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Here Are Some All-Natural Ways To Heal Acne Scars

That zit scar that's on your last nerve? It's easier to fade than you might think.

Beauty & Fashion

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?

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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

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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

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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

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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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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Staples.

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