Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist - Written by Mahek Chawla (Dietitian & Nutritionist) on 22nd Jan 2021
Exclusive tips to prevent and reduce acne scars or pimple marks
Acne is a skin condition that encompasses pimples, blemishes, whiteheads, blackheads, et al. and can be nerve-wracking if not treated at the right time. Some pimples and acne leave marks and scars, respectively, making it more difficult for us to forget the nightmare.
Post-inflammation, our skin might reflect some damage in terms of hyperpigmentation. Dark spots( either brown or pink) can appear on the skin when damaged by either overexposure to the sun or popping pimples. During the healing process, there's an increase in melanin, and this results in hyperpigmentation.
So today, without doing further ado, let's hop on to the preventive measures for them.
The preventive and corrective measures can also be classified into three categories:
1. Personal care :
Puberty is the most common trigger -
thus, one should always be careful during this phase to take care of the body by following a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stressless environment. Though certain body changes that occur during this period can not be controlled, what can be controlled is our response to it. Dealing with the natural changes with patience and care can help you sail through the high tides.
Lack of sleep or sleep irregularities -
we seldom consider the importance of sleep in optimal body functioning. While at rest, the body heals and repairs on its own without much effort from our end. The amount and quality of sleep are of the utmost importance when considering skin health. At the dermis level, the glands that produce sebum and the organs that secrete hormones create homeostasis for the disturbed function.
Inadequate water intake -
unlike the 18th or 19th century when people did not have enough knowledge and were hunting for the elixir of life, today the world knows what the true elixir is - WATER! Not because it quenches our thirst but because it flushes the toxins and stress built in the body. 8 to 10 glasses a day or 3 to 4 L is ideally recommended for adolescents and adults to maintain hydration and flush off the toxins.
Genetic Susceptibility -
no doubt our body works in a certain way for all individuals in every different phase of life but genes or hereditary characters have a huge impact on skin conditions and overall health. Thus there are higher chances of you having acne-prone skin if your parents had acne.
Dandruff can cause pimples -
pimples are usually caused due to excess oil production, caused by underlying factors. Dandruff also has a similar action mechanism that clogs the skin's pores, causing more oil and dead skin to accumulate. Thus dandruff exposed areas have higher chances of developing acne or pimples.
Many such personal care measures can be taken to keep the primary problem away. Scars can also be avoided if preventive measures are followed religiously. Even if acne pops up, it won't lead to severe damage.
2. Home remedies:
a very well known ingredient used in tons of products claiming to reduce pimple marks. It has been widely studied and researched for its skin lightening properties and can be used as a tested tonic for pimple marks. Though it can sting a little on application, it should be diluted with any other ingredient or a little water and used as a spot treatment. It has a high antioxidant profile and citric acid, which makes it a great ingredient.
Raw Honey -
antibacterial, antiseptic, healing, soothing, et al. are some of its attributes. Extensive studies have concluded how organic raw Honey can be beneficial in treating wounds and damaged skin surfaces. It is also used as a spot treatment if you don't want your whole face to be sticky and invite flies.
Apple cider vinegar -
ACV for fat loss, ACV for dandruff, ACV for what not! All the wonders that ACV has to offer are not some fake claims that the industry is weaving. It is truly a wonderful ingredient for acne and pimples because of its antibacterial, astringent, and lipid solubilizing ability. Its usage is so broad that it is also turned into face serums or face acids used as treatment and preventive products.
curcumin, the active component present in turmeric, is used as an age-old remedy for wound healing and repair. It beats the infection caused due to bacterial attack on the skin surface and inside the body. Turmeric paste with a few or drops of water or lemon juice can be applied as a spot treatment to fade the marks and heal the scars.
Aloe Vera -
we have said enough about how aloe vera gel is the best base ingredient for different ingredients, which is why at minimalist, we use aloe vera as the base ingredient for many face acids instead of water or any chemicals.
3. Over the counter products :
Aloe Vera -
it is a dicarboxylic face acid. Dicarboxylic indicates that it has two acid groups making it a potent ingredient. It is derived from the fungus Pityrosporum ovale and can be found in rye, wheat, and barley. This ingredient specifically targets highly active melanocytes that cause the pigmentation to post-breakouts. Studies have proved its significant action on hyperpigmentation in melasma and PIH.
Ascorbic acid -
is an acid naturally present in most citrus foods. From being an antioxidant to strengthening immunity, it plays a wide range of roles in and out of our body. This acid's primary function was synthesizing collagen, a tissue protein responsible for the firm and supple texture of your skin. Moreover, it also can reduce the functioning of melanocytes, which in turn reduces pigmentation and marks.
It can also be used daily to keep all the uncertainties at bay.
Glycolic acid -
another naturally derived face acid extensively used to fade scars and exfoliate. It is derived from various sources like milk, fruits, and sugar cane. It is highly efficient as it penetrates the innermost layer of skin, the dermis. Melanocytes that cause the pigmentation is present in this innermost layer and get activated by acne, causing bacteria, sunlight, inflammation, et al. glycolic acid is now available as concentrated face acids. It is also included in many scar fading creams and ointments.
Alpha Arbutin -
another potent ingredient or ointment you should look for when trying to fade away marks and fill in the scars. Alpha Arbutin a naturally occurring compound present in the leaves of berries and their dried parts. It is a derivative of hydroquinone, a well-known ingredient used for skin lightening effects.
The color of our skin completely depends on the amount of pigment ( melanin ) present. The enzyme responsible for activating melanocytes called tyrosinase, working on the amino acid tyrosine, has shown visible effects of change when acted upon by alpha arbutin.
Hydroquinone works on this enzyme temporarily; i.e., it shows the results only as long as it is used rigorously. Once stopped, our skin tends to retain the original shade. Alpha arbutin works with the same mechanism but has a long-lasting effect. Thus it is included in many face serums and ointments.
Hyaluronic acid -
one of the most common ingredients used as a filler for scar treatment. There are fewer evidence-based studies to claim its overall benefits, but it has shown commendable results in recent trials as a face serum. Technically it is a polysaccharide that gives a cushioning effect to different tissues by increasing moisture retention and cell production in the damaged area.
Thus regular use of hyaluronic acid on the face can also prevent acne from leaving behind scars.
Many other OTC products can be included in your daily regimen, which works in a more or less similar fashion and tries to heal the skin from within. Remember, no ingredient is a magic potent that can do wonders in a day; thus, consistent and careful use can reap the utmost benefits.
Other than these, some lifestyle modifications can be done to ensure your skin leaves no battle marks!
- A fixed cleansing routine: using a suitable cleanser to naturally subside acne that might ultimately leave a scar or mark can help you in the long run.
- Don't try to scrub off your breakouts: Trying to get rid of the acne by ripping them off can tear apart the tissue leading to scars.
- Avoid heavy makeup: especially when treating scars, to use as little makeup as possible because scar tissue tends to absorb the makeup very easily, causing more irritation.
- Don't squeeze blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples: As tempting as it might look to just even out the surface, it is equally harmful. The pore that you leave open after picking acne clogs more gunk than before.
- Eat and drink foods that have anti-inflammatory effects on your body. Internal inflammation can also aggravate the presence of scars and marks by taking more time to heal.
- Destress yourself and drink plenty of water to keep yourself plump and hydrated.
It isn't a cakewalk to treat scars that have been there for a very long time but what can be done is that prevention is better than dealing with many more skin woes.
With little changes in your lifestyle and skincare routine, you can avoid acne leaving behind anything to regret.
Using the above mentioned OTC products, face acids daily, and a DIY mask or spot treatment once a week can help.