This article looks at the best ways to heal acne scars naturally for those wanting a safer, healthier alternative to harsh, invasive procedures. These tips will help reduce marks and scars left behind from acne.
The best way to heal acne scars naturally, without a doubt, is to give your skin all the lovely nutrients it needs to prevent a scar from forming in the first place AND DON’T PICK! You know the saying prevention is better than cure? Well that saying couldn’t be more spot on when it comes to scarring!
How to heal acne scars naturally
Treating the scar while it’s relatively fresh is the best option to achieve optimum results – which is why I’m also sharing my recipe for my “MSM & Green Tea Facial Mist” to banish oily skin, clear acne and fade scars/hyperpigmentation!
Old scars are much more tricky to remove completely and often require some form on additional treatment on top of skincare – treatments such as needling, micro-dermabrasion and LED light therapy are popular choices for improving scar tissue, but I’ve read tonnes of testimonials praising the effects of MSM powder too – even on old scars!
One thing you must bear in mind when treating acne scars naturally is that improving the texture of your skin needs patience! Don’t give up on your regime after a few days, or even a few weeks! Treating and healing damaged skin can take weeks, even months before you see a dramatic difference.
Types of acne scars:
Not all scars are the same and different types need a different approach when it comes to treating acne scars naturally.
Rolling acne scars:
Rolling scars are common for those who have suffered from inflammatory acne in the same place for a prolonged period of time. They’re more common on the cheeks and tend to become more pronounced as the skin ages and starts to loose its elasticity. Rolling scars can often be treated effectively and treatments such as red LED light therapy, micro-dermabrasion and derma-rolling can produced really positive results if you’re looking to speed up the skins healing process.
Box car acne scars:
Box car scars are more defined than rolling scars, they have steep edges which makes them quite hard to smooth out into the surrounding areas of skin.
Shallow box scars may see improvement from the same treatments as rolling scars.
Ice pick acne scars:
Ice pick scars, as their name suggests, look like deep pricks in the skin and can can often be mistaken for enlarged pores. Unfortunately, these scars are the hardest to treat as they tend to be very deep but patience and a nourishing beauty regime will help to minimise these types of scars.
Treatments to heal acne scars naturally
Derma rolling / Dermapen / Derma needling / Collagen induction therapy (CIT)
This method is by far my favourite way to reduce all types of scars! This treatment involves a small needled tool that pricks the dermis to help stimulate collagen and elastin production. By creating these tiny controlled traumas to the skin, the body will rush to repair the damage, which in turn helps to rebuild the skin. At the same time, scar tissue is ‘tricked’ into dividing and is gradually broken down. This treatment isn’t an instant fix, it can take up to 6 months to a year before full results are seen. Because increased collagen production continues for a long time after the final derma roller treatment, skin improvement continues for up to 12 months post treatment – so don’t be disheartened if the immediate results aren’t what you expected. This treatment may sound painful but even though derma rolling punctures the skin hundreds of times, the skin returns to normal within minutes after the procedure if using needles under 0.75mm.
I’m currently undergoing monthly Dermapen treatments to help reduce my own scars. Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see how successful my treatment is!
Microdermabrasion for acne scarring
Microdermabrasion is a non-chemical, non-invasive procedure that uses a spray of microcrystals to remove the outermost layer of dry, dead skin cells to reveal healthier-looking skin. Microdermabrasion softens fine lines and wrinkles, helps to smooth out shallow scars and can help decrease the appearance of large pores.
There are ‘microdermabrasion’ available for home use but they probably aren’t going to be effective enough for acne scarring. For this treatment it is highly recommended to see a professional if you want to achieve the best results.
It’s important to remember that Derma Rolling/Needling/CIT/Microdermabrasion must only be attempted once there is absolutely no active acne left! However, if you want to achieve the best results that don’t cost a fortune, then my advice is to nourish and repair the skin so scars don’t form in the first place! There are ways of prevent scarring from happening altogether so you won’t need to look at the more expensive, invasive procedures once your acne clears up.
Sticking to a natural and organic, cold-pressed oil based beauty regime will go a long way to keeping your skin healthy and nourished, despite the acne breakouts and by following beauty tricks such as the Oil Cleansing Method you’re giving the skin all the love it needs to heal properly. However, there are certain skin-healing ingredients and methods you can add to your current regime if you’re wanting to focus on healing acne scars naturally. Check out this post on skin healing essential oils.
LED light therapy for acne scarring
Light therapy is clinically proven to be an effective, natural treatment for acne scars – blue light kills the bacteria that cause acne, while red light reduces inflammation and heals the skin. In trials, patients showed a significant – more than 70% – improvement in their skin! Great news!
Whilst the blue light fights acne-causing bacteria, red light reduces inflammation, redness and swelling, speeds clearing, helps prevent new scars, and helps reduce the appearance of existing scars making light therapy an excitingly effective, scientifically and clinically proven treatment that speeds the skin’s natural healing process and efficiently prevents scarring. Like all other scar healing treatments, light therapy isn’t going to work overnight – but many people see improvements within 4 weeks and drastic improvements within 12!
I’ve not tried a red LED light for scarring but I do own this blue LED acne clearing light from Tria and can confirm that LED light treatment is a great way of clearing acne without the use of drugs or harsh chemicals. I’ve tried other brands such as Lumie and Tanda and the results were no where near as effective as my Tria device. This LED light and my facial steamer are by far my two favourite at-home acne gadgets. It may seem like an expensive product but it really does work and the replacement cartridges are no more expensive than a new cleanser or serum!
Aloe Vera gel for skin healing
Aloe Vera Gel is fantastic for healing the skin and treating acne scars naturally. The gel inside the leaves of the plant are rich in healing nutrients which can help to prevent scarring from the beginning of the wounds healing process.
If you have an Aloe plant at home, you can simply cut a limb off, cut it in half lengthways and scoop the gel out from inside but be careful not to get any of the green skin into your gel and this part of the plant can be irritating to the skin. Other options are store-bought Aloe Vera gel – just make sure you look for one with organic ingredients and as little nasty preservatives as possible – this is the best one I’ve found. The final option it to purchase powdered Aloe Vera gel and re-hydrate it again with distilled water – this is a good option if you’re trying to go as natural as possible – but you will need to make a fresh batch every week. Oh, and don’t be confused when the Aloe Vera gel is all watery when using this method – that’s totally normal, but it DOES make you wonder how they make the fake gel consistency in the store bought stuff right?! Anyway, I quite like the watery consistency, I keep mine in a spray bottle that I can spritz over my face twice a day like a toner!
On a side note, I don’t know about you – but during my acne healing I sometimes get REALLY itchy skin!? It seems to be consistent with blemishes healing…does anyone else get this? Anyway – the aloe vera REALLY helps with this itchiness!
MSM for acne scars
MSM is an excellent source of natural sulphur. Sulphur is vital for healthy, plump skin as it aids in the development of collagen and keratin. For optimum results you can take MSM internally and topically for acne scars. To take it internally you simple mix it with your favourite smoothie or juice but do start off with a small amount and work your way up to 1tsp a day as it’s quite a powerful detoxifier so may give you a detox reaction if you use too much too soon! To apply externally you can make up my easy MSM & Green Tea Toner recipe or just mix some MSM powder with your favourite moisturiser (it must be a water-based moisturiser otherwise the powder wont dissolve.)
While there’s no scientific evidence that MSM can speed up scar healing, there is SO much anecdotal evidence and tonnes of great reviews on using MSM powder for acne scars and as it’s pretty cheap, it could be your answer to smoother skin without having to spend a fortune on treatments such as micro-needling or dermabrasion – although if you have very deep scars, then you may have to look into something like micro needling or derma stamping to reduce the appearance of more severe scarring.
MSM is also a great detoxifier and is a fab supplement to take internally to boost liver function and increase production on essential skin clearing antioxidant – glutathione!
Exfoliation for acne scars
Regular, gentle exfoliation is a key step in helping reveal fresher, healthier skin whilst also increasing blood circulation to the skin which will help speed up healing and repair. I prefer to exfoliate with chemical exfoliators (fruit acids/salicylic acid etc), a gentle bamboo cloth or a Konjac sponge rather than an abrasive scrub as abrasive scrubs can cause micro tears in the surface which results in damage, bacteria overgrowth and irritation/inflammation.
Fruit enzyme exfoliation mask for hyper-pigmentation
Applying a face mask containing fruit enzymes Bromelain and Papain (found in Pineapple and Papaya) is a great way to smooth out uneven and congested skin as the fruit enzymes possess anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties and help to break down damaged protein and fade acne marks while stimulating collagen production to help make acne scars appear less noticeable.
To make your mask simply mash up the flesh of a slice of pineapple or papaya and apply to the affected areas for 15 minutes before rinsing off. Do this every 3 days for the first 3 weeks then twice a week thereafter for clearer, plumper, healthier skin.
Please note: If you feel a burning sensation or your skin starts to feel sore or irritated whilst wearing the mask, wash it off immediately. If this happens then it’s likely that the fruit enzymes are too strong for your sensitive skin. I recommend waiting a few days and then trying again with half fruit pulp, half yogurt or kefir to dilute the mask.
Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs)
Alpha Hydroxy Acids, or AHAs, are commonly referred to as “fruit acids” as they are found in fruits and foods, e.g. lactic acid from sour milk, glycolic acid from sugar cane, malic acid from apples, tartaric acid from grapes and citric acid from citrus fruits. There are a lot of beauty products available that contain AHA’s but quite often they also contain ingredients that aren’t so skin friendly. My favourite acne-friendly, natural AHA-based product is the The Body Deli Blueberry Fusion Resurfacing Cleanser – it’s a intense cleanser and contains lactic, malic and citric acids. Personally, I like to use this Resurfacing Cleanser a couple of times a week, NOT everyday, otherwise you run the risk of damaging your skins protective barrier which can lead to breakouts.
Skin healing oils for acne scarring
Looking after your skin during breakouts is vital if you’re wanting to prevent scarring – and that includes refraining from PICKING! Many topical acne solutions dry the hell out of your skin which can wreck the protective layer of your skin, making it more susceptible to further damage. Damage = potential scarring. By simply using the Oil Cleansing Method and a facial oil blend on a daily basis, you’re helping to strengthen that protective layer whilst nourishing the skin and helping it to repair. I’ve picked out two base oils and two essential oils which are great for healing the skin!
Rosehip oil for acne scarring (base oil)
Rosehip oil is rich in Essential Fatty acids, especially omega’s 3 and 6. What’s great about Rosehip oil is that even though it’s super nourishing effects on the skin – it’s still light and dry making it the perfect option to wear under make-up as it’s not too heavy.
Helichrysum for acne scarring (essential oil)
This is a super expensive essential oil, but my word it is super-powered! Helichrysum is also know as the Everlasting Flower or Immortelle (you may recognise it from my header banner with the little ladybug on it!) these alternative names go some way to describing the powerful youth-boosting, skin regenerating properties this oil has. Although expensive, you only need a tiny tiny amount of this to help promote skin healing and regrowth of skin.
Frankincense for acne scarring (essential oil)
This essential oil is known to even out the skin tone and help to fade pigmentation scars. It also has anti-ageing properties which help to regenerate skin cells and also work to keep existing cells and tissues healthy. This oil has also been said to help reduce sun spots and micro wrinkles round the eyes and mouth. I add a few drops of Helichrysum and Frankincense to my Pai Rosehip Oil and apply just before bed!
Have you had any great results with healing your acne scars naturally? Comment below as I’d love to hear your stories!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin,