Acne is a common skin issue that affects many people, from teenagers to adults. The most common causes of acne include hormonal imbalance, stress, a poor diet, or the use of birth control pills. In addition, acne can be frustrating, and taking action prematurely could make it worse.
Acne scarring is what's left after a bad breakout. It could be red or brown and could last for weeks or even months. Clearing acne scars takes time, so you will need to exercise patience. In addition, the products you choose will determine how fast you heal. Unfortunately, using harsh chemicals may cause an acne breakout, so you need to stay clear of such.
Home remedies work well in clearing acne scars and dark spots. They are gentle to your skin and will not cause adverse skin reactions. Although these are items you can easily get in your home kitchen, consistency is key as you will not see results immediately. Below, we will show you how to get rid of acne scars naturally.
What Are Acne Scars?
An acne scar is what's left after you have experienced an active breakout. Squeezing or picking at your skin when you have a breakout causes inflammation to that part. In turn, this interferes with the normal skin healing process, leaving damage to your skin.
Acne scars are treatable, although they take time. The severity of your acne will often determine the type of scars you have. In addition, it is best to wait until all your active breakouts are healed before starting a scar treatment. This is because any new acne will result in new scars and dark spots.
Now that we know what acne scars are, let us look at the different types of scarring before getting into the natural treatments.
What Are the Types of Acne Scars?
Acne scarring occurs in two main ways, atrophic and hypertrophic. Let us look at each in depth below.
1. Atrophic Scars
Atrophic scars are characterized by flat and shallow depressions on the surface of the skin. They are a result of cystic acne, whereby loss of skin tissue has been experienced. Types of atrophic scars include:
i) Ice Pick Scar
Ice pick scars are small and resemble punctures on your skin. In addition, the holes are deep and noticeable.
ii) Boxcar Scar
These are round, oval, crater-like depressions. They have sharp edges and are synonymous with chickenpox scars.
iii) Rolling Scar
These are caused by scar tissue that forms under the skin, especially on the jaws and lower cheeks. Since the skin is thicker in these areas, the scars give an uneven and rolling appearance.
2. Hypertrophic Scars
Also known as Keloid scars, these are raised bumps of scar tissue on the skin. Your skin may produce excess collagen to heal acne, leaving you with a mass of skin tissue that becomes a hypertrophic scar.
Hypertrophic scars are specific to the same size as the pimple that caused them or larger size than the pimple in the case of keloid scars. In addition, these scars can be itchy and, in other cases, tender.
How to Get Rid of Acne Scars Naturally
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera contains various properties that make it a great option for treating acne scars and dark spots. It is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial hence reduces any signs of inflammation, such as redness and swelling. Aloe vera also removes dead skin cells on the skin's surface, reducing excess oils produced to prevent more acne breakouts.
Aloe vera offers soothing relief to irritations and itchiness caused by acne scars. In addition, it is very powerful at managing sunburn and hyperpigmentation. This is because aloe vera gel contains a compound known as "aloesin" that controls melanin production, reducing discoloration and hyperpigmentation caused by acne scars.
You will need to extract the gel from an actual aloe vera plant to get these full benefits. Then, scoop out the gel and lather it on your face. In addition, you can dilute the gel and ingest it to regulate your skin's pH. For better results, apply this regimen daily for the long term.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the kitchen ingredients touted for its all-round properties. From cleaning your kitchen counter to controlling dandruff, it is not an exception when it comes to skincare. Since it is acidic, apple cider vinegar helps control your skin's pH while acting as a natural exfoliant to remove dead skin cells.
Apple cider vinegar stimulates collagen production, which helps repair the skin cells and lighten acne scars. In addition, it can be used to reduce redness and whiteheads of an oncoming pimple, which also prevents acne marks from forming.
Mix apple cider vinegar, honey, and water for the best results and apply it to the skin using a q-tip or a cotton ball. Concentrated apple cider vinegar is very acidic and may worsen the condition of your skin. In addition, repeat this application daily until you see results.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is the holy grail of all oils. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help to soothe and control redness, irritation and infections on the skin. In addition, coconut oil is packed with vitamins E and K, essential fatty acids and antioxidants that penetrate your skin to treat acne scars.
The best way to apply coconut oil is to rub it in your palms and apply only to affected areas. However, too much use of it could lead to more breakouts. In addition, do not use coconut oil if you have oily skin as it is comedogenic and may clog your skin pores and worsen your acne.
4. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is a naturally occurring bleaching agent that helps to lighten acne scars quickly. Lemon juice has alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) that clear dead skin cells and stimulate the growth of new skin cells. In addition, lemon juice contains vitamin C that helps manage uneven skin tone and enhance the skin's elasticity.
You will need to apply fresh lemon juice to your affected areas to treat acne scars for effective results. In addition, you may use a cotton ball or a q-tip. However, if you have sensitive skin, it is best to dilute the lemon juice since it is highly acidic and could affect your skin. In addition, since it is a natural bleach, ensure to wear SPF to protect your skin when exposed to the sun.
5. Baking Soda
Baking soda works to fade an acne scar by acting as a natural exfoliant and, in turn, balancing your skin's pH levels. In addition, it removes dead skin cells leaving you with a layer of healthy skin without causing any further damage.
While its bleaching properties work to fade acne scars fast, the alkaline nature of baking soda may do more harm than good. This is because it damages the normal protective function of the skin and does not help to treat scars rooted deep in the skin.
When using baking soda, mix it with water to form a paste. Apply this paste to your acne scar, leave it for a few minutes, and then wash it off. In addition, you want to make sure that you are using baking soda and not baking powder, as these two are different.
Turmeric is a medicinal herb packed with properties necessary for the body, whether ingested or applied topically. For example, when it comes to your skincare routine, turmeric powder stimulates the natural healing process of scars and scar reduction.
Turmeric powder contains a synthesis known as curcumin that has antibacterial properties and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, turmeric controls the overproduction of melanin, therefore preventing pigmentation and discoloration of acne scars. For effective results, mix equal parts turmeric powder with coconut oil and rub it on your scars. You can replace coconut oil with honey or lemon juice, according to your personal preferences.
7. Castor Oil
Castor oil contains omega 3-fatty acids and Vitamin E, which help to repair damaged skin. Vitamin E oil is an antioxidant and helps your skin form new skin cells and fight acne scarring. In addition, castor oil reduces the size of acne scars and helps to prevent pigmentation.
You will need to rub castor oil on your palms and apply it only to the affected areas. Leave it overnight and wash it off the next morning. In addition, ensure to clean your face fully since castor oil has a very thick consistency and may end up clogging your pores if left on the skin.
Honey soothes and reduces irritations on the skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It also has antibiotic healing properties that help to treat acne and acne marks. In addition, honey promotes the regeneration of new tissues, all while keeping your skin hydrated. Just apply honey to your acne marks and let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse it off with warm water.
How Can You Avoid Acne Scarring?
While natural remedies work to fade and get rid of acne scars, preventing scarring from occurring in the first place will be better. Tips you can employ to prevent acne scarring include:
- Do not pick, pop or squeeze acne scars. While resisting the urge to pop a ripe pimple may be hard, doing so introduces bacteria and dirt, increasing the chances of scars forming.
- Hydrate! Drinking a lot of water is key in flushing toxins out of your body. In addition, Hydrating minimizes acne breakouts and helps you achieve clearer skin in the long run.
- Get into a skincare routine. Taking proper care of your skin in the morning and evening will help you keep your face clean and moisturized.
- Make SPF part of your skincare routine. Always wear sunscreen when indoors and outdoors. This will help prevent the darkening of acne scars when exposed to UV rays from the sun. In addition, you can wear a moisturizer with SPF protection of at least 30.
- Exfoliating at least twice a week will help your skin to get rid of dead skin cells. In turn, this keeps your skin pores clean and unclogged, allowing products to penetrate better into your skin and improve your skin tone.
Natural remedies will work to clear acne scarring. However, the scarring may only lighten up for some people without going away completely. Therefore, it is always recommended to seek a dermatologist's opinion, especially if you have persistent acne and scarring.
When introducing new formulas to your skin, do so one by one to have adequate time to gauge the effects of each regimen. This tip applies to both home remedies and store-bought skin products. Introducing multiple remedies simultaneously could trigger your skin and lead to more acne breakouts. In addition, maintaining a healthy diet and managing stress will highly contribute to having smooth and clear skin.