Acne, the name itself terrorizes many people, especially teenagers. With changing lifestyles, even adults are becoming prone to repeated outbreaks of acne. Surely, there are cutting edge treatment options available now, herbal or chemical both, and acne is no longer a self-esteem-killer for its victims. But acne scars are still ruling the physical and psychological distortion scene. So it is important to know more about getting rid of it effectively.
What is acne?
Acne is a commonly used name, adopted for various skin diseases caused by Acne vulgaris. It is a type of bacteria that is normally found on human skin. However its tendency to cause skin diseases is manifested most explicitly during puberty. The root cause is increase in level of testosterone in the body, leading to hyperactivity of sebaceous (oil) glands on skin.
These hyperactive oil glands secrete above average sebum, thereby providing nutrition to Acne vulgaris. The bacterium multiplies and destroys skin cells surrounding follicles and pores on skin, forming pus nodules and lesions. These skin diseases are also called pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, etc.
Why does acne leave scars?
Acne condition can last through puberty in most humans, but in some cases, people continue having acne problem well into their 30s and 40s. Varied hormone levels and sebaceous gland activities (hereditary) are directly responsible for this. The severity of acne, however, decides the type of acne scars. Most acne conditions are mild in nature leaving behind temporary scars, but cyst like or nodular acne develops into permanent scars, post healing.
A temporary acne scar heals itself completely within six months (at times it can take as long as a year, depending upon the skin type) with the help of natural shedding of skin. A permanent acne scar is the result of improper healing of the acne, with the skin layers forming over the infected follicles and the inwardly suppressed follicles with dead skin cells.
How to treat acne scars safely at home?
Treatment of acne scars can be as patience testing as the treatment of actual acne. With age and hormonal stability, actual acne may leave you alone, but the scars may haunt you forever. The remnants of acne in the form of reddish or hyper-pigmented areas on the body can break the gayest of spirits! Sometimes, the psychological effects of a less-than-perfect-skin are much more devastating to an individual than the disease itself was. Treating acne scars can take years and can cause a dent in one’s pocket, if one chooses to follow all kinds of cosmetic and clinical solutions available. However, there are some very simple and safe (not to mention, easy on the pocket) home remedies to manage acne scars.
It’s all in the diet!
The first and foremost remedy to any ailment is correcting and then maintaining one’s diet. Consuming a balanced diet, rich in healthy carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, not to forget fiber, improves body’s immunity against various diseases by about 50%. Also there are certain types of foods that encourage sebum secretion and raise body temperature on the whole, creating breeding grounds for bacteria. So it is best to avoid them. These may include fatty foods, excessively oily or spicy foods, junk food etc.
The ultimate home made paste!
Next step is to treat the scarred area with care, in order to initiate the scar removal. An age-old mixture of natural ingredients, right out of ‘grandma’s healthy tips book’, is that of black grams (ground) and sandalwood powder mixed in equal proportions. This mixture is then converted into a paste by adding rose water (for very oily skin types) and milk (optional/for normal to dry skin types). Applying the paste before bedtime and leaving it overnight, washing away in the morning, completes the process. Over time, with repeated application, not only the existing acne scars fade, but new acne also develop less frequently.
Other kitchen sponsored remedies
There are many food products available in the kitchen itself that can help one treat acne as well as acne scars. Yogurt, for instance, naturally exfoliates the skin pores and removes dirt particles or dead cells (skin or microbial) trapped in these pores.
Similarly, cucumber juice and tomato peel are good natural cleansers for skin, removing dead skin and black heads in addition to reducing acne risk.
Oatmeal, ground corn and turmeric can also be mixed and applied as a face mask to get rid of acne breakouts. One has to be regular with its application though, as its action is mild.
A very important plant for acne scar (or just about any other skin related problems) victims is Aloe Vera. The sap of Aloe Vera (may be applied directly from the plant or can be diluted with water), if regularly applied to skin can soothe and smoothen the skin.
Honey is yet another natural product that contains enzymes, helpful in removing scarred skin. A mixture of honey and lemon juice can suppress erupting acne if applied for 15-20 minutes.
Chemical as well as natural peel options are easily available in the market these days. One doesn’t have to visit a dermatologist and shell out big money to get rid of acne scars. These peels need to be applied on the face for 15-90 minutes, depending upon the chemical composition of the peel and skin type of the user. A facial peel works on the principle of ‘peeling’ away layers of skin that have scars, discoloration and other aberrations; leaving behind smoother skin. Facial peels are also useful in getting rid of wrinkles, sun damage, black heads and age spots, along with acne scars.
Supplement the skin with nutrients
Supplementing skin with vitamins is a very good way to reduce acne scars. Crushing a Vitamin E capsule and massaging it on the scarred area can rejuvenate skin. Scrubbing skin on a regular basis also speeds up the process of dead skin layer removal. Also avoiding excessive exposure to the sun, and not touching the scarred area constantly helps in better healing.
Lastly, in case the scars still persist, it is prudent to resort to medicinal options available in the market. Dermatologists commonly prescribe colloidal silver, Benzoyl peroxide, topical and oral retinoids, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory options, to people suffering from acne. Ultimately, it is all about keeping heart and wearing off acne scars sooner than they can wear you off!