As if acne isn’t bad enough, some of us are left with acne scars afterwards.
It is said that acne affects 80% of people at some time in their life. It is not only a teenage problem; adult acne is common too.
Why do we get acne?
Although the exact cause of acne in each individual varies and is fairly unknown, contributing factors are hormones, clogged pores and bacteria.
Simply put, acne can be described as inflamed or infected oil glands. Sebum (oil) secreted by your skin’s sebaceous glands and dead skin clogs pores, and results in dreaded acne.
Furthermore, there are other factors that can aggravate the condition. Stress, environmental pollutants, certain steroid medications and oily or unsuitable skincare products can cause flare-ups and make your acne worse.
What causes acne scars?
There are many forms of acne that could be categorised as follows:
Minor pimples such as whiteheads and blackheads fall within the non-inflamed category. These don’t leave lasting acne scars.
Inflamed acne includes papules that are pink, tender bumps and pustules that are red, tender bumps with puss on top. Nodules are larger, more painful and feel like they are situated deep in the skin. Lastly, cysts are the most severe form of inflamed acne. They are deep, painful and filled with puss.
These types of acne can leave scars, skin discolouration and blemishes, with cystic acne being the major culprit. Scarring happens when the skin pore becomes inflamed as a result of infection and/or clogging. The pore swells to a point where the follicle walls rupture.
In some instances, the rupture is close to the skin’s surface and able to heal quickly. Where the follicle rupture is deep and skin tissue is destroyed, the scarring will be more severe.
What you can do about your acne scars
The key to reducing scars is to treat them as soon as they appear. Older scars are harder to treat. In a previous blogpost called How To Heal Scars Faster, we describe in detail how the skin heals and the steps to take to minimise scarring during the wound healing process. We recommend you read it.
We now give you some effective ways to reduce your acne scars and blemishes, easily and naturally:
Gentle skin care
Be very gentle with healing skin and scars. Avoid further damage and the possibility of leaving permanent marks. Don’t pick or fiddle with your skin. After your morning and evening skincare routine, let your skin get on with regenerating and don’t interrupt the process.
Tee Trea oil
Tea tree oil is a popular remedy for people with acne-prone skin and rightly so. As a powerful antiseptic, it has long been used as a remedy for bacterial skin infections. If you have wounds caused by acne, it is important to keep the wounds clean and encourage healing to minimise scars. Tea tree oil will reduce redness and inflammation, and prevent further breakouts.
You can simply mix a few drops of tea tree oil with your cleanser, or use our Clear Skin Gel. It is a soothing and purifying antimicrobial gel, with tea tree oil, to help keep bacteria away and allow the skin to heal.
Stick to a healthy diet
Eat healthy food. Foods rich in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids will help strengthen your skin and provide the needed nutrients to produce new skin cells during the healing process. If your skin is tired or sluggish, scars and blemishes won’t heal optimally and your skin’s immunity can be compromised. Furthermore, a deficiency in zinc, vitamin C and essential fatty acids can leave your skin vulnerable to breakouts and blemishes. And remember to keep hydrated by drinking lot of water.
After your skin has healed, you can help fade your scars by exfoliating regularly with a non-irritating, environmentally-safe and very gentle exfoliator. It will help you achieve an even and smooth skin. Exfoliating helps lift off dead skin and promotes new growth. Never over-exfoliate though!
Aloe vera is known as the “medicinal” aloe. Applying the fresh gel extract directly to your acne scars will soften skin and provide a potent combination of vitamins and minerals to help reduce scars and fade blemishes.
No fresh aloe available? No problem. Our Revive Moisturiser contains a high concentration of aloe vera to help accelerate new skin formation. Aloe vera also absorbs easily and draws the beneficial qualities of other ingredients in with it. Read our blogpost called Aloe Penetrates Skin Four Times Faster Than Water… So What?, to find out more.
To improve the appearance of scars and blemishes, your skin needs moisture. Coconut oil is a highly nourishing skin-food and is a good skin conditioner. The high concentration of fatty acids in coconut oil reduces inflammation and encourages skin repair. The vitamin E content, a potent antioxidant, helps to protect the skin from free radical damage. Antimicrobial properties helps to protect the skin against further infections.
If the oil is too heavy for your skin, wash it off after about 30 minutes with a natural cleanser. Another option is to use our Revive Moisturiser as a facial cream for day and night, or the African Potato Cream on your body. Both products contain an effective amount of coconut oil to help heal scars and blemishes.
What else to keep in mind?
Remember, acne scars and blemishes can be avoided by taking steps to reduce acne in the first place. Acne, in most instances, is an internal problem that is expressed externally. Healthy lifestyle choices, such as an anti-inflammatory and nutritious diet, exercise and hydrating regularly can help reduce flare-ups. Furthermore, having a clean pillowcase and cellphone will help keep the acne at bay and prevent it from spreading or getting worse.
If your acne scars and blemishes are severe, we recommend you consult a holistic health practitioner who can help you navigate the safe use of natural products versus medications and treatments such as laser therapy. They will also be able to advise you on implementing lifestyle habits to improve skin health and accelerate skin cell regeneration.