Scarring is perhaps the most discouraging facet of acne. All the hard work in getting rid of the pimple in vain because a scar took its place.
Today I want to share with you a simple way that may prevent acne scars. And this is something you should be doing anyway, moisturize. That’s right simply moisturizing can prevent acne scarring and possibly help existing scars heal faster.
Giving credit where it’s due, this post is based on a recent article at the FutureDerm blog, great if not little design-challenged site. That article itself is based on a study published in the December 2012 issue of the International Journal of Cosmetic Science. So there is science-base to this.
Please check out the article here: Study Focus: Moisturization is Very Important for Scar and Stretch Mark Repair
Why moisturizing can help prevent acne scars?
The top layer of the skin is more than a collection of dead skin cells. It creates what’s known as the skin barrier, and this skin barrier function plays a vital role in your overall health. It protects you from UV radiation, bacteria and other pathogens and regulates moisturize. Without this skin barrier function you would lose too much water and your water-rich internal organs would wither. So let’s take a moment to appreciate it.
Damage to the skin disrupts skin barrier function and leads to excessive water loss. As the skin senses excessive water loss it initiates an inflammatory response at the skin. Sometimes the inflammatory process makes a mess of the collagen production at the skin.
Collagen is sort of the support material for your skin. The structure of the skin is made of collagen, and this structure gives your skin form. We could call it the scaffolding that holds your skin in place.
Abnormalities in collagen production and transport to the injured site can cause a scar. Too little collagen and you get a depressed scar, like ice pick scars. Too much and you get a scar that’s raised from the surface of the skin.
With this bit of background info it’s easy to see how moisturizers can help. Regularly applying moisturizer to the damaged area keeps the site hydrated and prevents (at least to a degree) excessive water loss. This takes of the inflammatory pressure in the area, which means less disruption to collagen production and transportation to the site.
Reading the review paper it looks like moisturizing is one of the most important parts in scar treatment. In fact here’s a quote from the paper:
Indeed it has recently been quoted that ‘hydration of the scar surface is the basis of action of 90% of scar management systems on the market and that most oils, lotions and creams have beneficial effects on scars primarily on the basis of their hydrative capabilities.
So yeah, keeping damaged skin hydrates seems very important. The results from several studies show good improvements in scar healing with moisturizing. The FutureDerm articles includes some pretty impressive looking before/after photos.
Now the paper didn’t discuss acne scars, it focused on larger scars and stretch marks, but the findings should be applicable also to acne scars. The paper noted better results with occlusive therapy, basically moisturizing and then covering the site to further prevent water loss.
For most acne patients covering the scarred area is not very practical. But for some back or chest acne cases covering the area with silicon gel might help.
So there you have it. One of the best reasons I can think of to start moisturizing your skin. Please let me know what you think, and be sure to subscribe for blog updates.
Seppo Puusa, a.k.a. AcneEinstein shares rational advice about natural and alternative acne treatments. Read more about me and my acne struggles at the about me page.