As if breakouts and blemishes weren’t frustrating enough to deal with, seemingly cropping up just when you have a big event for which you won’t to look your best, sometimes they leave marks that seem to take forever to fade or, worse, become permanent. Known as acne scars, this darkening of the skin is caused by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (or discoloration) as a result of the healing process. They’re quite normal, but unfortunately not always pretty.
“Typical acne scars can be raised (when the skin over produces collagen fibers in the healing process) or pitted (when the skin under produces collagen fibers in the healing process) and happen due to either genetics, as a result of not treating the outset of the breakout or picking at the acne breakout,” explains Sarah Akram, celebrity master aesthetician based in Alexandria, Virginia.
While prevention is certainly key, there are plenty of all-natural remedies for acne scars that you can apply in the comfort of your home. In fact, many of the ingredients you may already have in your medicine cabinet or pantry! Here, skin experts share their best-kept secrets for treating acne scars the all-natural way.
6 Natural Remedies for Acne Scars
When it comes to healing the skin, few plants do it better than aloe vera, thanks to its rich supply of antioxidants that help reduce swelling and redness and natural enzymes that help fade dark spots and scars. “Aloe vera also contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities that help clear up active acne and serves as a natural astringent, removing dead skin cells and absorbing excess oil,” says Bonnie O’Brien, esthetician and co-creator of WildBloom Skincare.
While there are plenty of over-the-counter products containing aloe, nothing beats using the real plant. If you have access to one, simply scrape the inside of a leaf, apply the gooey goodness to your face and cover with plastic wrap. Leave on for 10-20 minutes then rinse thoroughly with cool water.
This yellow-gold spice is certainly having a moment, but it’s long been used for medicinal purposes as well as culinary thanks to its healing properties. “Turmeric is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties, is also antibacterial, which helps banish acne-causing bacteria, and contains a ton of antioxidants that fight harmful free radicals found in the environment,” explains Cecilia Wong, celebrity facialist and founder of Cecilia Wong Skincare in New York City.
To use on your acne scars, she recommends mixing a teaspoon of turmeric powder with organic greek yogurt, applying directly to the skin as a face mask and leaving on for 15 minutes until dry. Then, rinse with water. “You can also purée the turmeric root itself, and apply directly to affected areas, leave on for 10 minutes and then rub in a circular motion and rinse off,” she adds.
Not only is honey a natural humectant, meaning it moisturizes the skin, but it also can help with wound clearing and cleansing due to its antibacterial properties. “These antibacterial properties also work to help prevent acne infections from occurring in the first place, as well as stimulate tissue generation that aids in healing scars,” says O’Brien. “Plus, the additional nutrients and vitamins in honey will help keep your skin moisturized and glowing.”
The application here is simple: Akram suggests applying raw honey, which contains more minerals as well as antioxidants, over the scars for an hour or two before bedtime.
Most of us are familiar with baking soda use in the kitchen, as it’s a main ingredient in culinary recipes, but it also offers a whole host of benefits in other areas of health including calming indigestion, keeping the mouth clean, controlling odors and warding off acne scars.
“Baking soda balances your pH and acts as a natural exfoliator, meaning it eliminates dead skin cells and leaves you refreshed without damaging the skin around the scar,” says Akram. “Albeit messy, the best way to use baking soda for acne scars is to mix two parts water and one part baking soda, spread the resulting past onto your face and scrub.” Rinse with water.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has plenty of uses in the beauty world, thanks to the benefits it provides for your hair and skin. To name a few, apple cider vinegar serves as a facial toner, hair rinse, razor bump remedy, dandruff treatment, but bite treatment and a bruise healer, which is why it comes in handy for fighting acne scars. This is thanks to the fact that it is a natural skin resurfacing agent, meaning it can help shed dead skin cells and therefore reduce the appearance of acne scars.
Akram suggests mixing one part apple cider vinegar, one part water and a touch of honey and applying over the acne scars once a day (let it soak in for around 20-30 minutes before rinsing).
This essential oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, making it one of the top remedies for acne scars. “When applied topically, eucalyptus helps dry out blemishes without drying out the skin and irritating things further,” says Wong. “It’s much gentler than tea tree oil, but just as effective!”
She recommends making your own eucalyptus oil by adding 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to .75 oz of grapeseed or rosehip oil in an empty 1 oz bottle. Shake well before use and apply in the morning and night.81