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How to get rid of acne scars
Whether you’ve got acne scars on your face, your chest, your back or any other part of your body, they’re going to be detrimental to your self-confidence and body image. Acne scars are a reminder of how your skin suffered at the hands of your breakouts.
The good news is, there’s lots of great research being done and heaps of products on the market that will assist with your scarring. You don’t have to be stuck with them forever, there will be a treatment out there to help you get your skin back to it’s smooth, supple self. We’ve put together this article to give you information on acne, acne scars and how to treat them so you can take the right step toward restoring your skin.
What is acne?
Puberty is a difficult and confusing time for everyone. Your hormones are all over the place, your body is experiencing strange changes and to top it all off, your face is constantly breaking out in pimples. Well, that’s how it is for 3 out of every 4 people in the world. Acne (acne vulgaris) generally hits during puberty and will taper off afterwards, however, it can affect people at any point in their lives.
During puberty, the male hormone testosterone stimulates your oil production. If this becomes overstimulated, the oil can get trapped with hair, bacteria and dirt inside pores and hair follicles to form acne. You can get pimples, blind pimples, blackheads and whiteheads.
Here’s some factors that can make your acne worse:
- Being stressed out and not getting enough sleep
- Falling pregnant
- Being overweight/not exercising/poor diet full of sugar
- Certain medications that don’t agree with your body
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS
It’s best to go to a doctor or dermatologist if you have persistent acne, because they will be able to diagnose it by its severity and discuss your suitable treatment options. Here’s a quick guide to the different severities of acne:
- Mild acne is generally not referred to as acne. It’s a non-inflammatory form of acne where only a few pimples, whiteheads, blackheads and blind pimples will develop infrequently and will often disappear in a short time with minimal to no scarring as this medical publication suggests. Won’t usually require treatment.
- Moderate acne will be noticeable with more of each different kind of acne spots. There will be more pus and inflammation but can still generally be treated with over the counter treatments.
- Severe acne is the worst kind of normal acne you can experience. It will be painful, inflamed and have many pus-filled pimples and blind pimples along with whiteheads and blackheads. Can cause scarring if not effectively managed. Generally requires prescription medication, both oral and topical.
- Cystic acne is characterized by blind pimples, or cysts, deep below the skin’s surface that are filled with pus. They will be large, inflamed and very painful. If burst, these cysts will spread the infection, cause scarring and skin pigmentation issues. Must be treated with oral and topical prescription medications.
What are acne scars?
Acne scars are left over from breakouts you’ve experienced. They occur when acne pimples or cysts burst, or when you’ve popped a pimple and then picked at the scab that formed afterwards – which is a huge no-no. If your skin isn’t producing enough collagen during this time, then it won’t be able to fill in the indentation and this is how you end up with acne scarring. Acne scars are most commonly characteristic of severe and cystic acne but can pop up with all different severities of this skin condition.
When we’re talking about acne scars, an important point to make is that we’re not referring to the red or brown marks that are made directly after popping a pimple. These will generally go away on their own over time, we’re talking instead about the marks that have been present for months and are not fading.
Here are the different types of acne scars you can experience, most sufferers will have a combination of the types:
- Boxcar – Depressed scars that are box shaped and broad.
- Ice pick – Deep holes in the skin that look as though they may have been made with an ice pick, hence the name.
- Rolling – Depressed scars with smooth edges that look like rolling hills and valleys.
- Keloid – Raised scars that are pink or red in colour, may be inflamed.
Acne scars may be unsightly and embarrassing, but they are extremely common with around 95% of acne suffered experiencing them according to this medical publication. Which means there’s a huge amount of remedies and treatment out there for you to try. Before starting a treatment for your acne scars, it’s best to have a dermatologist or doctor examine them and advise you on the best treatment paths. Here are some of the things they may suggest:
- Topical retinoids/acne scar creams – These are designed to speed up your skin’s cell regeneration. This means that the top layers of your skin will begin to shed and be replaced by healthy cells that will cause your scars to fade and pigmentation to even out.
- Lactic acid – This is an acid found in dairy and fermented vegetables and is able to chemically burn off the top layers of your skin. This one is a little intense when done as a facial chemical peel, but you can get serums, lotions and gels with lactic acid in them that may will have a similar effect in a gentler, more gradual way.
- Dermatologist treatments – A dermatologist will be able to assess your skin and offer some great solutions. This could include a chemical peel like the one mentioned above, dermabrasion, fillers, microneedling and much more. All of these will be focusing on stimulating the collagen production in your skin to plump out the scars and reduce their appearance.
- Natural remedies – This will work best on mild scarring as natural remedies are often a bit gentler than other routes. Great natural ingredients like coconut oil, honey, baking soda and aloe vera all have natural properties that combat acne scars.
How acne scar cream can help get rid of acne scars?
So you experienced the breakouts, the pimples, the popping and you thought it was all over once they disappeared. It’s disappointing to realise this is not the case, and frustrating to see the remnants of your skin’s struggles.
The best ways to deal with acne scars will be in a dermatologist’s chair, getting a professional treatment. But don’t fret, there are plenty of ways you can get great results at home by yourself. If you’re looking to correct your complexion and smooth your acne scars, a topical cream might be the best place to start.
There’s two sides to consider when picking a great scar cream that will suit your needs:
Most acne scar creams will aim to lighten the pigmentation of your scars to something less noticeable. The reds, pinks and browns of your existing scars will fade to your normal skin tone, this will make them harder to detect when viewing your skin and if you’ve only got mild scarring with minimal indentation, this may be all you need! Ingredients like vitamin C and any antioxidant-rich substance will be able to help with this.
For treating acne scars that are more indented and noticeable, there are many acne scar creams out there that contain ingredients which will encourage your skin cells to produce faster. They may even gradually burn or peel off the top layer of your skin, which sounds extreme. However, this will encourage the healthy, new cells underneath to push towards the top and fill out your acne scars. Ingredients like glycolic and lactic acid, vitamin E and benzoyl peroxide are some of the most common acne scar correctors.
Natural remedies for acne scars
If you’re looking for something that might be a bit more gentle on the skin, then a natural remedy might be a better option for you.
Generally, natural remedies will work slower than over the counter and prescription medicines as they are not as aggressive. So, if you’re willing to stick at it then your skin will definitely reward you in the end. Another important point is that natural remedies are best for mild to moderate acne scarring due to their gentle nature.
When it comes to treating acne scars with natural remedies, there are so many options and you might even have some of them in your pantry or fridge right now! When first trying a new natural remedy, be sure to do a spot test. Put a little of your chosen ingredient onto the inside of your elbow and behind your ear. If you’ve not experienced a bad reaction within 24 hours then you’re ready to go. If irritation occurs at anytime, cease use.
Here’s a list of the most popular remedies, why they work and how to use them:
- Tea tree oil – This has got to be one of the most popular natural remedies for acne, and it can also help to reduce the appearance of raised scarring. When using, make sure to dilute a drop of tea tree oil with 10-12 drops of a carrier oil such as coconut oil and dab with a cotton wool bud over your scarring each night, leaving it overnight.
- Coconut oil – This amazing superfood contains lauric and fatty acids that like to kill acne bacteria and get rid of pesky free radicals that cause cell damage. It’s also anti-inflammatory so it’s going to reduce the redness in your scars. Use this as a moisturizer morning and night after washing your face, you should see some small results within a week but your best bet is to keep at it! After all, good things come to those who wait.
- Lemon – This cheap fruit contains vitamin C to stimulate collagen production, citric acid to remove your dead skin cells and natural bleaching super powers to lighten your scars. All you need to do is squeeze a fresh lemon and put the lemon juice on your skin every night with a cotton wool pad or bud. Careful not to get it in your eyes and be sure to wear sunscreen in the sun as the lemon juice will increase your photosensitivity. You should see results within a couple weeks!
- Aloe vera – This plant is a natural emollient full of vitamins which means it will soften and smooth the skin whilst improving it’s elasticity. Go for the real deal and get yourself an aloe vera plant. Scoop the gel out of a leaf and massage the gel onto your scars a couple times a day. Leave for half an hour and then rinse it off.
- Baking soda – A simple pantry item that’s going to exfoliate your skin and encourage the growth of new, healthy cells to plump out your acne scars. To use, mix a couple teaspoons of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Then gently massage onto your scars for a couple minutes and rinse off. Simple and quick, do this daily for best results.
- Apple cider vinegar – What can’t apple cider vinegar do? It’s a natural astringent full of good bacteria, proteins and enzymes that will encourage regeneration of cells and lighten the pigmentation of your scarring. Mix a cup of apple cider vinegar with a cup of warm water and dab the mixture onto your scars with a cotton wool ball. Leave it for five minutes and then rinse off, do this daily.
These are the most popular and effective acne scars natural remedies out there but ingredients like honey, cucumber, sugarcane, other essential oils and even tomato can all help with your scarring as well. You can even try a combination of these and the remedies mentioned above to find what works best for your skin, everyone’s different – just remember to be patient and persistent!