If you’re perusing the Internet in search of the best home remedies for acne scars, you’re probably thinking that life just isn’t fair. Your acne has finally cleared up. You were looking forward to the day your skin would be clear again.
But now you have dark spots on your skin – souvenirs that your acne left behind. It’s not like your acne was purposefully trying to spite you, the acne scars occurred as your body was working to repair the damage to your skin. It was working so hard that it produced an excess of melanin. An excess of melanin equals hyperpigmentation – dark skin. And, of course, the damage was exacerbated if you popped or picked at the blemishes.
The bad news is that the scars can be as unsightly and bothersome as the acne itself.
The good news is that you can send those scars on their way with inexpensive, natural remedies, especially if the scars in question are dark marks from acne, not pitted scars.
Even though bleaching creams contain harsh chemicals, it can be six months or more before you start to see results. Chemical peels are great but they can be expensive and not everyone has the stomach to try one at home. Laser treatments are expensive and not guaranteed to work.
We can learn from our ancient ancestors. There were thousands of years without the benefit of modern medicine; people depended on nature to cure them. Their remedies were pure, effective, and, for the most part, devoid of side effects. And they still are.
The best news? You’ve probably got the majority of these effective home remedies for acne scars right in your kitchen!
Raw potatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals, including chlorine, that are effective in fading acne scars. You can slice a peeled raw potato and place the slices on the scars. Or you can grate the potato and get its juice to apply to the scars.
Yet another option is to grate raw potatoes and mix it in with other DIY face mask ingredients like clay and yogurt. Potato face masks come with benefits like zapping oily skin and hydrating your face on top of lightening dark spots from acne.
Depending on the age and size of your scars, you should see a difference in four to six weeks.
Turmeric is a beautiful golden spice used in Indian cuisine. The herb plant’s stems are cut, dried, and pounded to make a fine powder. The yellow pigment, circumin, is the active ingredient with potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
You can use the root – if you’re lucky enough to find fresh turmeric – or the powder form to take advantage of turmeric’s natural skin bleaching properties. To fade your scars, you can make a mask by mixing turmeric and water. If you prefer a scrub, mix the turmeric with olive oil and chickpea flour to form a paste and apply to your face in a gentle circular motion.
Note: Turmeric can stain the skin to a slightly yellow color, but this should quickly go away so don’t freak out!
Ginger is a relative of turmeric. Both are tropical plants used as spices with healing properties in their stems. The underground stem of the ginger plant can be used fresh, powdered, dried, in oil form or as juice to treat acne scars with its natural anti-inflammatory qualities. Ginger’s great for both dark acne marks as well as red spots and hypopigmentation.
Mix fresh ginger root with raw honey and water for a mask. Cut fresh ginger into small pieces and apply directly to the scars for 5-10 minutes or until you feel the heat generated by the ginger. It is recommended that you do this no more than once a week.
Note: Ginger stings so if you have sensitive skin, you might want to skip this one.
Pumpkin, Pineapple and Papaya
Pumpkin, pineapple and papaya are packed with fruit enzymes that are exceptional exfoliants, and you can use all three to make facial masks that will fade your acne scars. Each one, however, has its own characteristics. Let’s meet them, shall we?
Pumpkin contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which increase cell turnover. The seeds contain zinc that assist in healing the skin.
The molecular structure of pumpkin is small and, therefore, it can penetrate the skin more deeply when used topically and do wonders for treating hyperpigmentation.
To make a facial mask to rid your face of scars, mix organic canned pumpkin or baked, smashed, and strained fresh pumpkin with egg white. Or get one that’s already made – Peter Thomas Roth's Pumpkin Enzyme Mask is our favorite!
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The key ingredient in pineapple is bromelain, a fruit enzyme that breaks down proteinic matter and dead cells. Pineapple increases collagen synthesis and contains vitamin C and amino acids that are skin-friendly nutrients.
Combine pineapple with Greek yogurt for an effective facial. Also, pineapple wedges will exfoliate your skin when applied directly to the dark spots. And, of course you can always get a ready-made pineapple enzyme mask.
Note: Don’t use pineapple on your face if you have open wounds, including from popped pimples. It’ll sting!
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Papaya is filled with powerful enzymes, phytochemicals and AHAs. Its key ingredient is papain, an enzyme that removes the upper layer of dead skin cells, promotes skin regeneration, and lightens the skin, reducing the appearance of acne scars.
A papaya, honey, and lemon mask is a three-prong attack on those scars.
Note: Papaya contains chitinase, which may cause an allergic reaction in people allergic to latex. If you have sensitive skin, do a patch test on your inner elbow before using on your face.
Dermabrasion removes acne scars with a rapidly rotating a wire brush or a diamond wheel with rough edges. Your skin is wounded and bleeding. In about a week, new skin grows, and it’s red or pink and that takes another ten weeks to fade.
Or you can do your own “microdermabrasion” at home. No raw wounded skin. No bleeding. No red skin. And it costs pennies. Baking soda has excellent exfoliating and anti-inflammatory properties that fade acne scars by gently removing the scar tissue layer by layer.
Make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply to your skin and leave on 20 minutes. As you rinse, very (very!) gently massage it into your skin. That’s a “no-frills” treatment. If you want to “glamorize” it some, add lavender oil for its soothing qualities and that lovely scent. Because baking soda is alkaline, you need to restore the natural PH of the skin with a toner after the treatment. Apple Cider Vinegar makes a marvelous natural toner.
Note: Use only once or twice a week. If your skin is sensitive, once or twice a month.
Aspirin and Honey Mask
Aspirin contains acetylsalicylic acid, a common ingredient in exfoliating products and an anti-inflammatory agent. Honey has antibacterial properties that reduce infections and is a natural moisturizer. Combined, they are a very effective mask to rid your skin of acne scars
Make the mask by mixing four or five uncoated, plain aspirin (don’t use Advil, Aleve, Tylenol, and the like) with a tablespoon or two of lukewarm water and honey. The honey offsets the drying effects of the aspirin. If you want to switch it up now and then, use olive oil, jojoba oil or tea tree oil in place of honey.
You’re familiar with coconut oil and olive oil, both of which moisturize and regenerate the skin. Coconut oil is almost a “one-stop shopping” product for the skin. It works well as a body oil, face wash, lip balm, and make-up remover.
Olive oil, a Vitamin E “super star,” is prized for those same qualities. But there are other natural oils – ones you possibly have not heard of yet – that trump all the average oils when it comes to skin regeneration and ridding your face of acne scars. Here are the winners…
Sea Buckthorn Oil is extracted from the seeds of the orange berries of the sea blackthorn shrub that grows in the mountainous and coastal areas of Asia and Europe.
The oil is rich in omega fatty acids that aid in alleviating inflammatory skin conditions and accelerate the healing of the dark spots left by acne.
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In the South Pacific, the tamanu tree produces fruit similar to apples. The fruit has seeds and those seeds contain the “magical” tamanu oil.
The oil contains anti-oxidant, antineuralgic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic and antioxidant properties. It also contains a number of lipids not usually found in other oils, including calophyllic acid that works in healing acne and the residual red marks.
The distinction of tamanu oil is its reputation as the best cicatrization (the ability to form new tissue). It repairs and restructures your skin and reduces the time needed for healing those marks.
Note: A little goes a long way. Dab on lightly and gently massage into wet or dry skin.
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Rosehip Seed Oil is sometimes known as “liquid gold.” It is the only natural substitute for retinol, the “superstar” of skin care. The oil is extracted from the seeds of wild rose bushes in the Andes Mountains.
Rosehip oil is one of the most powerful oils for eliminating marks on our skin. Vitamin A boosts the healing system of our body, speeding up the recovery process. In addition, rosehip stimulates blood circulation, which increases the process of forming new healthy layers of the skin. It is brimming with fatty acids and nutrients that contribute to its effectiveness.
Note: Use a high-quality rosehip oil from Chile: cold pressed, unrefined, and organic. “Rosehip seed oil” and “rosehip oil” are the same thing. Rose oil is not.
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Emu Oil is a relatively new kid on the natural oil block – except to the Australian aborigines who have been using it for thousands of years to treat skin conditions.
The other oils we’ve discussed here are extracted from plants. Emu oil differs in that it is extracted from the thick fat on the backs of emus, ostrich-like Australian birds. The oil is prized primarily for its ability to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin.
Also, it is hypo-allergenic and non-toxic and won’t irritate sensitive skin. Emu oil is rich in omega fatty acids, properties that minimize the appearance of scars and promote the skin’s natural healing process.
Overall, it’s one of the best anti-inflammatory oils that accelerates the skin’s natural healing process and fades the color of acne marks.
Note: Emus are killed solely for this oil.
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Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera is a safe, gentle and effective method of treating hyperpigmentation. The pure gel from inside the stem can be used directly on the skin to lighten it quickly and permanently. It encourages the regeneration of new skin cells that are free of those acne scars.
If you apply the gel and a little sunscreen to the scars when they first appear, the progress of the scars will be deterred.
A fun thing about aloe vera is that you can raise your own plants, and the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits will always be on hand. When you need the gel, snip off small portions of the fatty stems. Decorative as well as useful—you can’t beat that!
Lemon juice is a simple and effective natural bleaching agent. Unlike some other remedies, the juice works on “veterans” of old acne wars as well as the more recent ones.
Generously dab your acne scars with a cotton all soaked in lemon juice. Leave on no longer than 30 minutes. Used daily, your scars will be greatly diminished in two weeks—if not gone completely. Since lemon juice is a drying agent, apply moisturizer after the treatment.
It’s a do-it-yourself, inexpensive “pseudo” chemical peel. As such, your face may peel in some places. The juice is not to be applied to the whole face.
Note: Keep the lemon juice away from your eyes. Be especially careful when dabbing your forehead, so that the juice does not drip into your eyes. Oh, and do not apply to open wounds. Ouch! Last thing: Apply sunscreen before going outside. Citrus-treated skin is exceptionally sensitive to sun.
Extra Tips on Getting Rid of Acne Scars
- Exposure to the sun slows down the healing process of the scars and can, at times, darken them. Use a thick layer of sunscreen before going outside.
- It’s very difficult, but you must refrain from touching the scars, lest you cause further inflammation and skin damage. You also can cause a loss of collagen, which will result in more visible scars.
- Picking at or squeezing pimples further inflames and injures your skin. The bacteria and pus go deep down into your skin, and you end up with more severe scars.
- Drink plenty of water a day to flush out toxins and bacteria. It also keeps your body moisturized.
- Exercise more often. Stress can cause hormonal changes, and hormonal changes can exacerbate acne scars. If pumping iron is not your thing, taking a walk or doing yoga just 15-20 minutes a day can alleviate stress and contribute to your overall fitness.