In her weekly column, SERENE green beauty columnist, makeup artist and holistic coach Rebecca Casciano tackles some of our most burning beauty questions. Have something on your mind that needs an answer? Email [email protected].
Q: After a breakout, I scar very easily. I am looking for a natural product and/or ingredient to help speed up skin cell turnover. Can you recommend anything? Also, what’s the best technique for covering the scars? -Molly, 29, NYC
A: As someone with acne-prone skin, I’m all too familiar with the undesirable after-effects of scarring, so I totally understand! While pimples are certainly annoying, they are short-lived. The scars they can leave behind however, may take months to disappear, or even cause permanent damage. A scar is simply the result of injury to the skin, which in the case of acne, happens when bacteria and sebum build up in the sebaceous gland. In some instances, even after the infection heals, the skin does not return to its former state of clarity. There more inflammation present, such as with severe acne, the more likely a scar will remain. Also, skin with more melanin has a greater chance of scarring.
First, I should mention that the most effective approach to scarring is to reduce the chances of it happening in the first place. You have probably heard this before, but picking or squeezing a pimple, blackhead or scab will further damage the skin and make it more likely to create a scar. Trust me, I know it’s easier said than done! In the next moment of temptation to pick or squeeze, try to remember a blemish is temporary, but a scar can last a lifetime!
That said, I would love to share the some of the wonderful natural products and ingredients I have found to be helpful in fading acne scars, or any damage to the skin. I often call the skincare line Blissoma a godsend, because I had never observed such improvements in my skin after using a product. Perhaps it’s no surprise, as Blissoma is hand-crafted using all-natural, organic botanicals that are brimming with nutrients and antioxidants. I recommend using the Peace Evening Calming Creme, which features restorative minerals from dulse seaweed, comfrey to speed cell turnover and Vitamin E to promote healing. During the day, the Smooth A+ Perfecting Serum helps prevent breakouts using skin food such as coriander, fennel and yarrow, while reducing hyperpigmentation with licorice and Heather Flowers. These lovely products have helped me see less of my scars over time.
The best technique for covering scars while they are healing is to apply a small amount of concealer, using a small, flat brush. Rather than using strokes like you would to apply foundation, “stipple” or tap it directly on the area and blend carefully into the surrounding skin. Lightly layer the concealer until you have reached your desired level of coverage. If you are wearing foundation, concealer should be applied afterwards. Dust lightly with a loose or pressed powder to set both foundation and concealer in place. In most cases, your concealer should match your skin tone. However if your scar is highly pigmented, you may need to use one with complementary hues to neutralize the scar tissue, such as peach for purple undertones and olive for red undertones.
Lastly, you will want to choose a concealer made of mostly natural, plant-based ingredients that can help nurture skin issues, rather than merely covering them up, or even contributing to them. Ultimately, the same can be said about your diet and lifestyle choices, but I will delve into that another time! After all my years of dealing with acne scarring, both personally and professionally, the biggest lesson I have learned is simply to love the skin you’re in! Although we all desire a smooth, even complexion, our scars can be a powerful reminder that we, like our skin, are resilient and capable of deep healing.
A graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Rebecca has trained with mind-body medicine visionaries such as Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, Marianne Nestle, and David Wolfe. Guided by her mother’s words “When you look good, you feel good” Rebecca has been a fashion/celebrity make-up artist for over 12 years. As a make-up artist, she only uses products that are safe, sustainable and effective. As a green beauty and wellness coach, she passionately educates women on the benefits of a nourishing, plant-based lifestyle and beauty routine.
SERENE members enjoy 50% off her signature ‘Green Your Beauty Routine’ consulting. Email [email protected] for more info.