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How to Get Rid of Acne Scars Naturally: 4 Ingredients for Clear Skin

How to Get Rid of Acne Scars Naturally: 4 Ingredients for Clear Skin

by Antoinette Barnardo 22 Apr 2020

After battling with a breakout, the last thing you'll want to deal with is acne scarring. The textural changes on your skin can be as difficult to treat as the breakout itself, if not even more so. You may have tried numerous creams and lotions to get rid of the acne scars to no avail.

Instead of bowing down in defeat, why not try natural remedies for your acne scars? In this article, we will show you how to get rid of acne scars naturally. Read on to find out more about banishing acne marks for good.

How Does a Breakout Lead to Scarring?

Acne vulgaris is classified as an inflammatory skin condition from the start to the end. It can appear as:

  • Open comedones: These are commonly known as blackheads.
  • Closed comedones: Little flesh-colored bumps that are often referred to as whiteheads.
  • Papules: Inflamed blemishes that appear as tiny pink or red bumps.
  • Pustules: These look similar to papules but are filled with pus instead.
  • Cysts: When pustules turn hard and painful, they become cysts which can lead to cystic acne.

Propionibacterium acnes bacteria further drives the inflammatory process. A 2014 study in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology also highlighted that all acne lesions are inflammatory, even blackheads and whiteheads.

Additionally, breakouts are often accompanied by post-inflammatory erythema (PIE) or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Despite the term "post-inflammatory," these two symptoms can be observed from the beginning to the end of the acne life cycle.

So how does a pimple eventually lead to a scar? It's mainly due to the picking and squeezing of the pimple. These actions damage the skin and surrounding blood vessels, resulting in acne scarring.

Types of Acne Scars 

Acne scars are divided into three main categories:

1. Atrophic Scars

Atrophic scars are characterized by a loss of collagen, creating depressions in the skin. They can be further divided into:

  • Boxcar scars: These acne marks are round or oval with sharp distinct edges. Boxcar scars also range from shallow (0.1-0.5 millimeters) to deep (more than 0.5 millimeters).
  • Ice pick scars: Narrow (less than 2 millimeters) and deep, ice pick scars stretch into the inner layer of the skin. These scars are also resistant to many skin-resurfacing treatments, making them difficult to treat.
  • Rolling scars: These are formed when the dermis becomes abnormally attached to the subcutis. Shallow and wide in appearance, rolling scars create a wave-like, undulating texture on the skin.

2. Hypertrophic Scars

Hypertrophic scars are pink and raised acne scars. They are formed when injury and inflammation of the skin trigger collagen overproduction.

3. Keloid Scars

Just like hypertrophic scars, keloid scars are also raised scars. However, keloid scars are reddish-purple in appearance and stretch beyond the site of the acne lesion.

4. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)

PIH is flat skin discolorations that may vary from red to pink or brown. While PIH is technically not an acne scar, it's often caused by inflammation during a breakout. PIH can also happen when you pick or squeeze a pimple. The discoloration may further darken with sun exposure.

In general, atrophic scars and PIH are the most common types of acne marks. They also usually appear on the face. In contrast, hypertrophic and keloid scars tend to occur on the chest and shoulders of dark-skinned individuals. One thing to note is that you may experience more than one type of acne scar, which further adds to the difficulty of treating them.

How to Get Rid of Acne Scars Naturally With 4 Ingredients

Acne scarring is often a difficult issue to treat. However, you can try these four natural remedies to help lessen the appearance of scars.

1. Lemon Juice 

Lemon juice is rich with vitamin C. This vitamin is a gold-star ingredient in addressing skin concerns like hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. More importantly, vitamin C can help reduce the appearance of scars.

A 2017 study published in the Nutrients Journal explained that vitamin C promotes collagen production and dermal fibroblasts level. This helps to speed up the healing process of acne marks.

Also, vitamin C is known to discourage melanin synthesis by interfering with the key enzyme tyrosinase. Since lemon juice contains high levels of vitamin C, it's ideal for lightening hyperpigmentation and dark spots.

How to Get Rid of Acne Scars With Lemon Juice

  • Slice a fresh lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a small jar. Then, add equal parts water to dilute the mixture.
  • Soak a clean cotton ball in the mixture and wring out the excess. Dab the wet cotton ball on your acne scars and let the juice sit on your skin for 5-10 minutes.
  • Afterward, rinse the area with water. Remember to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 and above to minimise sensitivity to the sun.

You can repeat this process as frequently as needed. Do note that some side effects of lemon juice may include stinging, redness, or dryness. As such, it's recommended to patch-test before putting it on your face.

2. Rosehip Oil 

Rosehip oil is derived from the berries of the dog rose plant, Rosa canina. Rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A, rosehip oil boosts your skin's collagen production to regenerate the skin and heal acne marks.

This is supported by a 2015 study in the Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences, and Applications. It showed that applying pure rosehip seed oil twice a day visibly improved the appearance of post-surgical scars. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory properties of rosehip oil helped to fade away discoloration while minimizing the appearance of hypertrophic scars.

Rosehip oil is also rich in linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid — essential fatty acids that acne-prone skin types are lacking. Since both acids promote skin barrier repair and protect against inflammation, rosehip oil is the must-have natural remedy in your skincare arsenal.

Lastly, a 2015 study in the Journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging suggests applying rosehip oil and consuming rosehip powder for added effectiveness.

How to Get Rid of Acne Scars With Rosehip Oil and Powder

  • For topical application: Apply 2-3 drops of 100% pure rosehip oil on blemishes and gently massage it into the skin. Make sure the rosehip oil is housed in dark-colored packaging to prevent oxidation.
  • For oral consumption: Mix 2-2.5 grams of rosehip powder in boiling water and drink it as a beverage.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another amazing natural remedy that not only stops breakouts but also treats leftover acne marks.

Containing lactic acid and malic acid which are incidentally alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), apple cider vinegar has natural exfoliating properties. This helps to clear away dead skin cells that clog pores and speed up the natural cell turnover rate. As such, apple cider vinegar prevents pimples while lightening acne marks for clearer skin.

Based on a 2010 study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, a chemical peel containing 92% lactic acid has been proven to lighten hyperpigmentation and superficial scars. This suggests that the consistent use of apple cider vinegar can help improve the appearance of scars over time.

How to Get Rid of Acne Scars With Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Mix one part of apple cider vinegar with three parts of water.
  • Soak a clean cotton ball in the mixture before dabbing it on acne scars. Let the mixture sit on your skin for 10-20 seconds.
  • Wash your face with lukewarm water before gently drying it with a towel.

To further boost the scar-removing properties of apple cider vinegar, try adding a few drops of honey or tea tree oil to the mixture. Honey and tea tree oil have antibacterial properties to prevent future breakouts and acne marks.

Since apple cider vinegar can potentially irritate the skin, it's advisable to patch-test it first, particularly for sensitive skin types.

4. Aloe Vera 

Aloe vera is a botanical extract widely known for its soothing and healing properties. It contains vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamins B (B1, B2, B6).

Additionally, the leaves of the aloe vera plant consist of mucilage tissue. A 2015 study in the Journal of BioMed Research International explains that mucilage has glycoproteins and polysaccharides to aid in wound healing. More importantly, mucilage also increases collagen content at the wound site. This helps the acne lesion to heal faster and better, minimizing the chances of scarring.

A 2013 study in the Journal of Caring Sciences also discovered that the use of an aloe vera ointment significantly decreased tissue redness and swelling in women who had undergone an episiotomy — a surgical cut of the tissue between the vagina and anus during childbirth. As such, aloe vera is indeed a powerful natural remedy that can quicken the skin's healing process.

How to Get Rid of Acne Scars With Aloe Vera

  • Cut 2-3 leaves from an aloe vera plant and trim away the thorns.
  • Slice open each leaf along its length.
  • Scoop out the gel into a blender, and blend it for a smoother texture. This makes it easier to apply the aloe vera gel on your blemishes.

If you don’t have an aloe vera plant at home, you can still make do with store-bought options — just make sure it’s 100% pure aloe vera gel. This way, it’s more convenient and you will still reap the same amazing benefits of the plant. For added effectiveness, keep your aloe vera gel in the refrigerator. The cooling sensation will not only feel lovely on your skin but also enhance the soothing effect of the gel.

Besides using aloe vera gel as a spot treatment or moisturiser for acne marks, you can also turn it into a face mask. Mix the aloe vera gel with 2-3 drops of lemon juice if you're looking to brighten your complexion. Alternatively, mix aloe vera gel with honey to help soothe sensitive skin.

2 Alternative Treatments for Acne Scars 

Despite trying out these natural remedies, there may be some stubborn acne scars that just won't go away. This is particularly true for atrophic scars. In these instances, you may want to visit your dermatologist to learn about other available treatment options. Some common acne scar treatments include:

1. Chemical Peels

Apart from treating acne, chemical peels are equally effective in dealing with leftover acne scars. These peels often use acids like trichloroacetic acid (TCA), glycolic acid, and salicylic acid to resurface the skin. Between 35% and 100% TCA has been proven to treat atrophic scars successfully, per a 2012 study in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery.

2. Microneedling

Microneedling is often used for atrophic and hypertrophic scars. It involves rolling thin micro-needles (1.5-2 millimeters) into the affected area. The resulting skin damage triggers elastin and collagen production to smooth out the skin.

According to a 2009 study in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, significant improvement in rolling scars was observed after only two microneedling sessions. Moreover, no negative side effects were experienced after the treatment.

Other Good Skincare Habits to Follow:

  • Exfoliate regularly: To improve the appearance of scars, exfoliating regularly will aid in cell turnover rate to reveal new, healthy skin. Include the YORA Clarify Face Mask in your skincare routine to lightly exfoliate your skin with salicylic acid and bamboo beads. The added Australian white clay and activated charcoal will also help unclog pores and prevent future breakouts.
  • Apply sunscreen: We've mentioned earlier that sun exposure can cause your acne marks to darken. To prevent this from happening, use a sunscreen with SPF 30 and above every day.
  • Eat healthily: Breakouts and acne scarring can be avoided in the first place by eating healthily. To find out which acne-clearing foods you should consume, be sure to check out: The Clear Skin Diet

Don't Give Up Hope on Your Acne Scars

Acne scarring is often a tricky issue to deal with, even among dermatologists. Yet, there are many proven natural remedies to fight your blemish battles. For more stubborn cases, try in-office treatments like chemical peels and microneedling.

The bottom line is to not give up hope on treating your acne scars. Give each scar treatment a go to see which works best for you. While acne scarring may be difficult to tackle, it's definitely not impossible.

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