Even though I don't do social media, most platforms are "open enough" to where I can tiptoe in to see what folks are talking about. Not too long ago, Yara Shahidi posted a video that I thought would be perfect for this post.
I am very open about the fact that I'm pretty close to being a fully recovered control freak (praise the Lord!). But if there's one area of my life, where I know that I still have a little bit of fine tweaking to do, it's when it comes to popping zits. Ugh. Nothing irks me more than to have a tiny mound staring at me (especially if it's already come to a head). Every time I notice one, 8 times out of 10, I tell myself that I'd rather deal with the scab and scar than a hill of sebum and puss. That is until the scar arrives, and it takes longer to fade than I estimated.
So yeah, let me start this off with, if you want to significantly decrease your chances of getting an acne scar in the first place, it's important that you avoid picking at your zits as much as possible. But, if like me, you have moments when you absolutely cannot resist the urge (I need someone to start a support group for us), here are some all-natural ways to fade out your acne scars so that you can have clear, smooth and flawless skin…(hopefully) again.
What Causes Pimples in the First Place?Season 3 Omg GIF by NETFLIX Giphy
OK, so before we get into how to heal acne scars, how about we discuss what causes unsightly pimples in the first place. Basically, we all have around five million pores, with 20,000 alone being on our face (some of us have larger pores than others, by the way).
Each pore consists of a hair follicle and sebum (natural oil that keeps our skin moisturized). When dirt, dead skin cells and/or bacteria fills up our pores and/or we produce more sebum than a particular pore can actually handle, that pore becomes inflamed and clogged, which makes it impossible for sebum to release from the pore on its own. This creates a build-up of sebum and, if the pore is infected, pus too.
Certain things that can trigger breakouts include excessive sweating, not properly cleansing or exfoliating the body, hormonal shifts, various medications and even genetics.
When You Pick Them, This Is Why They Scab Over
I am 46 and I still get pimples from time to time (sigh). Again, I wish I could say that I don't try to pop them whenever they arise, but sometimes they are simply too irritating to ignore. The reason why zits really should be left alone is because oftentimes pimples will go down within 5-7 days (it takes significantly longer if they are infected or cysts). And when they heal on their own, that can reduce the risk of us popping them. That's a good thing because popping pimples tends to damage the skin that's around the zit itself. Plus, popping them can also result in other pimples forming, thanks-but-no-thanks to the bacteria from the first pimple spilling into other pores. One more thing—popping zits usually creates a bit of a wound and wounds typically scab over. Hence, the phrase "pimple scabs".
How a Scab Leads to a Scar
If you're like me and there are moments when you absolutely can't fight the urge to not pop a pimple, it's important that you wait until it comes to a complete head, that your hands are clean and that you don't apply so much pressure that you A) bruise the skin around the zit or B) you end up bringing blood to the surface. When that happens, it's a telling sign that you've gone too far and that can most certainly lead to a pimple scab. What's that?
A pimple scab is simply what happens when a zit is trying to heal itself after the damage we caused by picking at it in the first place. Problem is, sometimes we end up picking the scab as much as the pimple—and that is what, 9 times outta 10, will lead to a scar.
That's the bad news. The good news is that our skin is far more resilient than we typically give it credit for. So, with the help of time and some of the all-natural remedies that I've got for you below, there's a good chance that, with some patience and consistency, the scar will become a thing of the past.
7 All-Natural Ways to Heal an Acne-Related Scar
Shea Butter. Let me tell it, shea butter is one of the best things that Mother Nature has to offer! There really is no time or space to get into all of the reasons why you should get yourself a tub of it. For now, I'll just say that, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and collagen-promoting properties, if you gently rub it onto your acne marks every night, you will notice that they are smoother and lighter within, I'd say about three weeks or so. (A tip is to make sure to get some unrefined shea butter. It's got the most nutrients in it.)
Raw Honey. It always trips me out that something that tastes as sweet as honey has so many health benefits. When it comes to your skin specifically, its antibacterial and antiseptic properties make it able to thoroughly clean your pores as it moisturizes too. Honey can also help to fade acne marks if you apply it directly on your acne marks, 2-3 times a week for 20 minutes at a time. If you want to see results faster, go with manuka honey; it's got a potent amount of anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that will help to speed up the healing process.
Aloe Vera Gel. Aloe Vera is awesome. If you use it on your skin, it's a great moisturizer; it contains antimicrobial and antiseptic that helps to heal any minor wounds your skin may have (like popped pimples); it's got polysaccharides and gibberellins that encourage the growth of new skin cells, and it also contains vitamin C and E which promotes the growth of collagen and softens the appearance of acne scars. Just make sure to apply 100 percent pure Aloe, every night, in order to get best results. (It takes 2-4 weeks for noticeable fading to occur.)
Baking Soda. There are two really good reasons to use baking soda on any acne scars that you might have. First, the tiny granules in baking soda makes it an unmatched exfoliant. Second, the properties in baking soda are able to help to keep the pH level of your skin balanced. These two things, working together, makes it one of the cheapest-yet-still-totally-effective ways to make your acne marks go away. Just rub about a teaspoon of baking soda on your damp skin and gently massage. In a couple of weeks, you should notice a real difference.
Sulfur Soap. In the article "All-Natural Ways To Get Your Skin Ready For Spring", something that I made sure to shout-out was sulfur soap. When I tell you that this one thing alone TOTALLY changed the game when it comes to the quality of my skin? My only regret is that I didn't discover it sooner than I actually did. On the acne fighting tip, sulfur dries up excess sebum while also exfoliating dead skin cells that can lead to clogged pores. And, since it's also an exfoliant, it can gently remove the layers of skin that are scar tissue, so that new skin can be revealed (usually in a couple of weeks).
Lavender and Coconut Oil Blend. Coconut oil is packed with fatty acids; acids that work along with antimicrobial properties to help to clear up skin infections, reduce inflammation, moisturize dry skin, heal wounds and increase moisture which can soften the appearance of your acne scars. If you add to coconut oil some lavender essential oil, the properties in lavender can help to kill acne-causing bacteria and also lighten the areas of your skin that may be darker due to acne scars. Add a drop of the lavender oil to a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil and then apply the oil directly onto your acne marks every night. Two weeks of this should lead to semi-impressive results.
Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is a potent astringent that, thanks to its astringent and antibiotic properties, it can help to balance and even your skin tone. It also has acetic acid in it; that's an acid that helps to inhibit the growth of bacteria, including the kind that causes breakouts in the first place. A combination of two parts distilled water with one-part apple cider vinegar will create a toner that will cleanse your pores and yes, start to fade your acne spots.
Trust me, I get that acne scars are a real culprit when it comes to letting your natural beauty show. But if you're down to give one of these remedies a shot, I can almost guarantee that your skin will start looking and feeling amazing again—at least until that next pimple creeps up (ugh!).
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