What is an acne scar?
Approximately 80% of people between the ages of 11 and 30 years old have acne due to hormonal changes, stress, menses, oil-based cosmetics or birth control pills. However, only 5% of these people get acne scars.
Clogged pores may become reddish, swollen and painful due to a bacterial infection. Further, these acne lesions or breakouts penetrate deeply and damage underlying skin. Your skin tries to heal these lesions by forming new collagen fibers, which may leave a prominent scar or pit behind. It can be more visible when the acne clears.
What are the types of acne scars?
- Atrophic scar: This develops when there is loss of skin tissue.
- Ice pick scar: These are usually small and make noticeable holes in your skin.
- Boxcar scar: These are depressed areas that are usually round or oval with sharp edges and very similar to chickenpox scars.
- Rolling scar: These are typically seen on your lower cheeks and jaws where your skin is thicker. The indentations slope and produce uneven wavy skin.
- Hypertrophic or keloid scar: These occur when the skin produces too much collagen to heal acne wounds and causes a mass of raised tissue on the skin. It can be itchy and tender.
How do you get rid of acne scars naturally?
- Tea tree oil: This is a product derived from the Australian Melaleuca alternifolia tree that possesses antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Spot application of oil on the face may help clear comedones and even reduce scarring.
- Coconut oil: Studies have reported that coconut oil moisturizes your skin and prevents acne scars. However, if you have extremely oily skin, you should avoid applying it directly. Otherwise, it may worsen the situation. Use cold-pressed coconut oil for this condition.
- Turmeric powder: This may reduce bacterial growth due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps skin regeneration and reduces scarring.
- Margosa (neem): This has antibacterial properties that may reduce bacterial growth in skin pores.
- Aloe vera: This regulates melanin production and reduces pigmentation and discoloration.
- Apple cider vinegar: Diluted apple cider vinegar may help remove the upper layer of your skin and reduce the appearance of acne scars. However, make sure the solution is diluted well. Concentrated apple cider vinegar can further harm the face.
- Lemon and honey: Lemon is a rich source of vitamin C. Vitamin C plays a role in maintaining good skin tone. Honey is known to reduce irritation. This combination contributes to your body’s healing process and naturally moisturizes your skin and prevents excessive sebum production. Again, diluted lemon juice is recommended.
- Shea butter: This has anti-inflammatory properties that helps to reduce bacterial growth, which causes acne. It also reduces discoloration and acne scars.
To promote natural healing of acne and prevent further scarring, you must follow these tips
- Overexposure to the sun can darken your scars and make them more prominent. Wear sunblock with SPF 15 to minimize sun exposure.
- Over washing or scrubbing the skin may reduce elasticity and damage your skin. Therefore, you must avoid it.
- Don't pick at acne or pop your pimples because the bacteria in your nails or fingers may increase the risk of scar formation.
- Hydrate yourself by drinking plenty of water to flush toxins from your body and reduce the occurence of acne breakouts.
- Follow a skincare routine by washing your face and removing your makeup before going to bed.
- Avoid smoking because it may increase the risk of acne scars.
Scars may fade slightly over time, but they may not disappear. Your doctor may suggest salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid, retinoid, azelaic acid and niacinamide in creams or face washes to reduce the risk of further acne breakouts. Only use these after speaking with your doctor and making sure they don’t interfere with any prescription medications or treatments you are taking.
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