Acne can turn our days upside down, but acne scars can have worse consequences than those dreaded breakouts. While acne only fasts a few days to a week, acne scars can linger a lot longer.
Acne is caused by clogged pores and the resulting outbreak of lesions. On average, approximately 40 to 50 million Americans suffer from acne annually (ranging from facial acne to back acne, or ‘bacne’). When your skin’s sebaceous glands overproduce oil or sebum, your pores may become clogged, preventing dead skin and bacteria from escaping. This bacteria, mixed with sweat and dirt, leads to acne. (Don’t forget to check out our post on the best home remedies for acne)
If acne is picked or squeezed, it will most likely lead to scarring (sorry, we know the urge to do it can sometimes be so strong!). Picking at acne causes it to be further inflamed and pushes the pus and bacteria deeper down into the skin, resulting in loss of collagen, one of the key components which gives skin its elasticity. Loss of collagen can lead to deeper scarring.
Having established that thou shalt not pick at acne, let’s now talk about how to fade acne scars!
- Sunscreen: Aside from providing UV protection, sunscreen also helps getting rid of acne scars. Though the scars will eventually fade with time, exposure to sun will slow the healing process of acne scars and make them darker and more prominent. So, don’t forget to lather up on the sunscreen, rain or shine!
- Exfoliate daily: Showering and washing your face daily not only keeps the surface of your skin refreshed, but it also removes that extra layer of dead skin cells. Gentle exfoliation can further help removing acne scars and bringing new skin cells to the surface. Try using sea salt or baking soda, which is made up of sodium bicarbonate crystals to gently exfoliate the skin. Mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water to massage into the scarred area. Leave it in to soak before washing the paste away. Moisturize afterwards with non-comedogenic moisturizers or oils to prevent your pores from clogging!
- Lemon Juice: Vitamin C-rich lemon juice can help to rebuild collagen loss as the pimple grows. Its natural alpha-hydroxy acid allows lemon juice to lighten scars and revitalize the skin. The citric acid can also act as a powerful astringent to remove dead skin, promote skin elasticity and encourage new skin cell growth for clear, brighter skin. The best treatment for acne scars is applying lemon juice directly onto your acne scars with your fingertips or a cotton ball for 10 minutes before washing it off. Mix it with some honey to make it even more effective. If you have sensitive skin, dilute the lemon juice with rose water, or distilled water, before application. (Lemon juice is a potent solution - but can aggravate skin sensitivity, so please patch test on an area of your skin other than your face, prior to use. Also, because lemon juice makes your skin sensitive to the sun, don’t forget to don a hat or stay in the shade after applying lemon juice to your skin!)
- Aloe Vera: Besides soothing inflamed, swollen skin, aloe vera can also help to regenerate damaged tissues and acts as a wonderful natural moisturizer. This allows acne scars to disappear and new, smooth skin to grow in the affected area. Try using natural aloe vera gel directly from an aloe vera leaf (you'll be surprised to see how many neighborhood groceries now carry this miracle plant. About time we say!). Break off part of the leaf and peel away the outer flesh to reach the gel. Massage it gently onto the affected area and let it soak before washing it off. Aloe vera gels or lotions are the next best alternative (try to find one without preservatives or questionable additives. Rule of thumb - if you can't understand an ingredient on a label, chances are it's not the most savory thing for your skin or your body!)
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has antibacterial scar prevention properties which can help to get rid of bacteria as well as to balance the skin’s pH. The vinegar also acts as a powerful astringent to stimulate blood flow, speeding up the healing process and the regeneration of cells. Try mixing the vinegar with an equal portion of water. Soak a clean washcloth in the diluted mixture and let it sit on the affected area for 5 minutes before washing with warm water.
- Try Lavender Essential Oil for Acne and Scarring: While soaking your skin in oils when you're breaking out may seem contradictory, lavender essential oil has powerful regenerative and anti-inflammatory properties key in getting rid of acne scars. Its calming nature soothes the skin and fights redness of leftover acne. As with any essential oil, it is important to dilute it in a carrier oil - such as grapeseed oil, jojoba oil or pomegranate oil - prior to application.
- Sandalwood: Another acne solution is to make a mask out of sandalwood paste and rosewater to soothe the skin and lighten acne scars. Mix it thoroughly so it turns into a thick paste before applying to the scarred area. Add in some turmeric powder or fuller’s earth to make this paste even more effective and give your skin a glowing, refreshed look. You can also try adding in essential oils of tea tree, clove, rosemary, patchouli or clary sage oil for an extra potent dose of anti bacterial action!
Also, find out what the acne-prone areas of your face mean in relation to your health with face mapping, an ancient Ayurvedic practice to help heal internal ailments for glowing skin!
Plus, try our lightweight, high-impact Deeply Clarifying Day Face Oil, which is filled with lavender and clary sage essential oils to regulate the skin’s natural sebum production and provide an extra barrier against environmental pollutants and impurities.
Finally, other tips from Uma Beauty & Wellness expert to eliminate Acne from the Inside Out:
Four Powerful Tips for an Ayurvedic Detox to cleanse your mind, skin and body!