Acne is a skin condition that’s particularly annoying since it requires constant skin care rituals, but the most powerful negative effects of acne are psychological. Acne changes the appearance of a person, and if especially prominent on the face, it can lead to a lot of self-esteem problems. What makes matters worse is the formation of acne scabs which in turn often become scars. And severe scars can sometimes last for life. But you won’t have acne, right? Wrong.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience acne. What’s worse is that acne can occur at any stage of life, even in your 30s or 40s. In fact, the frequency of acne among adults is increasing, especially among women - nearly 15% of adult women deal with acne. What acne is trying to tell you is that your hormones may be out of whack. Most adult acne is, in fact, hormonal acne, which means that not even us, adults, are spared of this.
So, chances are that yes, you will have acne, and thankfully, there are dozens upon dozens of ways on how to deal with it. But today’s specific problem is largely unaddressed - acne scabs, and what to do about them.
First things first - you need to realize that scabs are one of the body’s many natural ways to protect and heal itself. We’ve all seen what a scab looks like. It’s a fairly gross looking protective crust that forms over any wound we’ve managed to inflict on ourselves. (Well, and that others have managed to inflict on us when I think about it.)
Scabs are made out of dried blood and other blood fluids, as well as dried blood cells and immune cells. The purpose of the scab - including the acne scab - is to form a sort of protective dome over the wound. So you should not, under any circumstances, try to pull off a scab by force. That will just make the wound worse and make it susceptible to inflammation. Plus, this messes up with the healing process of the skin, increasing your chances of turning that wound in a scar.
All that I said so far is twice as important and twice as applicable when dealing with acne scabs. Acne form due to many reasons, and often because of inflammation, and, unless your acne is purely hormonal, chances are that there is a bacterial infection roaming about your skin too. Removing the acne scab will expose the crater your pimple made and invite in even more bacteria.
Additionally, peeling off an acne scab can cause a lot of bleeding and further structural damage to your already damaged skin. Instead of letting your skin take its time and heal itself, you’re basically poking new tears in it. If you want to end up with scars all over your face, this is how to do it - just pull off the acne scabs by force.
Wondering how to treat acne scabs? You don’t.
There are a dozen better ways to do something about acne scabs that don’t involve going all Conan the Barbarian on them. The trick is to leave the acne scab alone, but make it less visible or, well, less unpleasant to look at. That’s because we want to let the body do its magic and close our acne wound unimpeded. The key is to keep acne scabs clean and moisturized, and there are several methods to do this.
It goes without saying that hygiene is important. But it’s twice as important when dealing with acne and especially acne scabs. Ideally, you should be washing your face - or the area with the scab - twice a day. But you’ll have to be gentle and take care not to damage the scabs.
After you’ve washed your face, it’s a good idea to use oil to moisturize your skin - especially if you’ve used a dry soap. Many oils are good at moisturizing. From Vitamin E oil to coconut oil, shea butter, castor oil, argan oil, almond oil, olive oil, and even emu oil, nearly all oils can improve the elasticity and moisture of your skin. But be careful when applying - too much oil will make your skin oily. Just dab a little on the acne scab and that’s it. If small pieces of the acne scab fall off - let them. Remember, don’t use force. For more on oily skin, go here.
Soak a clean cloth in warm water and then squeeze the extra water. Touch the warm compress on the area where you have the acne scab and hold it for at least 10-15 minutes. It’s good to do this twice a day, just make sure you’ve washed your face first. The warmth and the water vapor will soften the scab, make its old pieces fall off more easily and help the wound to heal.
One can easily confuse these leaves with the banana-like fruit of the same name, but the differences are both in shape and function. Plantain leaves (scientific name Plantago major) is a green plant native to Europe, North America, and even Asia. It has a long history of being used as a medicine, especially for conditions affecting the skin. Chances are you have plantain leaves growing in your backyard, but if you’re not that lucky, you can surely find some in the wilderness or at the local market. Alternatively, you can use a skin care product that contains plantain.
Once you have acquired some fresh plantain leaves, take around 10 of them and put them in a pan containing around 1 inch of water. Boil them slowly until you notice they have become soft. Then, mash them into a paste. After the paste has cooled off, it’s good to add some oil to it so as to make it more pleasant and moisturizing. Finally, apply the plantain paste on the acne scabs, and fasten them using bandaid or gauze. You can leave it overnight and rinse it off in the morning. If the acne scab is on your face, 15 minutes and several times a day is enough. Since it has healing properties, the plantain paste should soothe the acne scab and even make it fall away without harming the skin.
Ah, our good old friend, the magical aloe vera. If you can’t find any skincare or acne-care products that contain aloe vera (and I doubt that will happen), the plant itself will do. Regardless if you just happen to have aloe vera plants around or you have purchased some from the market, this is pretty easy to do.
Just cut off a small piece of the aloe vera plant and try squeezing some of its juice over the acne scab. Don’t touch it, and leave it to dry. You can repeat this procedure several times. After that, you can rinse off your face gently, and see improvements with the acne scab. Again, a product containing aloe vera, or containing a highly concentrated form of the plant’s gel will also work fine.
Nowadays you can find this in almost every well-stocked supermarket. But you should be careful with spilling onion juice or garlic juice all over your face since it can irritate your skin. And not just the skin, I foresee a lot of crying in your future if that happens, too. Jokes aside though, vegetables are super healthy for your skin, and garlic and onion are just a small part of it.
So here’s how to apply it properly. Take a Q-tip and apply several drops of garlic juice or onion juice onto it. Then, gently rub the Q-tip over the acne scabs and let it dry. If you find the stench unbearable, rinse your face off. This can be repeated several times a day. Onion and garlic are known to contain antifungal, anti-bacterial and other healing ingredients within them.
Open a history book and I guarantee you, the word honey will be found somewhere among the first pages. That’s because honey is objectively awesome, and humans have discovered this since ancient times when they first managed to steal some without getting stabbed to death by angry bees.
As with the garlic juice above, you can use a Q-tip or a cotton ball to apply honey to your acne scabs. Around half of a tablespoon should be more than enough honey to apply to all affected areas. You can leave it on the skin for half an hour. Because honey is sticky, you will be grateful if you cover it with gauze or a bandaid. Then, wash it off gently, using warm water.
Calendula definitely has some awesome healing properties and has been used in folk medicine for thousands of years. So how to use it for your acne and its scabs?
First, acquire some oils. Calendula oil is a must, but you will need another oil that will act as a carrier for this balm. Almond oil, castor oil, mineral oil, or olive oil will do. If you’re not averse to the paste-like texture of coconut oil, you can try mixing calendula oil with it too. Add 3-5 drops of calendula oil to the carrier oil and then apply it topically to the acne scabs by a cotton ball or Q-tip. No need to rinse it off, and you can repeat it several times a day.
Because apple cider vinegar has powerful antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. And on top of that, it promotes skin cell growth. However, it can be irritating, so you should be careful with applying it. Here’s a safe way. Take 50mL of clean water and add up to 5mL of apple cider vinegar. That’s approximately a 10:1 ratio. Dab a Q-tip or a cotton ball into the mixture and then apply it carefully over the scabs. Rinse it off gently after 15 to 20 minutes or so.
Well, we’ve learned a lot and come a long way. Scabs, and especially acne scabs, are there to protect your body and prevent the formation of scars over your skin. However, we don’t have to run around carrying bloody scabs all over our faces. There are safe ways on how to clean them, soothe them, and help our skin heal. From honey to aloe vera and warm compresses, we can be our body’s ally. Remember, whatever you do, don’t tear off an acne scab!
This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances, and its goal is to offer a general view of the subject. In case you are suffering from a severe case of acne, you should consult with a dermatologist or a certified medical professional.