Aug 042012
 

I have noticed that there are many people struggling with acne marks and scars and so I thought I’d share a solution for getting rid of acne and acne scars that I kind of put together for myself. I hope some of you find it helpful :-).

From the age of around 14 to 21, I suffered from acne on my face. It left me with scarred and pitted cheeks that remained with me for the next 9 years. Then at the age of 30, I suffered from another bout of acne leaving me with a few more scars.

Unfortunately, my skin does not heal very well. Most of my skin injuries leave me with a visible, dark scar. As you can imagine, I did not appreciate having a face that looked like the surface of the moon – pits, dark spots and all. I set about doing some research on the Internet about how to get rid of these vestiges of my teen and adult acne. The solution I came up with did not remove the pitting to any great extent, but it certainly stopped the pimples, almost completely cleared the dark spots and improved the overall texture of my facial skin.

I have included a couple of snaps here to show you what I looked like before and after starting my remedy. The ‘Before’ snap is the only proper snap of my face that I have from the period before starting my acne remedy. It was taken with my camera phone and so it’s not a good quality one. The ‘After’ snap was taken with an SLR camera and is, therefore, of much better quality. However, I would like to point out that the poor quality of the first snap should have blurred my scars and made me look better :-), whereas the high definition of the second snap should have made all my spots painfully obvious. In spite of this, you will see that my face in the second snap looks considerably better than that in the first snap.

Before (A): Scars before starting my acne remedy

Before (B): Scars before starting my acne remedy (scars circled)

This snap was taken when I was going through my second bout of acne or my adult acne at the beginning of this year. I’ve circled the marks in the second snap since this is not a good quality snap and you may not be able to distinguish the marks easily. They were a dark, dull brown at the time of this snap. At least if they had been black, I could have passed them off as beauty spots :-).

Update: Okay, so I managed to find another clearer snap of my acne scar face. These were taken with the SLR camera so every blemish is painfully obvious. Even so, I’ve circled the marks in case you can’t see them. Here they are:

Before (pic 2): Scars before starting my acne remedy

Before (pic 2): Scars before starting my remedy (circled)

And now here’s a snap of me after 2 months of using my acne remedy:

After: My face 2 months after starting my acne remedy

See? Loads better! The scars have either gone or faded and the texture of my skin is way better than before.

My solution:

  1. For internal skin repair (dark spots, uneven skin tone) I started taking 2 capsules of Seven Seas cod liver oil and 1 capsule of Evion Vit E (400mg) daily.
  2. I switched to a face wash that contained salicylic acid (beta-hydroxy acids or BHAs). The one I’m using now is Garnier PureActive Pore Unclogging wash. I also have Clean & Clear Morning Burst which is another face wash suitable for oily skin that contains salicylic acid. I used the facewash only twice a day.
  3. I stopped using toner. If I felt my pores needed tightening, I’d just use ice all over my face.
  4. I found a good moisturiser for my oily skin. It was an aloe vera gel by Forest Essentials. It works fine in the summer. I need a slightly heavier one for winter.

The above routine started showing results within the same week. By the end of a month, all my dark spots had faded to almost nothing. Only the really dark and stubborn ones were holding on for dear life. And now, in the 3rd month since I started this routine, even the stubborn ones are fading away. As for the pimples, they’ve disappeared altogether.

Why did this routine work?

  1. The cod liver oil provides the extra Vit A that acne-prone skin needs. This works in conjunction with the Vit E. Therefore, they have to be taken together. There is an optimal proportion of Vit A to Vit E. For details on the role of these vitamins in fighting acne and the quantities, you can read http://www.acne.org This is just my simplification of the information given in the website. Basically, these 2 vitamins reduce the scars and improve the texture and appearance of your skin. If you have issues with consuming cod liver oil capsules, the above-mentioned website suggests intake of certain quantities of butter or palm oil.
  2. The salicylic acid in the face wash is a kind of non-abrasive exfolliant which cleans out the pores. It removes the dead skin and sebum (oil secreted by the skin) which cause whiteheads and pimples. Apparently, this process happens naturally for people with normal, acne-free skin. However, those with acne-prone skin have sebum glands that work overtime and so these people need a little outside help.
  3. I found out that toner and astringents can dry out the skin more than necessary. This is especially the case if you’re already using a drying facewash like a scrub or one with salicylic acid (which is an exfolliant). More dry skin means more dead skin getting into your pores and mixing with the sebum to create whiteheads and pimples. Frankly, I found that my pores reduced in size a bit after I stopped using toner.
  4. Moisturiser is necessary for your skin even if it is oily or acne-prone because those pimples are not formed ONLY from the excess sebum. They are the result of a combination of dry or dead skin cells and sebum. The cleansers that help acne tend to be drying so you need to replenish the moisture (NOT the oil) lost during cleansing. Therefore, a good OIL-FREE moisturiser is essential. If you don’t follow this step, all the other steps in this skincare routine are rendered useless.

I also continued my routine of going for a facial once a month. However, I do recommend going at least twice a month initially until all your whiteheads and blackheads have reduced significantly. The only reason I didn’t do it was because I didn’t have the time. Perils of being a mummy :-)! Do make sure that your facial is done correctly. A bad facial can put all the scars back onto your face.

Sunscreen made its way into my skincare routine at the same time that I started the solution described above. This is because I realised that I was not really giving my skin a chance to recover if I kept exposing it to harsh sunlight that would damage it further every time I went out. Find one that has a high SPF and that is oil-free or at least light in texture. I am using Biotique’s Carrot sunscreen lotion at present.

I’m sure you all know this tip but I’ll repeat it anyway because it is so vital: don’t pick at pimples or at the scabs left after the pimple has burst. And lastly, lots of water, a good amount of sleep, limited intake (not absence) of oily food are all obvious parts of any acne-fighting routine.