Peace Out Acne Scars (It Hasn’t Been Real), Hello Bright, Radiant & Youthful Glow!

Peace Out Acne Scars (It Hasn’t Been Real), Hello Bright, Radiant & Youthful Glow!

Okay guys, this one was HIGHLY requested & has been a long time coming! As with most of my health-related & skincare posts, they always end up taking me longer than expected. I guess I just don’t realize just how much I have to say & share! I’m sorry for the wait, BUT I PROMISE IT WAS WORTH IT! 

First thing first, let’s put things into context. I used to have really bad redness, a bit of hyper pigmentation (because in high school, I ALWAYS popped my pimples) & uneven skin texture (the area around my chin always looked a bit more dull). My dark circles & I have also had our fair share of ups & downs (mostly downs) & it seemed like no matter what I did to try to subdue them, NOTHING WORKED, until I really started to do my research & to UNDERSTAND what ingredients could help (as opposed to just choosing products based on brand & packaging).

Once I understood what ingredients were effective in helping treat dark spots, it made it easier to choose my products based on the scientific explanations for which they would work! AND THEY DID. All this to say, the products I will speak about in this post have done wonders for healing my skin, reducing my redness & hyper pigmentation, bringing radiance, glow & brightness to my skin & helping reduce my dark circles (which, BTW, will never fully disappear, but there are things you can do to help them subside!). 

First things first, what exactly is acne?

I’m not going to go all scientific on you & give you an encyclopedia definition of what acne is because I want to get into the good stuff (A.K.A. PRODUCTS!) & Lord knows, I could rant for days. But, in a nutshell, acne refers to blackheads, whiteheads & pink bumps (also called papules), which appear on the skin in the form of cysts, as a result of a number of lifestyle factors, dust, polluted air, toxins, sweat & most often, a combination of these things.

It’s caused when oil & dead skin cells accumulate on the skin & clog the pores. Biologically, hair follicles are connected to oil glands, which secrete sebum, an oily substance that lubricates hair & skin. If the body over-produces sebum, it builds up in the hair follicles, along with dead skin cells, making it hard for the skin to breathe, slowing healing & creating an optimal environment for bacteria to thrive. When bacteria infects the clogged pores, inflammation happens… & all hail PIMPLES! 

While there are many factors that contribute to the development of acne (including stress, diet, hormones), oxidative stress & inflammation are the primary ones. They’re caused by free radicals, which attack collagen & weaken its structure. As you guys most probably already know, 80% of the skin is made up of collagen. As we age, the collagen in our skin decreases by 1% each year, a.k.a. the reason why skin’s elasticity decreases & we start to get wrinkles and notice the signs of aging. The skin also starts to lose its ability to heal itself, its firmness, strength, elasticity, texture & tone due to the breakdown of collagen & free radical damage.

Some of the other causes of acne are:

  • Hormones: Changing levels of androgens (male hormones) & estrogens (female hormones) can also lead to the development of acne. Androgens lead to an increase in the production of sebum (oil) & enlargement of sebaceous glands in the skin, which explains why people who are menstruating are sometimes more prone to acne development.
  • Genetics / heredity
  • Gut-health issues: The health of your insides is a direct reflection of what you see on the outside. Your health begins & ends in your gut!
  • Poking, picking, squeezing & popping pimples 
  • Nutrition: Diets high in processed & packaged foods that are laden with chemicals, preservatives, fillers, refined white sugar, refined grains & flours, unhealthy & partially hydrogenated oils, sodium etc. are directly reflected in the health, clarity & radiance of your skin & cause or trigger acne breakouts!)
  • Stress
  • Certain medications, such as birth control or antibiotics, can also make the skin more sensitive &/or acne-prone.

Troubling right? It seems like everything on this planet is an obstacle to clear radiant skin & that every aspect of life somehow has a negative effect on our complexion & can lead to acne. But don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about how you can help counter those negative effects!

But first, let’s debunk something!

Acne scars & hyperpigmentation: What’s the difference?

People often think dark spots & acne scars are the same thing. Newsflash: they’re not. 

The red, purple or brown marks that linger after a pimple has disappeared are classified by dermatologists as post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation. Hyper pigmentation, melasma & sun spots are the “warning flags” create by the body to inform you that it is injured or under attack (Think of it as the skin’s version of fight or flight). They’re a deposit of melanin (a protein manufactured by the skin) that goes into the skin like globules & gives way to dark spots, stains & discolouration, They can take anywhere between 3 & 6 months to go away on their own, but you can expedite the process with retinol, vitamin C, sunscreen & other brighteners, natural ingredients, oils & products. 

All this to say, the good news is that discolouration & hyper-pigmentation caused by acne can be reversed, BUT LIKE ALL THINGS: It takes time, patience & investment in some good skincare products. In the same way that hyperpigmentation does not happen overnight & develops overtime on the skin, curing it is something you must be patient with & understand that it can’t be immediately fixed. You want long-term results, so you need to find treatment options that will address inflammation in the skin overtime & repair the skin barrier. One of the drivers of hyperpigmentation is that a damaged skin barrier creates more inflammation in the skin. Basically, what happens is the body’s response to injury is inflammation, which triggers melanin production & results in dark spots. Mild acne scars are just ONE example of post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation. 

True acne scars are actually permanent indentations from collagen damage. Sometimes, a particularly aggressive blemish will do anything to leave its permanent mark. Acne scars occur when normal tissue in the skin is destroyed and replaced with fibrous tissue. You can think of an acne lesion as a wound. When the damage caused by acne is severe, the body can respond by creating too much tissue or too little tissue. The production of too much tissue forms a keloid (a scar that has over-healed & looks like dense, rubbery skin tissue) or a hypertrophic scar (thick, raised & sticks out above the skin), and too little tissue leads to that depression in the skin, or atrophic scar (hardest to treat). The deeper and more inflamed the acne lesion, or the more that it is picked or squeezed, the more likely it is to scar.

The only ways to treat these acne scars are laser treatments & temporary dermal fillers. I won’t be going into much detail about these because the only way to PERMANENTLY treat them & make them go away is through treatments & fillers, which I have absolutely ZERO experience with. I’ll talk more about hyper-pigmentation & mild acne scars.

As I mentioned before, the spots that linger after a pimple has healed are caused by inflammation (Honestly, what the hell isn’t caused by inflammation these days?)that has disrupted the skin’s natural healing process. When your skin is opened up (a.k.a. when you pop a pimple, for example) & then closes back together, you can get abnormal pigmentation, texture & tone that looks different than the rest of your skin. These darker patches are the result of excess melanin production & buildup. Sometimes, the broken blood vessels that remain after a blemish fades can result in a mark. Inflamed pimples or blemishes still leave a dark brown or red mark but they naturally fade.

Obviously, the tone of our skin makes a huge difference in the shade of the spot. In lighter skin tones, red or purple marks are more common & fade over a few weeks. Whereas in darker skin tones, a pimple will generally leave a brown mark, that takes a bit longer to go away on its own.

Some acne marks and scars are completely within your control while others are pre-determined. Aside from genetics, there are several lifestyle habits that can make dark marks and scars worse. Since it’s hard to determine what might cause one person to scar more than another (& since there can be so many different freaking reasons), the best way to avoid scarring is to have a good skincare routine in place that can help not only heal & cure but more importantly: PREVENT.

EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, AS TEMPTING AS IT IS, YOU MUST RESIST PICKING, POKING OR TOUCHING A PIMPLE because that just creates further inflammation & can ultimately lead to more damage. In fact, picking them worsens their appearance & results in scars that may have ultimately been able to be avoided.

Also, sun exposure can supercharge melanocytes, or pigment-producing cells, causing marks and scars to darken. We’ll get into how to protect your skin from the sun (HINT: SPF) & how to prevent those marks & scars from darkening shortly!

Now, let’s get into some of the products (some natural, some not) that can help with hyper pigmentation & mild acne scars. The way I structured this post is by ingredient. What I did was go into detail about each ingredient & how it can be helpful in fighting hyper pigmentation & mild acne scars. Then, after each explanation, you will find a list of products that I recommend, all of which are TRIED, TRUE & TESTED BY YOURS TRULY. Most of them, I used for months & some even for a year. Others are newer, but have already impressed me for one reason or another. I always say that I would never recommend something to you guys that I wouldn’t recommend to my sister. Let’s call it the sister standard!

All this to say, all these products are ones I’ve tried PERSONALLY & used CONSISTENTLY. More importantly, all these products have WORKED FOR ME. I can’t guarantee that they will work for you because I’m speaking from my own personal experience. But what I can tell you is that if you work at researching & gaining a better understanding of the ingredients in certain products that can help target your skin concerns, you will be better able to choose the right products for you!


ORGANIC COLD-PRESSED ROSEHIP SEED OIL:

Rosehip oil is also effective at helping reduce acne scars, lessening discolouration that may have been caused by them & healing & helping repair the skin from damage caused by excessive sun exposure. It’s also a powerful anti-aging oil that helps reduce wrinkles & fine lines, all while rejuvenating the skin. The reason behind all these benefits is that it contains essential fatty acids (omega 6 & 9), which work to rejuvenate the skin & fight inflammation. It’s also a potent source of antioxidants & vitamin C, that protect the skin from free radical damage.

To read more about rosehip oil & its benefits, click here: A Breakdown of All (Well, Most) of the Skincare Benefits of Organic Cold-Pressed Rosehip Oil a.k.a. A-Freaking-Miracle-&-a-Half-That-Will-Make-You-Glow-Sans-Making-a-Hole-in-Your-Wallet!

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Farsali Rose Gold Elixir
  • Divine Essence Aromatherapy All-Natural Organic Cold-Pressed Rosehip Seed Oil (Find it at most health food stores).

VITAMIN C

SERUMS

IMO, vitamin C serums are a crucial component of any & all skincare routines, as of the age of 25(ish) & onwards (the age at which research has shown that collagen production begins to slow down & deplete by 1% each year). If there is one item in your skincare regimen that you are going to splurge on, let it be your vitamin C serum!

Vitamin C serums are great for acne scars for a variety of different reasons:

  • They help promote the production of collagen & skin healing.
  • They contain tons of antioxidants, which means that they are effective at protecting the skin from external damage caused by environmental toxins & at fighting the common signs of aging, such as dark spots, fine lines & wrinkles.
  • They help with the skin renewal process.
  • They help treat post-inflammation hyper-pigmentation.
  • They act as a bleaching agent, due to their acidic content & help brighten dull skin. Citric acid is actually a natural skin-bleaching agent that when combined with vitamin C (orange, lemon extracts or other fruit extracts) helps slow down the cells that produce melanin, which causes skin to darken.
  • They also boost natural protection against UVA, UVB & infrared radiation, which has the potential to cause dark spots.
  • When applied topically, vitamin C seeps into the deeper layers of the skin where the melanin producing cells (melanin is responsible for the darkness of pigmentation in our skin) are located & inhibits the enzymes that lead to their production, thereby preventing your skin from getting darker, a.k.a. preventing those acne scars & hyper pigmentation from developing & looking more pronounced.
  • When looking for a serum, it’s always best to look for one that contains L-ascorbic acid, which is vitamin C & absorbs into the skin so that it continues working long after it dries.
    • If you have marks that are more brownish in colour, pigment-lightening ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, kojic acid or licorice can help treat discolouration.
    • If you have a darker skin tone, beware of hydroquinone, which can leave a lighter ring around the dark discolouration you are trying to target.
    • Skin-brightening ingredients do not work well for pink or red acne marks unrelated to skin pigment or melanin. These are better treated with SPF!

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Keep in mind that a vitamin C serum is not going to change our skin overnight. It takes about 2-4 weeks to see any effects. Be consistent & monitor the effects. If your skin its really irritated, white or blotchy, consider switching products, but we’ll talk about skin purging a bit later!

MOISTURIZERS

Vitamin C moisturizers are also great. They provide similar benefits to the vitamin C serums due to their vitamin C & antioxidant content, but they are also super hydrating & moisturizing & help keep the skin nourished. As you guys know, collagen & elastin are the main proteins that make up the skin. When not produced in sufficient amounts, the integrity of skin is affected. Without vitamin C, the proteins weaken, causing the skin to become more susceptible to acne scars & preventing existing scars from healing. So, SERUM IT UP & then MOISTURIZE WITH VITAMIN C to double your dose & boost collagen!

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Kate Somerville EradiKate Glow Moisturizer
  • Sunday Riley C+E C.E.O. Cream

MASKS

If you want to go even further, you might consider investing in a good vitamin C mask that you can do 1-2 times a week, depending on how often you feel you need it. You get the same benefits, but with the added perk of the ingredients in the mask penetrating deep within your skin for the time that it’s slathered on your face, leaving you with fresh, smooth, hydrated & bright complexion, all while healing any damage & providing antioxidant protecting from sun damage in the long-run.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Tatcha Violet C-Radiance Mask. It’s great for all skin types! It’s anti-aging, packed with Japanese beautyberry (which helps maximize the effectiveness & stabilize vitamin C), 2 types of vitamin C (one of which is water-soluble, so it absorbs quickly, gives an immediate glow & an oil-soluble derivative that stays in the skin longer, providing antioxidant protection from UV damage for a more even-toned appearance overtime) & AHAs from seven fruits (we’ll talk about AHA’s soon). It’s gentle, non-irritating & leaves the skin feeling soft, smooth, plump & hydrated. It helps fight dark spots, uneven skin tone, fine linkes, wrinkles, dullness & uneven texture, removes the buildup of dead skin cells & toxins & promotes the regeneration & renewal of skin cells. It also contains green tea, rice & algae to help bring youthful radiance to the skin.

VITAMIN E

Vitamin E is a natural fatty vitamin & antioxidant that protects & repairs the skin by fighting free radicals that lead to skin diseases &/or acne & reducing inflammation. It works by strengthening the capillary walls in the skin & improving moisture & elasticity, acting as a natural anti-aging nutrient within the body. It’s also effective at helping reverse sun-damage & reducing dark spots & discolouration. Research has shown that it can help seal cracks in the outer skin layer, repair damaged skin barrier & improve the overall appearance of scars after the initial acne wound heals.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Divine Essence Aromatherapy Jojoba oil: Jojoba oil contains vitamin E & also has anti-inflammatory & antibacterial properties. When using jojoba oil, it is absorbed by the epidermis layer of the skin & speeds up cell regeneration & renewal, which makes it effective at treating scars, acne & wrinkles.
  • Sunday Riley C+E C.E.O. Moisturizer: You get all the benefits of vitamin E, combined with all the amazing benefits of vitamin C, mentioned above.
  • Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel (Full Strength): Helps fight dark spots, discolouration & the signs of aging. It contains AHAs (Malic acid from green apples, glycolic & lactic acid), as well as BHA (Salicylic acid from willow bark) to even skin tone, along with vitamin A, C & E.
  • You can also squeeze a vitamin E gel capsule & take the contents onto the top of your hand & dab it with a Q-tip & apply it topically to the scarred skin or mix it in with your moisturizer.

TURMERIC

As you guys most probably know, turmeric is one of the oldest anti-inflammatory & antibacterial remedies known to mankind. This makes it effective in killing off the bacteria that causes acne & breakouts. It contains an antioxidant called curcumin, which research has shown is effective in helping reduce blemishes caused by inflammation & oxidative stress, preventing skin infections & improving skin texture.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Cocokind Turmeric Stick
  • Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask

ALOE VERA

Aloe vera acts to stimulate fibroblast cells that produce collagen, resulting in regeneration of the skin. Regeneration means that skin cell turnover is hastened, which in turn means that aloe helps fade acne scars overtime. It contains antioxidants that protect against sun damage & free radicals, as well as certain hormones that may help with skin healing. Aloe vera also fights inflammation & redness, soothes & heals & helps fade acne scars overtime.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner (My faves are the Lavender & Rose)
  • Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Hydrating Face Mist
  • Youth To The People Superfood Eye Cream

Speaking of Thayer’s, WITCH HAZEL is also great for fighting acne scars. Its leaves & barks contain up to 10% tannins, an organic compound that acts as a natural astringent & helps dry out pimples & refined pores. You’ll find this ingredient in many toners, cleansers & mists. It also has some soothing, antibacterial & anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it effective at fighting infection caused by acne & alleviating redness.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner
  • Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner (My faves are the Lavender & Rose)

RETINOL

Retinol is a form of vitamin A & an AHA that naturally occurs in the skin. When retinol is topically applied to the skin, enzymes work to convert it into retinoic acid, which has been clinically proven to improve lines, discolouration & revitalize the skin. It works to promote cell turnover, induce collagen formation, which helps soften & lighten acne scars, unclogs pores & brings pigment to the surface of the skin with light exfoliating properties. Aside from its ability to clear acne scars, retinol can also help prevent new acne from popping up in the first place & it’s a potent anti-aging ingredient!

The thing about retinol that you must be mindful about is that it does have the potential to dry out the skin. This is why it’s always best to choose products or oils that contain retinol, but that also contain other less harsh ingredients that will help counter the potential dryness that may be caused by retinol.

If you are just starting out with retinol, a.k.a. YOU ARE A NOOB, I highly recommend easing into it & slowly (every second day) start incorporating it into your evening regimen (I prefer to use retinol at night only). Sunlight deactivates retinoic acid, so it’s basically useless to use it during the day. Easing into it this way will allow your skin to gradually acclimate to the more potent ingredients in the product. You can also mix it in with moisturizers, serums or facial oils to buffer any irritation (redness or flaking) that may come with using retinol.

BTW: If you wax, try to avoid using retinol 2-5 days before & after you wax.

  • Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum
  • Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil: Aside from all the benefits you reap from the retinol, this baby also contains Chamomile essential oils. As you all know, Chamomile has long been known for its calming & soothing effects.  These oils will help calm, soothe & even out the skin, all while reducing redness or irritation & will help even out your skin’s texture.
  • Kate Somerville +Retinol Firming Eye Cream
  • Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Oil

BTW: RETINOL MAKES YOUR SKIN MORE SENSITIVE TO THE SUN. This is why I use it only at night only & only in the winter / fall when I know I won’t be spending time outside in the sun. Even at that, IT’S CRUCIAL TO ALWAYS WEAR BROAD-SPECTRUM MINERAL/PHYSICAL SUNSCREENS (all day, everyday, winter, summer, fall & spring!). I will go into detail about SPF later on in the post.


AHAs & BHAs / CHEMICAL PEELS

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are acids derived from fruits that have skin rejuvenating properties. They are often used in skincare products to boost skin cell turnover, slough away & gently exfoliate dead skin cells, even out skin tone & help diminish dark spots, acne scars & other signs of aging. The most known ones are lactic, glycolic, citric, malic & tartaric acids. They work by melting down the intracellular “glue” allowing dead-skin cells to be removed from the surface of the skin.

AHAs are water-soluble, which means they are more suitable for sun-damaged skin where breakouts don’t occur frequently as they cannot penetrate the skin as deep as BHA & their effect is felt on the surface of the skin. They exfoliate the surface layers of the skin & help the skin retain more water, thus improving the moisture content, as well as helping to rejuvenate aging skin, drying out skin irritations like acne & tightening & unclogging pores.

Lactic & glycolic acid are the ones I have the most experience with. They are acid-based exfoliating treatments that make dead skin slough away without leaving the skin looking dry or flaky. In fact ,they’ll do the complete opposite: leave your skin glowing! The idea behind AHA & BHA is that when you combine acids at lower strengths, they are potentially less irritating. And worry not, you don’t have to see the skin peeling away to know that results are happening. As the acid dissolves the cement between skin cells, thousands are coming off at the same time (even though you an’t see it!). They dissolve the upper layers of the cells to trigger repair, but unlike with scrubs, the skin is not damaged by abrasives or exfoliating beads. 

LACTIC ACID: It is one of the most popular AHAs in skincare because it helps reduce acne breakouts & the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines & all the other signs of aging (dark spots, dullness etc.). It gently exfoliates, softens the skin & works by breaking down the glue between skin cells, revealing newer, shinier, healthier skin! It also helps brighten & fade pigmentation, while also controlling & preventing oiliness. Consistent use helps stimulate & improve collagen production, which means younger, firmer & less wrinkly skin overtime.

LACTIC ACID RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Serum: I’ve already spoken to you about this baby many times (& I did a whole post on it – Read about it HERE: All About Lactic Acid & Good Genes & Luna Sleeping Night Oil by Sunday Riley a.k.a. My-Secret-To-Radiant-Luminuous-Glowing-Red-Carpet-Worthy-Skin!). I swear by this stuff – It has literally changed my skin & taken away all my redness. I saw a difference in the first 3-4 days of using this. The lactic acid will help tackle all types of hyper-pigmentation, whether it results from dark spots from aging, dark circles, redness or bad acne breakouts! This product also contains licorice (which we’ll speak about soon), which is a natural brightener & can help with redness as well. AND, not only that, but also lemongrass, which will help boost your skin’s radiance.
  • Tata Harper Clarifying Mask
  • Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength
  • Kate Somerville Exfoliate Glow Moisturizer
  • Tatcha The Essence Plumping Skin Softener
  • Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser

GLYCOLIC ACID: Promotes cellular turnover & removes the top layers of the skin by gently exfoliating & revealing a brighter, fresh complexion. It works by purging the pores, exfoliating dead skin cells that lead to clogged pores, helps control acne breakouts & smooth skin texture. Glycolic acid is actually the smallest acid in size, which means that it can penetrate deep into the skin. It’s super effective in breaking down skin cells & removing dead particles. It also helps boost collagen & elastin production with the removal of waste & dead skin cells, as well as promote skin refinement, regeneration, renewal & skin cell turnover.

GLYCOLIC ACID RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Peel: Exfoliates & resurfaces new skin in a gentle but powerful way, helping dark spots & hyperpigmentation fade away.
  • Sunday Riley Good Genes
  • Drunk Elephant C-Framboos Serum
  • Sunday Riley C+E C.E.O. Moisturizer
  • Tatcha Vitamin C Radiance Mask
  • Sunday Riley UFO Oil
  • Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil 
  • Biossance Squalane & Probiotic Gel Moisturizer
  • Sunday Riley C+E Rapid Flash Brightening Serum
  • Algenist Anti-Aging Melting Cleanser
  • First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Vital Greens Face Mist
  • Kate Somerville Goat Milk De-Puffing Stick
  • Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength
  • Tata Harper Clarifying Mask

Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are chemical compounds that are similar to aspirin, that have been used for ages to treat a large variety of inflammatory diseases. SALICYLIC ACID is the only BHA & it works like AHAs by breaking down & exfoliating dead skin cells. BUT, the main difference between them is that salicylic acid is oil-soluble, whereas AHAs are water-soluble. It has the ability to penetrate pores filled with sebum (oil) & exfoliate them. It is particularly useful for those with oily or acne-prone skin. It has anti-inflammatory & anti-bacterial properties & may be preferred for those with sensitive skin or certain skin conditions, such as rosacea. It helps fade redness, brightens the skin, promotes skin cell turnover & renewal, reduces breakouts overtime, unclogs pores & gently exfoliates the skin. You’ll find it in natural form in fruits like tomato, berries, grapes & avocado.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Sunday Riley UFO Oil
  • Drunk Elephant C-Framboos Serum
  • Kate Somerville Eradikate: My holy grail product. I always apply it when a breakout occurs & even when I feel a breakout coming on & it literally makes it disappear!!!
  • Tata Harper Clarifying Mask
  • Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Power Serum
  • Murad Clarifying mask
  • Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Mist

BTW: AHAs MAKE THE SKIN MORE SENSITIVE TO THE SUN (like retinol), which is why it’s CRUCIAL to always lather on that SPF, no matter what the season is & no matter whether you’ll be lying in the sun or not! We’ll get into that later. But keep it in mind!


HONEY

Honey is known for its anti-inflammatory & antiseptic properties. It has been used to treat wounds long before the invention of antibiotics & most skincare products. Since most acne is caused by bacteria, the antibacterial properties in honey make it a great weapon to fight pimple-causing germs. It also moisturizes & cleanses the skin, while helping clear the pores. 

My all-time favourite skincare product that contains honey (& other bee ingredients) is Egyptian Magic. I LITERALLY DON’T GO A DAY WITHOUT IT!

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Farmacy Beauty Eye Cream
  • Kate Somerville De-Puffing Goat Milk Balm
  • Egyptian Magic: AMAZING for healing scars as it contains honey for anti-inflammation, propolis for killing bacteria, olive oil has the same molecular structure as our skin, royal jelly is a perfect protein for anti-aging & regenerating skin cells! It can also prevent new acne from appearing in the first place.

OATMEAL

Oatmeal is loaded with anti-inflammatory benefits that help soothe swelling, redness & irritation that comes along with redness. It also works as a gentle exfoliant, absorbs excess sebum (oil), prevents clogged pores, encourages skin cell renewal & contains powerful antioxidants.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • First Aid Beauty Oatmeal Mask

GREEN TEA

Studies have shown that green tea has significant benefits for skin conditions, such as acne & rosacea. It also significantly reduces the skin’s oil production & has anti-inflammatory properties that may help with mild to moderate acne.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Water-Gel Toner
  • Youth To The People Age Prevention Superfood Cleanser
  • Ole Henriksen Truth Serum
  • Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Cream
  • Tatcha Violet C Radiance Mask
  • Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist
  • Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm
  • Youth To the People Age Prevention Superfood Cream
  • Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF
  • Sunday Riley UFO OIL

WILLOW BARK

Willow bark is a natural source of salicylic acid, which helps dry up inflamed acne lesions, exfoliate the skin & unclog the pores. It helps remove oil from greasy, acne-prone skin, leaving pores appearing temporarily smaller. It also has the ability to increase antioxidant enzymes & reduce oxidative stress.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Tata Harper Clarifying Mask
  • Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength
  • Sunday Riley C+E Rapid Flash Brightening Serum

PROBIOTICS

Research has shown that there is a strong connection between gut flora and skin health, which makes including probiotics in our diet all the more important. All of our bodily systems & functions are interrelated but everything starts with a healthy gut! When your gut is unhealthy, you can experience TONS of issues with your immunity, digestive system, gastrointestinal functions, skin, hair, joints, muscles, bones & metabolism. When your gut is healthy, your gastrointestinal lining is lined with HEALTHY good bacteria that help heal you from the inside out.

When you have gut health issues (which also means, indigestion & other digestive health issues), it affects the way your body retains the nutrients from food, leading to poor absorption of the vitamins, minerals & antioxidants needed to keep your skin young, bright, radiant, wrinkle-free & healthy! Without these vitamins, minerals & antioxidants, YOUR SKIN WILL SUFFER & IT WILL SHOW! And it might even worsen existing skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, rosacea & psoriasis.

 

When used topically (such as in masks, creams and cleansers), they can also have numerous benefits (they form a protective shield over skin and they have antibacterial and calming properties), especially in treating acne and rosacea.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Nova Probiotics Capsules or Udo’s Choice Capsules
  • Corpa Flora Hyaulornic Acid Serum
  • Biossance Squalene Probiotic Moisturizer

To read more about gut health & how you can take steps towards healing your gut, click here: Everything You Need To Know To Heal Your Gut a.k.a. GO WITH YOUR GUT, ALWAYS.


TEA TREE OIL

Tea Tree Oil has tons of antimicrobial & anti-inflammatory properties. It significantly reduces redness & irritation, kills off acne-causing bacteria & helps unclog pores. BUT, because it’s so potent, IF YOU HAVE SENSITIVE SKIN: It’s best not to apply the concentrated oil directly to avoid irritation. My advice would be to look for a diluted product that’s combined with other soothing ingredients like green tea or zing. The entire Sunday Riley “green” line contains tea tree oil but also other soothing ingredients.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Sunday Riley UFO Clarifying Oil
  • Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Toner

SPF

YES, even in the winter & even when it isn’t sunny out. Sunlight has the potential to penetrate through clothing, which is why it’s so important to be diligent about applying it everywhere, everyday. Sun exposure actually makes scarring appear more prominent. When your skin isn’t properly dosed up with protection, UVA & UVB rays can actually darken acne marks & scars.

When the skin is repeatedly exposed to UV rays, it can cause brown spots, hyper pigmentation from overproduction of meaning. Your body produces melanin to protect your skin from the sun, but what happens is that an over production shows up as brown spots, which leads to hyperpigmenatin. Since brown spots are created by sun, think of it as your skin talking to you and telling you it’s had too much exposure!

When it comes to SPF, I personally like to use a tinted moisturizer that also contains SPF because it’s workout-friendly, doesn’t look caked on, adds a dewy & brightening glow, provides some nourishment (depending on the ingredients contained in it) & kills two birds with one stone (tinted moisturizer + SPF all in one!). 

When it comes to SPF (not in a tinted moisturizer), there are a few things you should be mindful about when purchasing / choosing what to purchase: Mineral-based sunscreens, such as zinc-based ones, are the only REAL way to prevent skin damage from the sun & premature aging. In fact, zinc is an inert mineral that blocks both UVB & UVA rays. Zinc oxide & titanium dioxide will SIT ON TOP OF THE SKIN, forming a barrier against the sun’s rays. They reflect the light away, instead of penetrating into the blood stream (where chemical filters actually absorb UV energy).

They start to protect you AS SOON AS YOU PUT THEM ON. This is why it’s important to always look for broad spectrum sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, or concentrations of both. These are called CHEMICAL-FREE SUNSCREENS (or physical / mineral sunscreens) because zinc & titanium dioxide are their only active ingredients. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, use only non-mineral or chemical, active ingredients, such as oxybenzone, oxtinoxate & octisalate, which are absorbed into the skin & do not sit on the skin. The result is that your skin is absorbing all these harmful chemicals & toxins, but also that your skin is not as effectively protected.

When looking for a sunscreen, look out for these things:

  1. High-zinc: The best UVA & UVB filter. It should contain at least 20% zinc oxide, or 15% zinc oxide with 7.5% titanium dioxide.
  2. PUFA-free or Low-PUFA: Polyunsaturated oils (PUFAs) oxidize with head & light, generating harmful free radicals & even cellular damage.
  3. AHA-free & vitamin A-free: AHA & vitamin A derivatives (a.k.a. retinol can increase UV sensitivity. They should not be present in any significant amounts.
  4. Silicone-free or low-silicone: The film-forming properties of silicone can be comedogenic & dehydrating & might interfere with the skin’s natural regulatory process & sebum production.
  5. Non-whitening: Sunscreens made with zinc oxide & titanium dioxide often have smaller particles, which means they are less likely to leave a white cast.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Origins GinZing Tinted Moisturizer
  • Dr. Jart Beauty Booster. The Dr. Jart one is actually a four in one: primer, moisturizer, SPF & treatment serum that helps even skin tone from within & offers mild coverage. It’s great for preventing further damage to the skin
  • For an all natural SPF, Bio Solis brand makes great products! You can find them at all health food stores.

LEMON / LEMON WATER

Incorporating products that contain lemon or citrusy extracts can also help brighten scars, as lemon contains ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which helps eliminate & prevent the further propagation & growth of bacteria. The fact that it’s so high in vitamin C also means that it boosts collagen production & helps improve skin’s brightness, texture & elasticity. You might also consider adding lemon water to your daily routine & having it every morning when you wake up in order to help fade skin discolouration overtime.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser

LICORICE EXTRACT

Licorice also contains antimicrobial, anti-fungal & antiviral properties, which makes it effective in inhibiting the spread of infection. It’s also a potent anti-androgenic compound, which means that it decreases testosterone levels, which in turn lessens sebaceous gland activity, a.k.a. your oil glands won’t overproduce sebum, which means your pores won’t get clogged. It reverses hyper-piegnnation, lightens, sooths, fades acne scars reduces redness & irritation. Great for sensitive, roaseacea or acne-prone skin.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Sunday Riley Good Genes
  • Sunday Riley UFO Oil
  • Origins Mega Bright Dark-Spot Correcting Serum: It contains licorice, rosa mulberry, white peony (which help brighten dark spots), while hydrating the skin & keeping it smooth.
  • Murad Clarifying Mask

MARULA OIL

Marula oil contains vitamin C, which helps boost collagen production (which can, in the long-run, contribute to reduced acne scarring & prevention), improves skin elasticity & reduces hyper-pigmentation. It also contains a compound called B-sitosterol, which is an anti-inflammatory & antioxidant that helps repair & strengthen the skin’s barrier function & reduce scarring (even those resulting from severe acne breakouts), inflammation, itchiness, redness & collagen-degrading enzymes. As I mentioned earlier, inflammation is one of the main causes of acne & scarring, so this will help you fight it!!

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Drunk Elephant Marula Oil
  • Drunk Elephant Lippe

SEA BUCKTHORN OIL

Sea berry oil is restorative, regenerative & hydrating. It helps reduce inflammation due to its omega-7 fatty acid content (a rare form of EFA), as well as its antioxidant properties that help repair the skin’s tissue. It has been used in the natural treatment of rosacea, as well as for more common skin issues, such as: irritation, redness & breakouts.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Peter Thomas Roth Hungarian Thermal Water Mineral-Rich Moisturizer
  • Sibu Beauy Sea Buckthorn Oil
  • Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Capsules
  • Sibu Beauty Body Lotion Moisturizer
  • Living Libations Sea Buckthorn Oil Cleanser

CHIA OIL

Chia oil contains tons of important saturated fatty acids, which help maintain healthy skin cell membranes, ward off the harmful effects of free radicals & are anti-inflammatory. Chia seed oil also helps down-regulate meaning production. Not only do the EFAS (omega 3 &6) play a role in maintaining skin hydration & the epidermal barrier, but they also influence melanogensis (a.k.a. the process by which melanin is produced). Chia oil is a rich source of linoleic acid, which inhibits melanin biosythensis.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Cocokind Organic Chia Seed Oil

EXFOLIATON IS KEY!

Regular excfolation helps remove dead skin thereby exposing a new & fresh layer. Acne mostly affects the top layer of the skin, so exfoliation will speed up the process of scar fading!

Exfoliation can happen in many ways. We spoke about chemical peels, AHAs & BHA earlier & that’s probably the most effective form of exfoliation as it penetrates deep within the layers of the skin & promotes skin cell renewal, regeneration & restoration. But, regular exfoliation with an enzyme exfoliant is also a great way to slough away those dead skin cells!

RECOMMENDATIONS:


COLLAGEN

Collagen is not only an effective treatment for aging skin, but it also helps with treating all kinds of wounds, including acne. The bacteria that causes acne can damage skin tissue & weaken the structure of cells in the deeper layers of the skin (a.k.a. you don’t see it happening, but it is!). Collagen is necessary to strengthen & repair this structural matrix. For example, if you pop a zit, you’ll need to heal it like a cut & collagen will play an important role in the wound healing process. 

As I mentioned earlier, acne scars are permanent indentations that cause damage to the collagen in the skin. Cystic acne is characterized by an infection deep in the skin – it destroys the skin & causes deeper acne scars. A few weeks after a break out, a scar forms. New blood vessels move into the area & provide the skin with nourishment. Collagen will start to form in the area months later, filling in the injured skin. It is a tough-fibre like protein that stimulates cellular migration & contributes to the development of new itssue. It also provides immediate improvement to scars by replacing lost volume.

When skin is injured, fibroblasts produce collagen to fill & close the wounds. The scars that acne leaves behind are caused when collagen contracts or does not grow back completely after a pimple heals. That’s why including collagen supplements can help with scarring as it speeds up collagen formation & tissue repair to heal acne scars by allowing skin to become smoother & more hydrated.

The amino acids found in collagen also help minimize the appearance of dark spots as they are the building blocks of protein & stimulate the skin to naturally repair & heal itself by promoting healthy tissue formation.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
  • NeoCell Collagen Capsules
  • Algenist Genius Liquid COllagen
  • Dr. Dennis Gross C+ Collagen Perfect Skin Mist
  • Ole Henriksen Truth Serum
  • Drunk Elephant Protini Moisturizer
  • Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Eye Cream
  • Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Cream
  • Peter Thomas Roth Collagen & 24K Gold Eye Patches
  • Youth To The People Superfood Eye Cream

To read more about the benefits of collagen for your overall health, click here: Collagen Here, Collagen There, Collagen Everywhere: The Basics & Why You Should Add It To Your Daily Routine!

To read more about how to boost collagen production without taking collagen, click here:  Not Down With Collagen? Here Are Some Ways To Boost Your Body’s Natural Collagen Production!


CLAY

Clay is detoxifying & antibacteiral. It acne-prone skin, it can effectively prevent breakouts by helping to unblock & refine pores, draw out toxins & control sebum production.It also helps in the reduction of pimple-related scarring.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Charlotte Tilbury Clay Mask
  • Sunday Riley Ceramic Clay Cleanser
  • Peter ThomasRoth Hungarian Thermal Water Cream
  • Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser
  • Peter Thomas Roth Hungarian Thermal Water Cream

CHARCOAL

Charcoal is purifying & detoxifying. It helps absorb oil, leaving skin looking matte, without feeling overly tight. It rids the body & skin of toxins, environmental debris & oxidative stress.

  • Origins Charcoal Mask

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Naturally, our skin is acidic. When we use harsh cleansers & soaps, the natural acidity levels are disrupted, which destroys the acid mantle of our skin, which is actually crucial in protecting the skin from germs, bacteria & environmental pollutants. Apple cider is great for curing acne because it brings back the acidity to the skin by alkalizing it & maintaining healthy pH levels. It also kills bacteria, removes excess dirt, oil & makeup & dissolves dead skin cells.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Drink apple cider daily – Do 2 tbsp. straight, add 2 tbsp. to 1/4 cup of unsweetened organic apple juice or add it to your dressings, sauces & marinades!

 BALANCED DIET & HYDRATION

And last but most certainly not least, eat a balanced diet with foods rich in omega fatty acids, vitamin C, antioxidants, probiotics zinc & protein to help your body detoxify itself, fight off free radicals, environmental toxins & oxidative stress & to keep things flowing through all your essential bodily organs & functions! Eating a balanced diet also means making sure you stay hydrated! This will give your body the necessary fuel to fight the scars! YOU CAN IN FACT HEAL YOUR SKIN FROM WITHIN!!!!!!!


WILL YOU EXPERIENCE SKIN PURGING?

While we’re on the topic, I also want to talk to you guys about skin purging! Often, people will be contemplating starting out a new product that I may have recommended & they’ll ask me if it will make them break out or make their skin react.

Skin purging is a common but misleading term referring to an adjustment period when using new skincare products where the explanation for symptoms getting worse is that it’s necessary before things can get better. But, if we delve a little deeper into things, more accurately, the breakout is actually a type of skin response to stimuli. No product should actually make your skin worse on its own. BUT, there are some products that contain key ingredients that may temporarily throw off the skin’s natural balance & turn out perfectly fine in the end. Some often mistake this initial period with the body rejecting new product or mistaking it for negative skin reactions, like irritations or allergies.

The most common but false explanation for the skin purging process is that whatever product you are using is helping your body rid itself of any toxins present. Therefore, once these toxins are gone & leave your body, things should improve. The body does not rid itself of toxins this way. That’s what the liver & kidneys are for. There is an explanatin.

Pimples and other skin issues don’t start as the cosmetic problems you see. They start under the surface of the skin & are often the byproduct of a number of lifestyle habits or choices. Products dressing these issues increase the rate of skin renewal. If a product increases the rate of skin renewal, it speeds up the entire cycle where we may experience unexplained floods of pimples.This means that whatever problems or breakouts we see wold have happened anyway. They are just being sped up in the cycle so we may see the skin issues sooner & all at once. It’s unlikely new blemishes are caused by new products.

The skin generally keeps things out & it’s the liver or kidney’s job to release impurities from the body. Any initial reaction is usually the skin’s natural defence system trying to restore its equilibrium & may manifest in a breakout.Purging only occurs when using products that increase skin cell turnover (like AHAs, for example). 

What about reactions? It depends on the product & who’s using it. You should always be mindful of & read the ingredients on the products you are using. If you are using skincare products that contain active ingredients (like AHAs, such as glycolic or lactic acid), salicylic acid or retinol, most likely the purging is speeding up skin turnover. But, purging doesn’t happen in everyone.

If you’re using a new product without anything that causes skin cell turnover (like a cleanser, toner or moisturizer), it’s most likely not purging. Purging usually only occurs in pre-existing areas, but it can also occur in new areas, especially as changes occur when pores become less clogged & the natural flow of sebum is stimulated. If you are breaking out in new areas accompanied by redness, it’s likely a reaction to the ingredient or physical stimulus that is causing skin irritation or causing new clogged pores leading to new blemishes. YOU ARE THE BEST JUDGE OF HOW YOU ARE REACTING. But, you also need to be aware that you need to give products that encourage skin cell turnover a chance before you deem that they are the cause of a breakout.

If you’re worried about the possible intensity of a purge after using a new product, you may be able to limit it by introducing it slowly at a lower concentration and less frequently. Remember, your skin usually renews itself in about a monthly cycle, so any purging should hopefully not last more than that. If there are no signs of improvement or clearing up after 6-8 weeks, it’s probably not a result of skin purging. You should stop whatever you are using or doing, adjust to reduce the stimuli & switch up your products to something more gentle or lighter & less potent/concentrated. Also, avoid using boiling hot water, rough face towels, loofahs or rough sponges on your face.

If you have sensitive skin, I would also strongly recommend sticking to tested, reputable skincare products that have been on the market for quite some time (& don’t jump on the new products right away) so that you can have proven track records to base yourself upon & reviews. LET ME BE YOUR GUINEA PIG!!!!


I HOPE THIS POST WAS HELPFUL MY LOVES!
Leave me your feedback, suggestions / constructive criticism in the comments below & feel free to DM me!
<3
Love you all, xx!
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2 thoughts on “Peace Out Acne Scars (It Hasn’t Been Real), Hello Bright, Radiant & Youthful Glow!”

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