Unfortunately, most people have acne outbreaks sometime during their lives. When all goes well, acne will eventually heal and disappear. But if all doesn’t go well, you might find yourself facing the long-lasting remnants of breakouts every time you look into a mirror.
But all is not lost. While the best treatment is always prevention—we’ll cover more on this later—there are natural measures you can take to help heal your acne scars and reduce their appearance over time.
If acne scars are bothering you, here’s what you need to know.
Normally, hair follicles are passageways for hair and skin oils to make their way to the skin’s surface. When hair follicles—also known as pores—are clogged, that passageway gets blocked. The resulting inflammation and swelling is acne.
Your pores may be clogged for a variety of reasons. When you touch your face with your hands, for example, you may inadvertently push oil and dead skin cells down into the tiny openings. If you use moisturizers and skin products that aren’t meant for your face, your pores may clog, causing acne breakouts.
Sometimes, though, acne occurs for reasons out of our control. Many people suffer from acne during times of stress or intense hormonal fluctuations. The teenage years, the menstrual cycle, and pregnancy are all famous for causing acne because shifting hormones and stress levels wreak havoc on the skin.
If you’re a teenager, a pregnant woman, or your monthly cycle is due soon, your acne is probably normal and to be expected. If you’re well into adulthood and you experience acne breakouts that seem unusual for you, it may be a good idea to seek medical treatment to rule out an underlying hormonal imbalance or another health issue.
Acne can take many forms, from simple tiny blackheads to large, painful, and swollen nodules and cysts trapped deep under the skin. Whiteheads and blackheads are most common; respectively, these are the white, pus-filled plugs and the black oil deposits that appear occasionally even when your skincare routine is meticulous.
Left unsqueezed, and with proper treatment, small whiteheads and most blackheads won’t cause scarring. Trouble arises when you try to pick or squeeze the acne to remove pus and oil manually, or when acne begins to get larger and more cystic.
Though you might be more concerned with the surface of your skin during a breakout, the important processes are actually happening a few layers deeper.
If your acne is red, painful, or contains visible pus, those are all signs of inflammation. Your body is fighting off a miniature infection, and there’s almost always some minor trauma to the surrounding skin. Picking or squeezing your acne damages the skin further and exacerbates the inflammation, which can lead to scarring long after the active breakout clears. Large nodules or cystic acne may cause enough damage on their own to leave scars even without squeezing.
These scars may look like discolorations in your skin, such as darker pigmentation or redness that wasn’t there before. Severe acne can cause changes in your skin’s texture, resulting in lasting bumps and indentations.
Scars may gradually fade with time, or they can be permanent. Your experience will depend on several factors, such as how your skin normally reacts to scarring, whether you’ve caused excess damage by popping and squeezing your acne, and the type of acne you’re dealing with.
If you experience lasting, raised bumps (known as hypertrophic scarring) or pock marks and indentations (atrophic scarring), you should seek help from a dermatologist.
Your skin, like the rest of your body, is typically up to the challenge of healing itself without your intervention. Because popping and squeezing acne can often make matters worse instead of better, it’s best to avoid the temptation to touch your breakouts while they’re improving. In a worst-case scenario, you could introduce extra bacteria with your hands or force the infection deeper into the skin, worsening the inflammation enough to cause a deep, permanent scar.
But many people simply can’t resist the urge to pop a pimple when it shows up. Done correctly, you can extract the blockage and drain the pus gently, leading to immediate relief and a faster healing time. If you must squeeze, wash your hands thoroughly, make sure you use only gentle pressure, and stop if the blockage doesn’t come out easily. It can also help to swab the area with rubbing alcohol to prevent introducing bacteria to the surrounding parts of your face and causing additional breakouts.
Aside from squeezing, using appropriate treatments can help speed up the healing process and relieve pain and inflammation.
If you have cystic acne that is very painful and swollen, it may help to apply ice or a cooling pack to the area. You may also want to consult with a dermatologist for prescription treatments if you get severe acne regularly.
For recurring hormonal acne, early treatment can help. For example, women who break out during the week before their period can begin applying skin treatments a few days early to fight acne before it appears.
If you can’t pre-empt a breakout, you’ll still want to treat the acne as soon as possible when you notice it. The earlier you mitigate the inflammation, the less damage your skin will incur, and the fewer scars you’ll see.
Counterintuitively, choosing aggressive skincare products that use harsh scrubbing action and concentrated chemicals can be worse than not treating your acne at all. These products are too harsh for delicate, inflamed skin and may worsen scarring instead of preventing it.
If scar prevention is your priority, you may find better results opting for gentle products that work alongside your skin’s nearly miraculous ability to heal itself.
Since the best treatment is prevention, you should adopt a daily skincare routine that includes a gentle, natural cleanser. Our Green Tea Scruff Exfoliating Cleanser is a great option for lightly exfoliating away the dirt and dead skin cells on your skin’s surface and deep-cleaning the blockages out of your pores. If you have acne scars already, this cleanser’s jojoba beads will polish the surface of your skin to smooth out uneven textures and nourish the healthy skin underneath.
For more significant skin and acne scar treatment, you may want to go beyond a simple daily cleansing routine. Rosehip oils and carrot oils help repair and revitalize damaged skin. As a bonus, these products also help moisturize dry areas and reduce fine lines.
While you’re on your skin repair journey, you may opt to cover your scars and discolorations with a soothing and lightweight concealer. In addition to providing instant cover for redness and scarring, our line of concealers also contain natural, mineral sunblocks in the form of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Using this type of sun protection keeps inflamed skin and scarred tissue from becoming permanently reddened and discolored.
Preventing acne altogether can be difficult, because it often appears as a result of hormonal disruptions and other uncontrollable factors.
But keeping your face clean with a natural, gentle daily cleansing routine, applying non-comedogenic (non-acne forming) moisturizers, and avoiding touching your face will all give you an edge in minimizing acne breakouts.
Products you use on other parts of your body—in your hair, for example, or on your hands—will eventually end up on your face after a long day of mindless touches and readjustments. Because of this, you’ll want to choose your hair and skin products carefully even if you have no plans to apply them directly to your face.
Think of your acne as a systemic issue with your body rather than as a lone, isolated problem. Though you can’t easily change your hormones, you can naturally balance your body’s processes and increase its healing capabilities by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and applying stress-reduction techniques.
Treating yourself holistically in combination with our natural acne care products, rather than expecting harsh chemicals to eradicate your acne overnight, can create significant and lasting improvements in your skin.
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