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Does The Sun Help Acne & Pimples? What Can You Do?

Does the sun help with acne & pimples or not? Find out the effect the sun has on acne-prone skin & the care you can take.


Overexposure to sunlight can cause serious damage to the skin, especially for those suffering with acne. The sun's UV rays can worsen acne breakouts, as well as scarring, this is because time in the sun can strip away natural oils. Our skin responds to this by increasing sebum production, which often contributes to blemishes and pimples. Taking the correct precautions for acne-prone skin in the sun will help to keep skin happy and healthy.

It is no surprise that many people are misled to believe sitting in the sun is good for the skin. People often talk about their skin glowing when coming back from a summer holiday, so you may think it clears your skin. However, this is not the case and the damage may not be visible but it is definitely there. 

Here we answer whether the sun is beneficial for acne-prone skin, debunk the rumours and offer advice on tackling those persistent pimples.


It may appear that acne and pimples can improve when in the sun, this is due to the sun's UV rays offering mild anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. However, this doesn’t last and actually causes more harm than good in the long run. 

Acne may also seem to be less visible after being in the sun, this could be due to tanned skin concealing red spots. It could also be attributed to decreased levels of stress on holiday, high levels of stress are commonly associated with worsening/causing acne breakouts.




After you have been in the sun, the top layer of the skin thickens and dries, and the body’s reaction will be to start producing more oil. The sebaceous glands that produce oil naturally start working in overdrive to help replenish the loss of moisture. This leads to excessive sebum, a common cause of acne breakouts. This reaction from your body doesn’t happen instantaneously, therefore it is common for people not to associate the two together.

When in the warm sun it is also typical for you to sweat more, and having sweaty skin creates the perfect environment for bacteria and acne to develop.


Woman holding a Nivea Derma Skin Clear Toner

Acne-prone skin requires higher UV protection as often treatment methods peel off dead skin, exposing fresher layers. It’s therefore extra important to apply high-SPF sunscreen while you are using acne products.


NIVEA Derma Skin Clear
The Derma Skin Clear range from NIVEA includes specially formulated products for those suffering from blemish-prone skin. Consisting of vegan-formula skin care products that nourish the skin while combating the visibility of blemishes, for a clean and healthy complexion.


The Derma Skin Clear range combines three key ingredients; Niacinamide, Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid, all are known ingredients used to help rejuvenate blemish-prone skin.


To manage sun pimples, the obvious first step is to start by cutting down the time spent in the sun and wear SPF30+  when you do. In order to manage further acne breakouts, there are a couple of prevention methods you can try:

Care for your skin correctly

Whether this is washing your face twice a day, or using the best products for your skin type. Everyone's skin is different, so it’s important to listen to your skin's needs, and see what products/ingredients agree with your skin and which don’t.

Moisturise dry skin

As your skin often dries out in the sun, which causes more oil to be naturally produced, it is important to get on top of this and supplement your skin with moisture regularly. This may be through using a serum or moisturiser, it again depends on what works best for you and your skin.

Keep low-stress levels

High-stress levels cause your body to produce more hormones, which in turn boosts your glands' production of oil. Therefore by keeping your stress levels low, you can help avoid an overproduction of sebum which causes acne breakouts.

Eat Healthily

Your diet can play a large role in either helping or worsening your acne breakouts. These are some regular offenders that worsen acne:
- Processed foods
- Alcohol
- Sugar
- Dairy products   

Limit Makeup

It may be tempting to use makeup to cover pimples, however heavy amounts of makeup on the skin can worsen acne. This is due to thick makeup clogging pores, in turn triggering acne breakouts. You should look for fragrant-free, light makeup if you don’t want to go without. When washing off makeup it is also important to be gentle and to use a specialised sensitive cleanser.


Girl applying Nivea Sun Protect & Dry Touch Spray

If you feel like your pimples worsen when in the sun, this also may be down to your sunscreen. It is essential to wear sunscreen in the sun, but there are different types and some are better for blemish-prone skin than others. 

When looking for a sunscreen that doesn’t worsen acne-prone skin, you should try and avoid heavy, greasy sunscreens. These are more likely to clog your pores which can increase the likelihood of breakouts. NIVEA Protect & Dry Touch Invisible Spray SPF 50 is a lighter sunscreen that offers high protection against UVA & UVB rays while also being sweat and water-resistant.

People often fret about choosing between mineral or chemical sunscreens, both are okay to use, and it may come down to your individual skin type reaction. For facial sunscreen, it is considered best to use a mineral sunscreen, as it tends to be less greasy and better for sensitive skin. 

The UV Face Specialist Triple Protect Sun Fluid SPF50+ is a non-greasy, ultra-light and hydrating face sunscreen. Its SPF 50 will efficiently protect your skin from UV rays while also not irritating sensitive acne-prone facial skin.


Ginger curly hair woman holding a Nivea face cream

Acne scarring is used to refer to the various marks that acne breakouts may leave behind. It is fair to say that a tan can give the illusion of reduced scarring however this is far from the case. Once the tan has faded the UV exposure is likely to leave scars more noticeable and less likely to fade over time. 

Acne scars worsening/deepening in the sun is commonly due to the Collagen breakdown that occurs. Over time the UV rays destroy Collagen and Elastin, which are used to give the skin structure.


There are many acne scar products out there, but in most cases, SPF is the most essential care.