Acne and sunbed use: what’s the connection?

Written by: Dr Simon Zokaie
Edited by: Aoife Maguire

With a widespread impact on millions globally, acne, a prevalent skin condition, frequently motivates individuals to explore a multitude of potential remedies. From creams, lotions, medications, and therapies to lifestyle adjustments, several treatments have proven effective in addressing the condition.


One emerging method gaining popularity is the use of sunbeds to alleviate acne. However, before making any changes, it’s critical to it's important to distinguish between what's true and what isn’t. Distinguished cosmetic dermatologist Dr Simon Zokaie explores the link between acne and sunbed use.



What is the relationship between UV rays and acne?


While sunbed usage may initially result in skin dryness and a decrease in pimple formation, this excessive drying can trigger the skin to produce more oil in an attempt to compensate. As the sebaceous glands develop more oil, there is an increased likelihood of pores becoming blocked, eventually leading to breakouts.


What’s more, dry or UV ray-damaged skin can increase the number of dead skin cells, a major contributor to clogged pores. Furthermore, extended and frequent exposure to UV rays may harm the skin's structure, placing additional strain on the immune system and potentially exacerbating acne.


What are the other harmful impacts of sunbeds?


Not only can sunbeds provoke acne, they can also:


  • Increase the risk of skin cancer: regular exposure to UV rays has the potential to harm the DNA in skin cells, and can trigger abnormal cell growth, increasing the likelihood of various skin cancers.
  • Accelerate premature ageing: sunbed usage can amplify the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by damaging the elastin and collagen in the skin, contributing to a more aged look.
  • Exacerbate additional skin issues: prolonged exposure to the sun or sunbeds can result in various skin problems such as sun damage, sun spots, melasma, or hyperpigmentation.


The long-term effects of using sunbeds mean that if you regularly use them, you will not be eligible for other types of acne treatment. However, there are multiple options available, and it is beneficial to work with a professional dermatologist to find the most suitable treatment for you.


The enduring consequences of using sunbeds render them unsuitable for any form of acne treatment. However, numerous alternative solutions are available, and consulting with a professional dermatologist can help identify the most appropriate treatment for individual needs.


Can sunbeds improve the appearance of acne scars?


While sunbeds may not be beneficial for treating acne, the situation is no different when it comes to acne scars.  Unfortunately, sunbeds can exacerbate scars, as the UV rays have the potential to harm vital collagen and elastin fibres in the skin. This damage makes it difficult for the skin to heal and scar properly, resulting in acne scars that are darker and more noticeable.


If you're seeking alternatives to improve your acne scars without resorting to sunbeds, the team at at LINIA Skin Clinic is here to assist you. Our state-of-the-art clinic provides a variety of non-invasive solutions proven to be effective, including laser treatment, derma roller procedures, facial peels, and soft tissue augmentation. To learn more, request an acne scarring consultation with our experienced consultants today.




If you would like to book a consultation with Dr Zoakie, do not hesitate to do so by visiting his Top Doctors profile today.

By Dr Simon Zokaie

Dr Simon Zokaie is a highly experienced cosmetic dermatologist who possesses a high degree of expertise in acne, acne scarring, moles, mole removal, cysts, rosacea, and skin lesions. He is the Medical Director of  LINIA Skin Clinic, where he practises currently. 

Dr Zokaie, who successfully qualified in medicine in 2003 after completing a MB ChB in medicine at the University of Manchester, also specialises in psoriasis, microneedling, dermal fillers, anti-ageing injections, skin peels, and eczema. He gained membership to the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) and subsequently undertook five years of specialist training in dermatology.

Impressively, Dr Zokaie, who has incorporated a wide range of non-surgical advanced technologies into his clinic, is quite the popular cosmetic dermatologist amongst a host of A-list celebrities, and has been featured in numerous magazines and national newspapers including the Marie Claire and the Daily Mail. Dr Zokaie is also a key opinion leader to a variety of different global pharmaceutical and cosmeceutical companies and is a regular attendee of aesthetic and medical dermatology conferences in order to ensure his treatment plans remain at the forefront of cutting-edge technology.

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