June 15, 2020 — 12 p.m EST
Almost every one of us has scars, or will develop a scar at some point in our lifetime. Anyone who’s ever had a bad bout of acne, has healed from an injury or surgery, or been pregnant or gone through a rapid growth spurt (helloooo stretch marks!), knows what it’s like to see these major life moments marked on their skin. And many of us are curious if natural ingredients can minimize stretch marks and if so, how can we use them to achieve skincare goals?
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There are several natural ingredients known to help minimize the appearance of scarring. However, there are a few different types of scars, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association. And it helps to know what kind of scarring you’re dealing with before you choose the appropriate product to minimize its appearance.
A dermatologist may recommend laser treatments, microdermabrasion, or chemical peels to treat acne scars, depending on the type and severity of the scarring. However, if you’re looking for less expensive, more natural approaches to treating acne scars, these simple options may help.
Black Seed Oil
Scars are a sign of healing. Acne scars in particular are the result of the body trying to repair damage to the skin by producing collagen, a substance naturally found in healthy skin. If you have concave scars or depressions, it means that your skin produced too little collagen while healing. If you have concave or raised scars, your skin produced too much collagen while healing.
The oil of the nigella seed, also called black seed, has been used as a remedy for centuries and has recently been shown in clinical studies to help reduce acne lesions, skin irritation and inflammation, and speed up the healing of wounds. While more testing (most studies to date involve animal subjects, not humans) is needed and black seed oil and dermatological treatments have not yet been approved as a topical skin treatment by the FDA, nigella seed oil has been used by many cultures throughout history, even as far back as the Ancient Egyptians, and is generally thought to be safe.
Like any product, black seed oil can cause allergic reactions or irritation in some people. If you’re going to use it, test the oil on a small patch of skin first to see how it affects you.
Rosehip Seed Oil
Rosehip oil, aka rosehip seed oil, is a widely available, relatively affordable skin care oil that’s used for a variety of reasons. Extracted from the seeds of rose plants, it’s full of nourishing compounds like vitamins A and C, linoleic acid, and antioxidants like tocopherols and carotenoids, that have long been thought to help your skin look its best. Vitamin A in some form (aka retinol) is often prescribed by dermatologists because it speeds skin cell turnover and can help with the appearance of everything from dark spots to wrinkles to stretch marks. And Vitamin C shows up in a lot of high-end skin care products because it is crucial to collagen synthesis, and collagen helps skin stay bouncy, elastic, and youthful. Collagen is also what your skin makes when trying to heal wounds, so it’s easy to see why it would help in reducing the appearance of almost any kind of scar, whether it be from an old injury, bad acne, or anything else.
Virgin coconut oil has been shown to have a multitude of positive effects on the skin, including increased development of collagen in wounds, decreasing the severity of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis (aka eczema), and improving the skin’s protective barrier. All of this is good news if you’re looking to minimize the appearance of scars from a past surgery or injury and improve your skin’s moisture levels and overall health.
While most frequently thought of as a natural remedy for sunburns, aloe vera’s natural soothing and moisturizing properties may be good for more than just burn relief. More studies need to be done to prove the specific effects of aloe vera on scars and stretch marks, but as it is known to be safe for use on the skin and to contain many beneficial vitamins, minerals, and enzymes—including vitamins A, C, and E—pure aloe vera is a harmless natural remedy to try.
Long thought to be an effective natural treatment for a whole host of maladies, garlic contains many compounds that show signs of having everything from antiviral to anticancer potential. Applying garlic topically also seems to help improve several skin issues, and garlic extract may possibly be an effective product to treat keloid scars — large, raised scars that often grow much larger than the original wound, and which are generally difficult to treat with any homeopathic remedies. However, more research still needs to be done to prove garlic’s effectiveness on improving the appearance of keloids.