic, it does offer some advantages, especially for those who struggle with acne.

Firstly, tanning beds can provide a controlled environment for your skin to receive UV exposure. Unlike sun tanning, you can adjust the time spent and intensity of the light in a tanning booth. This can help minimize the risk of sunburn, which could actually worsen your acne.

Another potential benefit is the drying effect of tanning beds. While you’re laying in the tanning booth, the UV light can help to dry up excess oil on your skin.

This can lead to a reduction in acne breakouts, as oily skin is one of the key factors contributing to acne formation.

However, it is essential to find the right balance between drying out your skin and not overly drying it, which could cause irritation and inflammation.

Tanning beds can also contribute to an evening out your skin tone, which might help temporarily camouflage acne or acne-related scarring.

This can be a confidence booster and help you feel more comfortable with your appearance, but this is only a temporary solution and doesn’t treat the root cause of acne.

Finally, exposure to UV light in moderation may have some antibacterial effects on your skin. This could help to reduce the presence of acne-causing bacteria on your skin and possibly lead to fewer breakouts.

Which Skin Types Should Try Tanning For Breakout Treatments

Do Tanning Beds Help Acne?

You might have heard that tanning beds can help with acne, but is this really true? Let’s explore what science has to say about this.

Tanning beds function by emitting ultraviolet (UV) rays, similar to the sun. This exposure to UV rays can have some temporary positive effects on your skin.

For example, it can help to dry up excess oil and may disguise redness and inflammation associated with acne, giving the appearance of clearer skin.

Though some people believe that tanning can help with acne, there isn’t much scientific evidence to support this claim.

In fact, most dermatologists recommend against using tanning beds for acne management, as the risks may outweigh the potential benefits.

Some of the risks of using tanning beds include:

  • Premature skin aging: UV radiation is known to accelerate the aging process and can lead to wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin.
  • Skin cancer: Excessive exposure to UV radiation increases your risk of developing skin cancer, specifically melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.
  • Damage to your immune system: The UV radiation from tanning beds can suppress your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off infections and diseases.

Instead of relying on tanning beds, it’s better to embrace healthier alternatives for acne management. Some options include:

  • Topical treatments: Over-the-counter and prescription treatments can be effective in controlling acne. Salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and retinoids are some commonly used ingredients.
  • Gentle skincare routine: Washing your face twice a day with a mild cleanser, moisturizing regularly, and using sunscreen can help prevent acne breakouts, or damaged skin.
  • Oral medications: In more severe cases, your dermatologist may prescribe antibiotics or other acne medications.

Which Skin Types Should Try Tanning For Breakout Treatments

Tanning beds have been a topic of debate for their potential benefits and drawbacks. If you’re considering using a tanning bed to help treat acne, it’s essential first to understand which skin types may benefit and the risks involved.

Before trying a tanning bed for acne treatment, you must identify your skin type. Generally, there are five skin types: normal, dry, oily, combination, and sensitive.

Tanning beds may work better for some skin types than others.

Normal skin: If your skin is neither too oily nor too dry and has an even texture, you likely have normal skin. While tanning beds might not negatively impact your acne, they may not provide significant benefits either. You could explore other treatments that can help, like topical creams or professional facials.

Dry skin: Dry skin is often characterized by flaky, tight, or itchy skin. Excessive sun exposure and tanning beds might make your skin even drier and potentially worsen acne or other skin conditions. It’s essential to use caution and invest in proper moisturizers if considering tanning beds as an acne treatment method.

Oily skin: Oily skin can be prone to acne breakouts. While tanning may appear to help initially, it may also lead to dryness, peeling, and potential aggravation of breakouts in the long run. If you opt for tanning with oily skin, make sure to stay well-hydrated and speak with a professional about appropriate treatments like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

Combination skin: Combination skin features dryness in some areas and oily skin in others, like the T-zone. Tanning beds may moderately help to treat acne in this skin type, but it’s essential to monitor any negative effects on oilier areas closely. Always use effective sunscreen and soothing skincare products.

Sensitive skin: Sensitive skin is prone to irritation and redness, often reacting negatively to chemicals, fragrances, and environmental factors. Tanning could potentially irritate sensitive skin and worsen acne. It’s advisable to explore gentler treatments like calming creams or prescription medications.

Can You Use Tanning To Help With Acne Scars?

You might be wondering if tanning can help with acne scars. While tanning beds and excess sun exposure can temporarily reduce the appearance of acne, it is not a long-term solution for acne or a cure for acne scars.

Tanning may help to reduce the appearance of acne scars by darkening the skin and giving you a more even skin tone.

However, this is only a temporary fix, and the benefits may not be as significant as you hope.

Consider the risks associated with tanning, as excessive exposure to UV rays can lead to premature aging, skin cancer, and can even worsen your acne eventually.

Tanning beds and sunbathing can dry out your skin, and when your skin becomes dry, it produces more oil, which can contribute to acne breakouts.

It is essential to find a balance between getting an adequate amount of sun exposure for overall skin health and not overdoing it.

Instead of relying on tanning beds or sunbathing to heal acne scars, you can try other methods and treatments that may be more effective and safer. Some options include:

  • Topical treatments: Over-the-counter creams and gels containing ingredients like retinoids, salicylic acid, or niacinamide can help reduce the appearance of acne scars.
  • Chemical peels: These treatments involve the use of a chemical solution to remove the top layer of skin, which can help to minimize the appearance of scars.
  • Microdermabrasion: This procedure involves exfoliating the skin’s outer layer to help even out the skin tone and potentially reduce the appearance of scarring.

Tips On Tanning For Acne Treatment

Tips On Tanning For Acne Treatment

When using tanning beds to help with acne treatment, be aware of the potential risks and benefits. 

Limit your exposure to UV rays. Although some exposure to UV rays can kill acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation, excessive amounts can lead to skin cancer and premature aging. It’s essential to strike the right balance for your personal needs.

UV rays can penetrate windows. This means that even if you’re indoors, your skin is still being exposed to harmful UV rays.

You can still get some benefits from sun exposure by sitting near a window, but consider using UV-blocking window films if you spend a lot of time in direct sunlight indoors.

Next, avoid staying in the tanning bed for too long. Going for a shorter duration, albeit regularly, can help you strike a balance between acne treatment and skin protection.

You need to give some time for your skin cells to regenerate and repair themselves between sessions.

Choose a tanning bed with appropriate UV output. Ideally, you should opt for a tanning bed that provides a mix of both UVA and UVB rays for the best results.

UVA rays will help your skin tan, while UVB rays can kill acne-causing bacteria, promoting a clear complexion.

When using tanning beds, always wear proper eye protection. UV rays can be dangerous for your eyes and may lead to significant eye problems like cataracts.

Use goggles specifically designed for tanning beds to ensure the best possible protection.

Consider supplementing your tanning sessions with topical treatments for acne.

Some products can help keep your skin clear by controlling excess sebum and reducing inflammation. These might include benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, or salicylic acid.

Finally, always moisturize your skin after tanning. Tanning sessions can dehydrate your skin, which might aggravate your acne issues.

Choose a non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated without clogging your pores.

Can Tanning Beds Improve Acne on The Back?

Tanning beds at the tanning salon, might seem like a quick solution to improve the appearance of acne on your back, but before you decide to use one, it’s essential to understand the potential benefits and risks.

While some people believe that the UV light from tanning beds can help kill acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation, this is not entirely accurate.

The UV light might offer a temporary reduction in redness and inflammation, making your acne appear less noticeable.

However, this effect is likely to be short-lived, and in the long run, tanning beds may end up causing more harm than good.

One of the main drawbacks of using tanning beds is the increased risk of skin damage.

Prolonged exposure to UV light can cause premature aging, sunburns, and an increased risk of skin cancer.

The drying effect of tanning beds on your skin can lead to an increased production of sebum (skin oil), which might actually worsen your acne.

Instead of relying on tanning beds, consider other alternatives for treating acne on your back:

  • Topical treatments: Over-the-counter products containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or glycolic acid can help unclog pores and reduce inflammation.
  • Oral medications: Your doctor may prescribe oral medications, such as antibiotics or birth control pills (for women), to help regulate hormones and reduce acne.
  • Skin care routine: Maintaining a consistent skin care routine, including gentle cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing, can help keep your skin healthy and reduce acne breakouts.



Tanning beds may offer some temporary relief for acne, but the potential risks of using them usually outweigh the benefits.

Excessive exposure to UV light can lead to premature aging, sunburns, and an increased risk of skin cancer.

Tanning beds can also make your skin dry out or become overly oily, actually increasing your chances of developing breakouts.

If you’re suffering from acne breakouts, it’s better to avoid tanning and explore other options instead.

Topical treatments like creams and gels containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or retinoids may be more effective than tanning for managing acne over time. 

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