We all know we’re not supposed to pop pimples and pick and scratch at acne – but what about the damage that has already been done?
Teenagers often fail to adequately take care of their skin. This includes bad habits (like popping pimples) that can lead to scarring later in life. For people who suffered moderate to severe acne, these scars can be very noticeable.
And the last thing you want as an adult (hopefully with now minimal acne), is to have scars that constantly remind you of your pimply years. Keep reading to learn more about how to reduce scars with natural remedies and drugstore products.
Why do scars form?
Severe acne breakouts can actually damage the tissue beneath your skin. When the pimples fade, your body produces collagen to repair the damage. If your body produces too little or too much collagen, it can form a scar.
Discouraged pimple inflammation scars forms when the body doesn’t produce enough collagen.
Raised pimple inflammation scars forms when the body produces too much collagen.
Other reasons for acne scarring include:
- Presence of oil: too much oil can make it hard for your skin to breathe. Oil clogs up pores and impedes the body’s natural healing process.
- Bacteria: bacteria love to grow around hair follicles. This can cause yellow/red lesions to form.
- Dead skin cells: the oil glands on your face produce sebum (oil), which lubricates the skin. When your skin produces too much oil, dead skin cells accumulate and this can lead to scarring.
- Failure to treat acne: If you have moderate/severe acne and you don’t treat it at all, you are almost guaranteed to have scars.
Natural acne scar treatment
The formation of acne scars is somewhat dependent on genetics, meaning that even if you didn’t pick at your face you might still have pockmarks or dark spots left over from your acne.
These marks can be tricky to remove, but it is possible. Before you spend money on expensive drugstore treatments, we suggest trying out these acne scar home remedies:
Also called “Greek hayseed,” this seed has been long used to treat skin issues. Fenugreek seeds have natural antioxidant properties.
Directions: In a pan, heat 2 cups water and 2 tbsp. fenugreek seeds. Boil for a few minutes, then mash the seeds until they form a glue-like substance. When cool, apply the “glue” to acne scars. Let sit for 15 minutes; rinse with warm water.
>>Never leave fenugreek on the skin for more than 30 minutes. You can store the “glue” in the refrigerator.
2. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice contains L-asorbic acid, an astringent that effectively dries out acne inflammation. Lemons also have antibacterial properties that can prevent future outbreaks. Plus, it smells great!
Directions: Using a cotton ball, apply lemon juice to affected areas. Let sit for 30 minutes; rinse with lukewarm water. Do this once per day for 2-3 weeks. We recommend doing it just before bedtime.
>>Make sure to avoid sun exposure when using lemon juice on your skin.
3. Baking Soda & Water
Everyone has baking soda on hand. This common kitchen ingredient promotes skin shedding, which can minimize the appearance of acne scars and of current breakouts.
Directions: Mix 2 tsp. water with 2-3 tsp. baking soda until it forms a thick paste. Apply to affected areas and, using your fingers, massage in a circular motion. Let sit for 3 minutes; rinse with cool water.
>>Never leave baking soda on your skin for more than 8 minutes.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer that promotes your skin’s natural healing processes.
Directions: Place a quarter-sized dollop of coconut oil in your hand and let it sit there for a few minutes (your body heat will cause it to melt a little). Using your fingertips, rub the oil into scarred areas.
Rinse the oil off after 30 minutes (or leave it on all day if you want to); follow up with your normal face wash product.
5. Lemon Juice & Glycerin
Glycerin has powerful healing properties that can help your body recover after acne breakouts. It also has saturating properties that fight dry skin and fill small breaks in the skin for a smooth look.
Directions: Mix 3 drops of glycerin and 3 tsp. lemon juice. Apply to scarred areas. Leave on overnight (or 1 hour if you wish).
>>Those with oily skin should not leave this on for more than 30 minutes.
Scar removal products
Serums are a key element of all good skincare routines. A good serum will boost the effects of the other products you use by healing and nourishing your skin.
Serums are used to treat problems including:
- Dry skin
- Acne scars
- Dark spots
1. SkinCeuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector ($90)
Best serum for acne scarring
This product is great for fading dark spots and preventing future pigmentation problems. Ingredients include:
- Hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid: slows melanin production and prevents further hyperpigmentation
- Salicylic acid: exfoliates and has anti-bacterial properties
- Ellagic acid: reduces discoloration
>>Always make sure to use a product containing SPF as part of your morning routine.
2. Hydropeptide Purifying Cleanser ($54)
Best serum for red spots
This one is best for people with vascular acne scars (pink/red marks most commonly found on people with light skin tones). This gentle cleanser utilizes anti-bacterial salicylic acid and mandelic acid to brighten skin and decrease redness, including vascular acne scars.
Hydropeptide also reduces future breakouts and boosts healing.
3. ProActiv+ Advanced Dark Spot Correcting Serum ($47.45)
Works great under makeup
ProActiv is a trusted brand in skincare, and this serum does wonders to fade marks left behind from acne breakouts.
- Fades and lightens post-acne discoloration
- Soothes irritated skin with buckthorn
- Fades age spots, freckles, and liver spots
- Non-comedogenic; paraben-free
This product works well beneath makeup and is a great addition to the Proactiv+ 3-step system.
Doctor’s Advice: How to remove old scars
Young and superficial scars can be removed over time with treatment. For deeper scars, doctors recommend the following treatments:
- Chemical peels
- Fat injections.
- Fraxel laser
Click here to learn more about how you can tighten up sagging skin without surgery.