Will Tanning Your Back Help Clear Acne?

Will Tanning Your Back Help Clear Acne featured photo

There is a classic myth and belief that tanning can help clear out acne. Anyone who is dealing with acne issues may be asking if tanning your back and other affected areas can actually clear out acne.

Sadly, tanning as a cure for acne is a myth and there is no evidence and research backing this claim. While the temporary tan can mask the appearance of inflammation, redness, and dark spots, it’s only temporary and will reappear once the tan fades. Exposing yourself to excess UV rays will do you more harm than good so it’s best to stay protected.

Your best course of action for acne treatment is to consult with your dermatologist and make sure that your skin is well protected from the harmful rays of the sun or the tanning bed.

Tanning and Sun Exposure to Cure Acne: Truth or Myth?

Acne is one of the most common and prevalent skin issues many in the world face today. Unlike what people used to believe, acne doesn’t just affect teens but rather can affect a large group of people, no matter the age.

Since it’s such a prevalent issue, many people who suffer from it are in constant search for a cure to finally get rid of their case of acne.

There is a common myth that tanning and exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can help treat acne. Many people have turned to tanning outdoors and indoors (with a tanning bed) to put a stop to their acne problems for going on years now. But is there actually any truth to this?

Unfortunately, tanning as a cure for acne is a myth. There is no science behind the claim that tanning can help your issues with acne.

Sure, the temporary tan you get from tanning outside or inside can make acne, pimples, and redness less noticeable. This may seem like you’re able to heal acne scars. But just like the tan you gain from the UV light, this is only temporary. Once the tan fades, everything else you’ve tried to cover up becomes more noticeable as well.

In fact, turning to tanning, whether that’s outdoors or indoors, in an attempt to cure and get rid of pimples can worsen skin affected by acne and cause even more acne breakouts.

Some would also argue that tanning can help you get vitamin D nutrients but experts would argue that you will fare well in trying to get the nutrient through diet instead of tanning.

Will Tanning Your Back Help Clear Acne?

So you’re dealing with back acne (or bacne) and are wondering if the age-old “hack” of tanning can help you get rid of it.

As we’ve said before, tanning your back, or any part of your body for that matter, will not help acne and your journey of getting rid of it. While the tan may camouflage the redness or marks and even give your skin a glow, the effects are only temporary.

The damaging effects of prolonged and unprotected exposure to the sun completely outweigh this temporary solitude of masking the appearance of acne.

Are Tanning Beds Good for Back Acne?

The same idea goes for tanning beds and using them in an attempt to clear back acne, or acne on any part of your body. Unfortunately, no, tanning beds are no help either in getting rid of bacne or acne in any other part of your body.

Tanning beds in tanning salons are the same, as they use intense UV rays to darken skin tones without having you stay out under the sun. These artificial UV rays from the tanning bed can damage your skin further and could worsen your case of acne, which isn’t at all what you’re after.

The Effects of Tanning in an Attempt to Cure Acne

Tanning as a solution to clear out acne and pimples on the skin is considered an old-age “hack”. There is no evidence or research that suggests that exposure to UV rays can help clear and cure acne on any part of your body.

In fact, research on prolonged exposure to UV rays while your skin is unprotected suggests more harm than good can come out of it. But because it’s something that many people have believed for so long, it can be difficult to convince others of the harmful effects of this practice:

Acne scarring, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation

The main reason why tanning is believed to be good for clearing acne is because the temporary darker tone of the skin camouflages the appearance of acne, scars, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation.

But the thing is, this is only a temporary effect. Once the darker tone fades, everything you’ve tried to camouflage will become visible again.

UV and acne treatments

Some cases of acne would need treatments and medications (whether topical or oral) that could make the skin more sensitive to the sun and UV rays. In this case, it is not a wise choice to subject your now-sensitive skin to prolonged and unprotected sun exposure.

Drier skin

Another reason why many believe tanning helps with acne is because it can dry it out and even dry out the skin, lessening its natural sebum production.

Again, this is only a temporary effect. Moreover, in the long run, when your skin deems itself too dry, it will compensate by producing even more oil which could then lead to even more breakouts.

Premature aging and sun damage

Prolonged sun exposure without proper skin protection can lead to drier skin and permanent sun damage like dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

Additionally, exposing unprotected skin to excess amounts of UV rays can lead to premature aging – sagging skin, fine lines, and wrinkles. Tanning can disrupt the skin’s production of collagen and elastin, which the skin cells need to maintain a youthful appearance. And with the UV rays making your skin drier, these signs of aging will appear even more prominent.

Skin cancer

Excess sun exposure is directly linked to several types of skin cancers. The more time you spend under the sun or in tanning beds surrounded by intense UV rays while your skin is unprotected, the more likely you are to develop skin cancer later in life.

This simply isn’t worth the risk and other acne treatment paths are a better way to go.


Acne is a common skin concern millions of people around the world deal with. In search of a treatment, many stumble upon the idea that tanning can actually help clear acne. But is this true or is it simply a myth?

Unfortunately, tanning – whether that’s indoors or outdoors – as a treatment for acne is only a myth. There is no real evidence or research behind this claim. Sure, a temporary darker skin tone might camouflage acne, spots, and scars but once the tan fades away, they show up again. Tanning in an attempt to treat acne can lead to more harm than good.

If you’re dealing with acne that won’t go away with simple measures, it might be high time to pay your dermatologist a visit for consultation on what your next step should be.

Michelle Jackson
Michelle Jackson