What’s more annoying than a blemish the size of Mount Rushmore? How about the mark that it leaves behind? You know, the hyper-pigmentation that takes forever to go away or an actual scar that just simply won’t budge no matter how many creams you slather on your face? While acne can be extremely annoying, acne scars seem to be the real monster behind the madness. I mean you just dealt with this pimple for a week, that should be torture enough. Nope, dealing with the aftermath, getting rid of hyper-pigmentation, and decreasing scarring seems to be the real battle here.
How an acne scar forms
First things first, let’s talk about how an acne scar forms. Acne scars are typically the result of an inflamed blemish, cysts, pustules, and papules. Inflamed pimples occur when the blemish becomes overly pumped full of excess oil, dirt, and debris. It’s important to note that the more inflamed a blemish is, the longer it lingers on the skin, the greater the chance is of developing a scar. Most of the time non inflammed blemishes like blackheads and whiteheads will not leave a scar.
With inflamed blemishes, the pore begins to swell causing a break in the follicle wall. If the rupture is near the surface, the scarring is usually temporary and heals quickly. Serious scarring occurs only when there is a break deep in the follicle wall.
The bacteria becomes lodged deep into the dermis and spills out, destroying healthy skin tissue. To repair the damage that is done, our bodies are forced to create new collagen. These collagen fibers help to heal and mend our skin but unfortunately, the patch job never looks quiet the same as the original skin, and this my friends, is how a scar is born.
We all want to look and feel our best, and that typically doesn’t mean dealing with inflamed acne or acne scarring! Luckily there are a few things that can be done to minimize the damage done to your skin. Here are a few quick tips & tricks on preventing acne scars! (If you’re interested in products to fade hyper-pigmentation check out this article on !)
+ Find The Root Cause: It might seem obvious but finding the root cause of your acne and preventing it from ever happening in the first place is the ultimate solution to acne & acne scar free skin. Everyone’s acne stems from some deeper imbalance in their body, wether it be chronic stress, hormonal imbalances, food intolerances, digestive issues, or even an imbalanced skin pH due to harsh chemicals stripping away at your skins barrier- there’s a root cause for everyone’s acne that differs from person to person. Try working with a health professional such as a dermatologist, endocrine specialist, or even going a more holistic route to figure out what exactly is causing an imbalance in your skin. Once on the right track, it could take months, or even years to finally free yourself from the acne cycle. Don’t give up!
+ Decrease Inflammation: Because scarring occurs due to inflammation, it only makes sense to try and decrease it! Ice is your best friend, icing a pimple on and off a few times a day for about 5-10 minutes can significantly decrease swelling. Another option is to try incorporating natural inflammation fighting foods such as green tea, turmeric, cinnamon, or ginger. If you’re in a pinch you can even make your own paste of crushed aspirin and water to reduce inflammation.
+ Cortisone Shots: If you have a pretty deep, inflamed, throbbing pimple that just isn’t budging it may be time to call in the big guns. Call up your derm for a quick trip to the office for a cortisone shot! Cortisone injections reduce the chances of inflamed pimples leaving behind scarring. When done in the early stages, it helps the pimple to quickly disappear which in turn helps to decrease the risk of scarring.
+ Don’t Pick: This one should be obvious. But picking your pimple is just all sorts of no. It increases your chances of scarring, plus if you use your fingernails then your forcing more bacteria and dirt under the surface. A pimple has a contained sack of fluid with all the bacteria and other gross gunk, when you pick it this contained pustule of bacteria leaks out and spreads on your face- leading to you guessed it, more acne! Cysts develop under the surface of the skin and are meant to stay there.
Since we both know you’re probably going to pick that pimple anyways, make sure you’re sanitary! Disinfect the area using witch hazel and then (if you must) pop it using two cotton pads between your fingers. Make sure your hands are clean and disinfect the area again afterwards!
+Treat at the First Sign: Begin treating your blemishes as soon as they begin to form to decrease the chances of a scar developing! Typically people resort to some sort of benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to shed excess skin cells and unclog the pore- but if you have sensitive skin like me (my face literally cannot handle the harshness of these products) you could try giving essential oils a go! Both lavender and tea tree work just as effective as bp at reducing active acne. You can read more about that here
Feel free to leave your tips and tricks below for preventing acne scars!