Can our complexion improve with sun tanning?

I am currently reading Simple Skin Beauty by Ellen Marmur, MD and I came across an interesting explanation about why our complexion tend to clear up and improve when we head out in the sun. This reminded me of the following comment left by reader Jolie in a previous post.

“I find that suntanning is the best way for me to erase all my acne scars. I think blogger Xiaxue mentioned it somewhere before too. I know its not supposed to be good but its really effective and I personally find it to be my long term solution, weird as it sounds!”

Well, it’s not weird according to Dr Ellen Marmur and this is how she explained it in her book:

“Initially ultraviolet wavelengths penetrate the epidermis and interact with the Langerhans cells (those air traffic controllers directing the immune system) to shut them off temporarily. This stops the immune system from working at its best. Now, some skin diseases, such as psoriasis, acne, and eczema, happened because your inflammatory system is in overdrive. So the UV light helps quell the immune system’s overreaction temporarily so the skin can normalize again. But the sun soon becomes toxic once the wavelengths being tanning or burning the skin and those rays can actually start killing the Langerhans cells and damaging the immune system. How long it takes to become dangerous depend on your skin type (whether it’s fair or darker).

In addition, the author further indicated that soaking up UV rays is actually addictive according to a 2004 study pubilshed in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

So while you may experience an improvement to your skin condition under the sun, do note that sun tanning cannot be a long term viable solution to getting rid of your acne marks or eczema. The sun does cause injury to your skin and can effect a positive anti-inflammatory response as ultraviolet rays zap your skin at different depths. Most immediately, people will experience sunburn when the UVB damage the epidermis but the long term harm really comes from the harmful UVA, which strikes deeper in the dermis.


  1. pf1123 says:

    Haha…I thought it is due to the non scarred skin turning dark from the suntan and even out the skin tone with the scars.

    Anyway, scars can remain for a long time. The best is not to create them at first. I’m trying to heal 2 scars from squeezing my pimples a while ago. Can’t resist before I use my acne patch. Sighhh….

  2. Florence says:

    I don’t know sun tanning can erase acne scars.I only know that I love my skin to look sun tan color so I quite often sun tanning & swim.I really don’t like my skin to look fair.

  3. Jyoan says:

    Hmmm, suntanning can be addictive… haha.

  4. Florence says:

    I agreed with Jyoan… really addictive! hahaah

  5. jamaica says:

    hello. i just wanted to ask if you have any idea about Deoproce products. its a korean cosmetic brand i think. i was looking for reviews about it but cant find any. thank you.

  6. sesame says:

    Yeah, that’s what I thought too. Even out with the darker skin tone.

    Oh don’t tell me about acne scars. It’s taking forever to heal.

  7. sesame says:

    For some pple, it seems their scars disappear with tanning. My husband swears by it too.

    You don’t like being fair? I guess some find the bronze look healthier.

  8. sesame says:

    Ya, tell my husband that! I can’t take the heat at all.

  9. sesame says:

    No, I haven’t come across this brand. Not sure if others might have.

  10. Lene says:

    I didn’t know this… but I’m afraid that by the time the acne is gone I will get tons of freckles in return ?

  11. sesame says:

    Yes you probably would. Definitely not a good idea as we don’t know what’s the timeframe that the UV lights take to quell the immune’s systems overdrive…

  12. Florence says:

    I love the heat when wearing bikini but can’t stand the heat with clothes on…hahahahah

  13. anja says:

    i would just like to point out that i have been studying the effects of the sun as i’m studying biology and chemistry in particular at a-levels in addition to my interest in dermatology. from my research and experiments the sun doesn’t actually fade out acne marks but scars the skin so that it is forced to regenerated therefore replaces the old layer with a new one. as for the healthy glow aspect (besides the tanning/burning) the skin would seem healthier because of the fact that the sun’s heat and rays causes the skin to swell up therefore is temporarily plumped up. the long term effects are never good which i have also gathered from peer-review science articles.

  14. stella says:

    i loveeee the sun and it gives me a nice glow, but too bad i don’t take too well to it so i STAY OUT – sun burns and new moles are not fun! well the sun is not what is was with global warming, i could go swimming and jogging in the afternoon sun when i was much younger and never ever get burnt even 2-3x a week. but now, nay

  15. N. says:

    Oh I don’t care how good it could be to go suntanning. I can’t stand heat. And I like my skin pale.

  16. sesame says:

    Oooh…that sounds hot! I am not friends with the heat…clothes or no clothes.

  17. sesame says:

    Thanks for sharing the valuable info and lending more support to Dr Ellen Marmur’s info! I definitely agree…there are no benefits in sun tanning and whatever effects are just transient, creating a false illusion that sun tanning can help erase such marks or resolve some of the other skin issues.

  18. sesame says:

    Agree with you about the hazardous UV due to the global warming. Plus our skin do change with age in terms of regeneration and metabolism so youngsters sometimes have that false sense of security that their skin is “invincible”. The damage may only surface much later.

  19. sesame says:

    No, it’s not good to go suntanning. Whatever “goodness” is temporary and creating a false sense of illusion. I’m like you – hate the heat!

  20. Natalja says:

    Sun is actually good for you to some degree. 15 min a day of sun exposure will give you the necessary amount of Vitamin D that helps absorbtion of calcium. Enough calcium = strong bones. Vitamin D taken from food often is not enough for the the needed daily doze. This is something else that’s good about the sun.

  21. sesame says:

    Yup, a little sunlight is good but we have way too much here all year round!

  22. K. says:

    The sun makes my acne go away… temporarily!!:(

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