People who fight their acne often run up their victory flag when they are finally able to subdue the breakouts. The fact is that their fight is not yet over as the mark left by their acne can be as disastrous as the acne itself.
When the acne causes scarring of the skin, the appearing acne scars will cause problem not only to appearance, but also self-confidence. It is not uncommon to find people whose social and even career life is devastated by the scars. Fighting has to keep going even after the acne is subdued in order to make sure that no disfiguring scars are left on the affected skin.
The main topic of this article is how to use aloe vera gel for acne scars removal. Aloe vera or true aloe has long been known as a succulent plant that is great for diet and skin treatment. Ancient Egyptian calls it the plant of immortality due to its many distinctive healing qualities.
Before we jump into that topic, however, we will elaborate first how acne scars are formed, various treatments that are commonly used to treat them, and why you ultimately have to rely on aloe vera instead of those treatments to fight acne scars.
This article will also cover the proper way to use aloe vera in order to make sure that its use in getting rid of the scars can truly be effective and safe.
How Acne Scars Are Formed
Dead acne will leave mark on the skin. There are generally two types of mark left by acne: flat brownish mark and indentations on the skin. Flat brownish mark appears due to hyperpigmentation of the affected skin. When acne causes damage to the skin, the body will protect itself by producing a large amount of melanin.
When acne disappears, the overproduced melanin will still be left on the affected skin, causing the emergence of flat and dark spots. Flat brownish mark will eventually fade away, though the fading process may take long time to finish.
Nevertheless, even if the mark has not faded away, it can easily be concealed with cosmetics. Because the mark is flat, any cosmetic product that can cover it can keep it completely out of sight.
Acne scars are the real disaster. Acne scars occur when acne not only causes the skin to be infected and diseased, but also damages its tissue so severely that when it is finally died, the damaged tissues will either be wasted away or form raised fibrous tissues. This will then determine what kind of acne scars that will appear on the affected skin.
If the tissue damage causes wasting away, atrophic scars, which may take the form of ice pick scars, boxcar scars or rolling scars, will occur. If the tissue damage causes the formation of raised fibrous tissues, hypertrophic scars or keloids will occur.
Why are those scars considered disastrous? They indeed don’t cause pain or discomfort, but because they are not flat, hiding them is a difficult task. Some acne scars will also remain on the skin permanently, unlike acne marks that will eventually fade away. There is almost no cosmetic that can completely hide them because of their bumpy and uneven surface. The only way to make them disappear is by getting rid of them completely.
This is where people with acne scars should find the best treatment to get rid of their scars. Using aloe vera gel is just one of tens of treatments that can be used to remove acne scars. We will discuss about each of those treatments before we ultimately reach a conclusion of why using aloe vera is considered a better option.
How to Prevent Acne Scars from Occurring?
The best treatment for acne scars is to prevent them from ever occurring. Therefore, before we jump into discussion about treatments for correcting this skin disorder, it will be better for us to talk about how to prevent the disorder from occurring.
Here are some effective ways to prevent the occurrence of acne scars.
Recognizing the type of acne that will likely cause scarring
Although all kinds of acne can potentially cause scarring, inflammatory acne is more likely to cause scarring than others. Inflammatory acne is usually swollen, red and painful. When it occurs, the skin will be severely damaged because this acne affects not only the outer layers of the skin, but also its deeper layers.
When it is finally died, the wasting away of skin cells will affect multiple layers of the skin, thereby causing scars. When you suffer this kind of acne, treat it gently and immediately to make sure that it doesn’t cause serious damage to your skin.
Don’t pick, pop or squeeze your acne
People with acne are often unable to resist the temptation of picking, popping or squeezing their acne, believing that by discharging its fluid and head, they will eventually get it to heal. Picking acne is always discouraged not only because it damages the already diseased skin, but also because the hand that is used to pick the acne may be unhygienic and may carry dangerous bacteria that may cause the skin condition to worsen.
Even if you treat your acne using the right method, you should do it gently especially if the method you are using involves touching the acne because if you do it harshly, your harsh touch is considered the same with pinching, which is obviously not good for your acne.
Promptly treat your acne in a proper way
You can prevent your acne (even the inflammatory one) from causing scarring if it is treated promptly using the right treatment. Keeping the affected skin area clean is one effective way to halt the spread and the damaging effect of acne. There are also home remedies and over-the-counter drugs that can effectively treat acne.
Here you can use aloe vera gel to prevent acne scars because aloe vera counteracts infection, moisturizes and soothes the skin, and reduces inflammation. You can use aloe vera gel that you extract directly from the plant or buy over-the-counter aloe vera gel, powder or juice.
If you need a professional help, you can always consult a doctor or dermatologist. Because there are many ways to treat your acne promptly, don’t ever delay its treatment if you don’t want it to cause scarring on your skin.
Don’t stop treating your acne even after it disappears
Don’t raise your victory flag when you successfully kill your acne because your fight must go on. Remember that dead acne may still reappear if you stop treating it. The acne may already disappear from the surface of the skin, but who knows if it might still affect the deeper parts of the skin? Continue treating your acne to make sure that it will not reappear later. Your doctor or dermatologist can help you determine how long you should keep treating your acne after it disappears.
If you have taken all of those preventive measures but scarring still occurs, you may need to consult your doctor or dermatologist. Sometimes, acne scars may be caused by factors that are difficult to avoid, such as genetics. People with acne scars running in their family are more likely to suffer from this skin disorder. Your doctor can tell you what actually the cause of your acne scars is.
Common Acne Scars Treatments
If scarring has already occurred, there is nothing that you can do but to try to get rid of the scars. Using aloe vera gel to remove acne scars is considered a safe and effective way to get rid of acne scars; however, we will talk first about various ways to treat acne scars and how using aloe vera gel is better than them.
There are several common treatments for acne scars that are known not only to be useful in treating the scars, but also to show efficacy that is clinically proven; however, because there are some risks associated with them, if you want to use those treatments to get rid of the scars, you have to be ready to anticipate their side effects.
When you consult a doctor to clinically remove your acne scars, the doctor may recommend you undergo one or more of the following acne scar removal treatments.
Your acne scars can be surgically removed using punch biopsy procedure. In this procedure, the affected skin tissue is surgically removed and the open wound is stitched or covered with transplanted tissue. When the wound finally heals, new skin tissue will be generated and the scars will disappear permanently.
Punch biopsy is a minor surgical procedure. Therefore, any dangerous risks of this surgical procedure can hardly be expected. However, this doesn’t mean that those risks are completely ignorable. Chances that side effects such as bleeding, infection, nerve injury, hematoma (blood clotting), scarring, and allergic reaction to anesthesia will occur are still present. The healing period of the wound can be long as well. Because this minor surgical procedure is not without risk, you should consult your doctor to get better understanding of its risks and whether you should worry about them.
Laser resurfacing involves the use of laser to burn the skin and to encourage skin regeneration. Laser resurfacing can be either ablative or non-ablative. Ablative laser resurfacing burns the entire area of the affected skin to wound it and to allow new skin cells to regenerate. Non-ablative laser resurfacing coagulates deeper skin layers without damaging the outermost layer of the skin.
Because it doesn’t wound the skin, healing period is usually faster; however, non-ablative laser resurfacing is known to be ineffective to remove severe acne scars. Ablative laser resurfacing can effectively treat severe scars, but because it wounds the skin, healing period is usually longer.
There are some risks associated to this laser treatment, including redness (erythema), swelling, itching, crusting, tenderness, hyperpigmentation, irritation, infection, and scarring. Like surgery, laser resurfacing is also expensive.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy
Intense pulsed light therapy is the shooting of intense light to the affected area of the skin. The high intensity of the pulsed light will burn highly pigmented area of the skin. Acne scars are often accompanied with hyperpigmentation.
If the scarring area on the skin is darker than its surrounding, IPL therapy can be used. Because the light only burns the highly pigmented area, this therapy is relatively safe for the neighboring skin area that has normal pigment.
Intense pulsed light therapy is relatively safe, although it may also cause some unwanted side effects, such as mild sunburn, skin turning pink, and pain during the treatment.
The indentation of acne scars can often be removed by injecting collagen to the affected area of the skin. Collagen is a fibrous protein that is the primary building block of the skin. By injecting collagen, which is derived either from cattle or from human, to the depressed area of the skin, the skin will have enough building blocks to rebuild the wasted away tissue.
Patients should be aware, though, that there are some possible risks associated to collagen injection. Allergic reactions, abscesses, lumpiness, swelling, bruising, and uneven skin tone around the treatment area are some of the most common side effects that the injection may trigger. Collagen injection is not cheap as well.
Botox injection has long been known as wrinkle killer. This role is found to be helpful in removing acne scars because wrinkling often occurs on the skin area around the scars. By injecting botulinum toxin to the affected area of the skin, the wrinkles as well as the scars they surround can be removed.
Despite its popularity, Botox injection is known to be risky treatment. On the injection area, it may cause muscle weakness, skin rash, itching, and bleeding. When the toxin is absorbed by the body, it may cause harm to various internal organs. Among the most serious side effects of Botox injection include respiratory problem, problem with vision, loss of bladder control, and chest pain.
Dermabrasion involves the use of rotating brush to exfoliate the skin area where acne scars occur. The exfoliation process is intended to remove dead skin layers and to allow new skin layers to regenerate. During the regeneration process, the damaged skin of the scars will be replaced with healthy skin, thereby effectuating the removal of the scars.
Dermabrasion is also not without risks. Some skin problems may develop on the sanded area of the skin, including irritation, infection, redness, pore enlargement, hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation, and acne.
Like dermabrasion, chemical peel is also a skin exfoliation procedure that is intended to remove dead skin layers and to replace them with new healthy skin layers. One distinctive feature of chemical peel is that it uses chemicals such as alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and phenol instead of brush or crystals. Alpha-hydroxy acid is used particularly used for non-invasive treatment whereas the other chemicals are used for more invasive one.
Some side effects, including redness, infection and heart, kidney and liver damage (especially if phenol is used), are associated to chemical peel. Chemical peel is also not very effective for treating hypertrophic acne scars.
Microneedling is minimally invasive skin treatment that involves neither surgical nor ablative procedure. The aim of this treatment is to create controlled skin injury. A microneedling device is used during the treatment to injure the skin and to encourage the body to protect itself by producing new healthy skin cells.
Because this procedure injures the skin, there is recovery phase required to allow the skin to heal. During this phase, various side effects, such as swelling and oozing, may occur. If the device used is not hygienic enough or if the skin is not kept clean after the treatment, infection may also occur.
All of those treatments share the same characteristics: they can remove acne scars almost instantly but they are not cheap and there are risks (which can be dangerous) associated to them. Aloe vera gel, which is a natural and risk-free remedy, might not heal the scars instantly, thereby requiring your patience; however, using aloe vera gel for acne scars is completely safe and cheap, if not free. For cautious people who don’t want to damage their skin or to suffer pain when trying to correct it, aloe vera gel is obviously a better choice.
The question that remains is, “if aloe vera gel, which is a natural remedy, is capable to get rid of acne scars safely and cheaply, can you simply use other natural remedies, which are similarly safe and cheap, to deal with acne scars?”
Indeed, you can use other home remedies to treat acne scars; however, you need to know that even if compared to other home remedies, aloe vera gel is still considered better because it is generally safer and because it has a lot more advantages other than simply healing the skin.
Other home remedies might be natural, but they are not always free from risks and side effects. The gel content of aloe vera is not only likely safe when applied topically to the skin and possibly safe when ingested, but also beneficial for your health because its phytochemical contents are considered great for improving not only the appearance of your skin, but also the overall health of your internal organs.
What Is Aloe Vera Gel?
Aloe vera is a succulent plant with thick and fleshy leaves. The leaves of this plant have been used since the dawn of time as herbal medicine and food supplement. When used as medicine, two parts of this plant can be used: its gel and its latex.
The whole leaf of aloe vera contains both latex, which is located just underneath the skin of its leaf, and gel, which is extracted from the inner part of the leaf. Products that are labeled as aloe vera gel may contain either only the gel part of the leaf, thereby omitting its latex part, or both the gel and latex parts of the leaf.
Aloe Vera Gel vs. Aloe Vera Latex
Aloe vera gel and aloe vera latex differ in appearance and safety standards. Aloe vera gel is clear and jelly-like whereas aloe vera latex is yellowish. Among the two, aloe vera gel is safer to use. According to WebMD, aloe vera gel is likely safe when used topically and possibly safe when taken orally whereas aloe vera latex is possibly unsafe when taken orally.
If you are concerned with any side effects of using this plant, you should make sure that the product you use is the pure extract of the plant’s gel. This way, you can make sure that the aloe vera remedy you use will not cause too much problem to you. And if you have to deal with its side effects, they will not be too difficult to overcome.
The Numerous Uses of Aloe Vera Gel
One clear reason why aloe vera is called the plant of immortality is that it has many medicinal uses that will be beneficial for your health. The following are ten greatest uses of aloe vera gel.
As a source of a multitude of vitamin
Aloe vera gel contains a large variety of vitamins that are considered beneficial for your health. Its vitamin contents include vitamin A (beta-carotene), which improves ocular health and helps prevent breast and ovarian cancers; vitamin B1 (thiamin), which improves the metabolism of various substances, especially carbohydrates; vitamin B2 (riboflavin), which improves digestion and assists in processing other vitamins in the body; vitamin B3 (niacin), which handles cholesterol perfectly by reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) level and improving good cholesterol (HDL) level; vitamin B6 (pyridoxal phosphate), which aids in releasing glucose from stored glycogen and in the metabolism of amino acids; vitamin B9 (folate), which aids in repairing DNA and producing red blood cells; and vitamin C (ascorbic acid), which is a good antioxidant, a catalyst for various enzymatic reactions, and a stimulant for the production of collagen.
As a source of health-promoting minerals
In addition to containing a lot of vitamins, aloe vera is also rich in health-promoting minerals, including calcium, which is great for bones, muscles and circulation system; copper, which helps transport oxygen in the blood and maintains cardiovascular health; iron, which aids in transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood; magnesium, which aids in the synthesis of DNA and RNA and in various enzymatic processes; potassium, which is essential for improving brain’s health as well as that of nervous system; and zinc, which is essential for improving the body’s immune system.
As a source of essential amino acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Because protein is the predominant ingredient of cells (50 percent of every animal’s dry weight comes from protein), amino acids are considered essential substances for every living being.
There are 20 amino acids that serve as the building blocks of protein. Aloe vera comprises eight of them, including glutamic acid, which catalyzes cellular metabolism; histidine, which aids in many enzymatic functions; isoleucine, which regulates blood’s sugar and catalyzes the metabolism of fatty acids; leucine, which enhances muscle growth; lysine, which makes the skin look younger by stimulating collagen production; methionine, which promotes cardiovascular health; phenylalanine, which acts as painkiller and antidepressant; and valine, which aids in cell regeneration as well as energy enhancement in muscle tissue.
As a source of beneficial fatty acids
Aloe vera contains a large variety of fatty acids that are considered beneficial for your health. The fatty acids it contains include beta-sitosterol, which reduces LDL; campesterol, which also controls the absorption of LDL; caprylic acid, which acts as antifungal that controls disorders like candidiasis; linoleic acid, which reduces body fat content; linolenic acid, which benefits the cardiovascular system; lupeol, which prevents inflammation and microbial infection; oleic acid, which supercharges brain and muscle; palmitic acid, which is a good antioxidant; and stearic acid, which cleanses the skin.
As a cure for digestive problem
Aloe vera is known to be able to soothe irritated tissue. When applied topically, it soothes irritated skin. When taken orally, it soothes the irritated lining of the stomach and intestines. Many digestive problems that are caused by irritation can be cured by taking aloe vera.
As a detoxification agent
Due to its succulent and gel-like form, aloe vera gel will wipe away any toxins that are present in your digestive system as it flows through it. Aloe vera gel also helps expel toxins through sweat due to its mineral content.
As a pathogen killer
Aloe vera gel contains minerals and acids that are capable to kill a large variety of pathogens, including fungi, bacteria and viruses. In addition to containing the anti-microbial fatty acids that are mentioned above, it also contains sulfur, urea nitrogen and salicylic acid, all of which are effective pathogen killers.
As an alkalizing agent
Your body will be severely ill if the pH level of its internal organs is too low—a condition called acidosis. By consuming aloe vera gel, you can alkalize your body and improve its pH level. In this process, free radicals and other pollutions that cause the increasing acidity level in your body will be eradicated. As a result, you will feel not only healthier, but also more energized.
As an immune system booster
Aloe vera gel can boost your immune system if you consume it regularly according to your doctor’s recommendation. We have mentioned above that aloe vera contains a large amount of vitamin C, which is an effective immune booster. Besides containing the beneficial vitamin, it also contains polysaccharides, which are also known to be able to stimulate immune system improvement.
As a cure for various skin problems
Aloe vera gel is known to be a good moisturizer, making it a reliable remedy for various skin problems often experienced by people with dry skin. Aloe vera gel is also known to be an effective cure for acne as well as the scars that are left by dead acne. We will talk more about this below.
How to Use Aloe Vera Gel for Acne Scars?
Aloe vera gel is known to be an effective cure for acne scars. There are several reasons why aloe vera gel can be great for treating acne scars.
All vitamins that aloe vera gel contains have beneficial effects to the skin.
Aloe vera gel is a gentle remedy that less likely causes irritation and aggravation to the treated skin. In fact, aloe vera gel is capable to soothe irritated and inflamed skin tissue.
Aloe vera keeps the skin soft and fresh with its moisturizing capacity.
Aloe vera strengthens the collagen structure within the scar.
To use aloe vera gel for acne scars, you should take the following steps.
Get aloe vera gel. You can manually extract it from the leaves or buy it.
If your skin is dry, you can moisturize it first using any moisturizer that you have. You can also use aloe vera gel as a natural moisturizer.
Apply the gel to the skin area with scars about 2 or 3 times a day. Do this treatment every day until your scars fade.
How long should you keep doing the treatment before your scars disappear? The lengthy treatment period is probably the worst thing about using aloe vera gel to treat acne scars. Although the treatment length may vary depending on the severity of the scars, it is generally long.
You may need to keep doing the treatment for one or two months until you can see visible effect. If you are not sure whether your treatment has always been on the right track, you can always consult a specialist. You can consult a doctor or a dermatologist to have your treatment regularly monitored and to get valuable advices of how to reach optimal acne scars healing result using aloe vera gel as your remedy.