Scarring is permanent… or is it? No matter how careful you are, acne scars are difficult to completely avoid but what if I told you that most of those scars can fade away easily with the help of some common skincare ingredients that you can find at your local drugstore? Read on to find out more.
Unless you’ve hit the good skin lottery, you probably aren’t a stranger to acne and acne scarring. In fact, most of us are probably guilty of, at one point or another, the dirty habit of picking at them, causing damage to our skin that results in scar marks left behind as a reminder of our lack of self-control.
“Acne scars are the result of inflammation from acne blemishes. As the acne pore swells, a breakdown occurs in the wall of the pores.” explains board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology, Dr Corey L. Hartman. “Some acne blemishes are small and the scars created are shallow and heals quickly. But sometimes the contents of the blemishes spill into the surrounding tissue and cause deeper scars.”
Now, don’t get confused. There is a difference between acne scars and hyperpigmentation. Acne scars are the textural changes that develop as a result of severely inflamed acne nodules and cysts that occur deep in the dermis, whereas hyperpigmentation causes the skin to darken after inflammation but the texture of the skin remains the same.
The good news is, there are a number of skincare ingredients that can help brighten, fade and speed up the healing process of most types of acne scars. Here are the top 8 ingredients to consider incorporating into your basic skincare routine to help heal those scars. Fair warning: do not attempt to incorporate all 8 ingredients into your daily skincare routine at once.
01 Vitamin C
If you are looking to diminish the appearance of acne and hyperpigmentation fast, Vitamin C is your best friend. A potent antioxidant, Vitamin C helps neutralise free radicals and reduce redness, significantly improving the appearance of acne lesions. But Vitamin C can also heal acne scars by increasing the synthesis of collagen and elastin, proteins responsible for strength and elasticity and vital for healthy skin.
Its ability to improve collagen and elastin production also means that Vitamin C can work to diminish early signs of ageing that include fine lines and wrinkles. A powerhouse ingredient indeed! Try the Bright Side Up Brightening Serum from I Dew Care, Vitamin C and E work together to combat hyperpigmentation while Grapefruit Extract helps to lighten scarring and brighten your complexion.
02 Lactic Acid
Lactic acid is a mild and gentle acid that is highly effective in clearing pores, reducing swelling and redness, and exfoliating the skin when applied topically. It sloughs away dead skin cells, which in turn encourages the development of new, brighter looking layers of skin helping reduce the appearance of those post acne blemishes. Along with improving the texture of your skin by helping smooth out rough or uneven scar tissue, Lactic Acid also lightens the tissue giving those blemishes a less conspicuous and more natural appearance.
Beautifully packaged in a traditional cypress wood masu traditionally used to drink sake, the Masu Soap contains Lactic Acid to help smooth out those blemishes, and probiotics to strengthen your skin's microbiome, fortifying it against irritants that can cause acne breakouts.
03 Rosehip Oil
Apart from being a goldmine of anti-ageing actives, Rosehip helps in reducing redness, inflammation and acne scars due to its high content of Linoleic Acid and bioactive form of Vitamin A (Retinoic Acid) boosts both collagen and elastin production. This helps speed up cell regeneration and reduces the appearance of blemishes, both acne scarring and hyperpigmentation.
Just remember, Rosehip Oil can cause your skin to become photosensitive and it is recommended to apply Rosehip Oil only in the evenings to avoid unwanted dark spots. Try the Organic Rosehip Oil from Aromatica, organic and sustainably sourced, it promotes healing and reduces the appearance of scarring, fine lines and wrinkles.
04 Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera needs little introduction. Used for thousands of years to treat a number of conditions including soothing skin irritation and healing wounds, Aloe Vera can increase collagen and elastin fibre production. These fibres are responsible for strength and elasticity and help your skin “bounce back”, smoothing out uneven skin texture caused by acne scarring.
Aloe vera can be used to lighten acne scarring too. They contain a compound “aloesin” that helps reduce the overproduction of melanin, dark pigments that can make acne scars more visible. Less melanin means lighter and less visible acne scars! For an affordable gentle and soothing treatment, try Aromatica’s 100% Organic Aloe Vera Gel.
A form of Vitamin B3, it is anti-inflammatory and also neutralises free radicals, protecting your skin from further damage. Niacinamide simultaneously supports collagen synthesis and breaks down excess melanin. This increases the volume of your skin, smooths out those acne scars while breaking down the dark pigments, reduces the appearance of acne scars and gives your skin a more flawless appearance.
Ideally suited for Singapore’s warm and sunny climate is the Jeju lotus Leaf Radiance Brightening Serum from The Pure Lotus. This serum uniquely combines a high concentration of antioxidant-rich White Lotus Extract and Niacinamide to help reverse dark spots and treat acne scars and melasma. It also protects your skin by neutralising free radical damage, helping prevent more dark spots and brightening your complexion.
06 Salicylic Acid (BHA)
Salicylic acid is a type of beta-hydroxy acid aka BHA that can be naturally found in the bark of willow trees. BHA gently exfoliates the skin, buffing away dead skin cells and clearing away dirt, sebum and other impurities that clog your pores. This improves cell turnover and healing which in turn reduces the appearance of those embarrassing acne scars.
Also a great ingredient to fade hyperpigmentation, products containing Salicylic Acid often come in the form of a chemical peel such as TARA’s BHA Overnight Velvet Peel. It helps remove dead skin while supporting cell regeneration to improve skin texture and elasticity - which is key in reducing and treating acne scars.
Mugwort, otherwise known as “Artemisia”, has actually been used for a while now in skincare preparations. Specifically, Mugwort has grown popular in skincare products to help soothe and treat sensitive and acne prone skin. Rich in Vitamin E and other antioxidants that nourish and protect the skin, Mugwort purifies pores and calms skin, helping reduce the incidence of breakouts.
Used for centuries in traditional medicine and cuisine, Mugwort is a great natural ingredient to use to help treat acne and acne scarring. Try the Artemisia Calming Us Ampoule from Selenus. Formulated with premium Ganghwa Mugwort, it not only improves skin elasticity and dull and uneven skin tone caused by acne scarring, but also helps prevent further acne breakouts.
08 Centella Asiatica aka Cica
This antioxidant-rich, sensitive-skin-friendly k-beauty ingredient has a whole host of skincare benefits. It can soothe inflammation, calm sensitive skin and boost cell regeneration. It is a natural antibacterial that helps to keep acne breakouts at bay and can help heal mild burns, skin damage and fade scarring. Centella Asiatica or “Cica'' serums or creams are also a definite “go-to” for anyone suffering from skin sensitivity.
There are many Cica products in the market but if you are looking for a convenient way of adding it into your routine without actually changing it, try Lagom’s Cellus Sensitive Cica Powder, pure Cica Powder which you can add into your moisturiser, mix in with your toner or serum to give it that added skincare boost. If you find that too troublesome, Lagom also has one in a cream formulation, Cellus Sensitive Cica Cream.
Achieving plump and flawless skin is not a challenge if you know what to feed your skin. Shop a variety of skincare products at ABX today.
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About the writer
Rachel spent five ascetic years as a vegetarian before discovering spicy chicken wings are, in fact, a delicacy. She’s also a bit of a snob about fancy whiskey. Rachel writes early in the morning, then spends the rest of the day trying to impress her Maine Coon.