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Prevent Acne Scars by Avoiding These Irritants

Updated on February 21, 2016

Best Acne Scar Treatment

The best acne scar treatment is done in tandem with preventative care. There are several external forces that can irritate your skin and make acne scars worse, but if you follow these steps, you can help protect and heal your skin.

The sun can be an acne scar irritant
The sun can be an acne scar irritant

Limit Sun Exposure

One big myth about acne scars is that the sun will help lighten them. While we love the sun and all that it gives us (including Vitamin D), it can also cause damage to your skin. Exposing acne scars to the sun can cause them to darken even more and slow the healing process. This is because the same thing that tans your skin (melanocytes stimulated by UV rays) also leads to further discoloration of acne scars. Plus, UV rays cause premature aging and can irritate acne that you already have. To prevent worsening of acne or discoloring your skin, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher before heading outdoors, and be sure to reapply every few hours. Look for natural sunscreens or ones that say non-comedogenic (which means they have been specially formulated to not block your pores). Also, choose zinc oxide over titanium oxide for its beneficial and anti-inflammatory effects. I also recommend wearing a hat when out in the sun to ensure full facial protection.

Stop picking!

Yes, I know it's tempting, but you must stop picking at your face. Acne scars are made mainly of collagen, which is used to repair the skin. You lose collagen when there is severe inflammation, which is why many acne scars become indented. Picking leads to further inflammation and injury of the skin which leads to less collagen, which leads to more discoloration and scarring. Not only that, when you squeeze a pimple or pick at a scar you cause pus and bacteria to filter deeper into the skin, which can aggravate your skin more.

If you have a red or brownish mark on your face that shows up after a bad pimple, it should eventually fade as long as you leave it alone. Some serious acne will scar you no matter what, but in order to prevent the scars from worsening you must not pick the spots. If you have pain from your acne, apply ice to relieve discomfort.

Do Not Use Vitamin E

You may have heard that applying vitamin E is a great treatment for acne scars because of the moisture it delivers to your skin. However, most of the evidence available about vitamin E's benefit for scars is anecdotal at best and has not been scientifically proven to be effective. In fact, researchers from the University of Miami found the opposite to be true. They found that not only does the application of Vitamin E to acne scars have no positive effect, the nutrient can actually hinder its healing. The study showed that vitamin E had no effect for 90% of the patients, while 30% of the participants in this same study had an adverse reaction and their scars worsened. The found that the regular use of Vitamin E on one's face can cause contact dermatitis, which occurs when one becomes exposed to an allergen and develops an itchy, red, and tender rash. So avoid using Vitamin E as an acne scar treatment, and do your research!

Source

Avoid Damaging Makeup

Makeup, at one of its most basic functions, creates the illusion that skin even-toned and clear. While it can help to cover up unevenness, if it is makeup of a poor quality, it can prevent skin from breathing, clog your pores, and worsen your skin condition. Acne and acne scars can result from many factors, but the most common is clogged pores. When your pores are unclogged, your skin to breathe which allows for good circulation, a key process for the removal of toxins and clear skin. Acne can even form from the use of makeup. This is known as acne cosmetica. Typically, acne cosmetica is different from other kinds of acne because it does not involve inflammatory acne but rather shows itself as small bumps.

Several types of makeup exist and some are better than others for those who suffer from acne. Look for noncomedogenic makeup--these don't contain oil that can clog pores and are great for breakout-prone skin. Avoid thick, creamy makeup products that come in solid form or stick applications. The ingredients that keep them solid are waxes which are incredibly irritating for acne-prone skin. In addition to choosing the right kind of makeup, it is vital to wash your makeup off every night before going to sleep.

Make Small Changes to Your Diet

Fundamentally, acne scars are skin wounds that need healing, and eating a healthy diet gives you the essential nutrients to fight the infections that can complicate your skin and scars. Avoid processed foods, such as cookies, chips, and fast food, as these items have little to no nutrition and can lead to toxin build ups in your body, worsening its response time.

Instead, supplement your diet by eating fresh fruits and vegetables, or drinking their juices. Try drinking 1/2 cup of aloe vera juice every day to help flush toxins from the body. Drink plenty of water as it washes away toxins from your body and keeps you and your skin healthy. Add more of the skin-healthy, essential mineral zinc to your body. Zinc is available as a convenient supplement, or you can try to eat more legumes--bean, bean, and more beans. Experts say omega-3 fatty acids can help the skin, so eat foods that which are rich sources of the nutrient, like fish (a typical 3 oz. portion of salmon contains a 2,130 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids). Treating your whole body, inside and out, is one of the best acne scar treatments freely available.

Reduce Stress to Reduce Acne Scars

We've come very far in our understanding of the human body, specifically of how nerves of the skin can release something called neuropeptides. Neuropeptides are stress-induced chemicals that create inflammation in the skin. We already know that other many other aspects of the immune system in the skin are altered by stress, so it makes sense that it would also affect the skin.

That being said, figuring out how to reduce stress in your life is a great way to combat acne and improve your skin. If you find your thoughts going out of control, try a little bit of yoga or stretching. Concentrate on your body, the movement of your muscles, and your breathing. A few minutes of this can calm your mind and body and reduce anxiety while also improving the quality of your skin. Consider getting regular acupuncture to help balance energy and reduce stress. If you find your stress and anxiety is out of control, research cognitive and biofeedback therapies, which will teach you to better handle everyday stress and the anxiety of life.

Final Thoughts

Acne and acne scars can be painful, long-lasting, and no fun at all. But if you utilize the above changes to your lifestyle, in tandem with natural acne scar treatments, you are on your way to saying goodbye to discolored skin.

What have you discovered that irritates your skin and acne scars?

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