DIY Acne Scar Treatment
When your acne is gone, often you still have left behind red marks or even deep rolling or pitted indents. There are many products you can buy pre-made that you can use to treat your acne scarring, and there are also DIY methods you can use to help improve it.
One of the best ways to help boost skin collagen production so skin can renew to improve the appearance of acne marks and scarring is to put a Vitamin C serum on the skin.
You can purchase Vitamin C serums pre-made and order them to be delivered to your doorstep, or, if you have extra time and want to experiment on your own, you can create your own DIY Vitamin C serum from scratch.
The Beauty Science Blog LabMuffin, run by a Chemistry PhD, created a great DIY Vitamin C serum that you can make at home and use as a DIY acne scar treatment.
Her DIY serum is simple to create, however note that it only lasts a few weeks, so once it starts to change color from clear to yellow, you’ll know it has oxidized and is past its short life span.
If you prefer to buy already formulated acne scar treatments, you can do that as well, and it can work out to be cheaper in the long run to purchase pre-made treatments, since you don’t have to buy your own ingredients to mix together, and you’ll save on time as well.
DIY Acne Scar Serum Ingredients
The LabMuffin home-made Vitamin C Serum recipe is easy to make because it only requires a few ingredients:
- L-Ascorbic acid powder:
L-Ascorbic acid powder can be bought as a dry solid powder, and is pretty stable and inexpensive. You can order it in a supplement store or on a site like iHerb, which Michelle did in her original recipe. She says that some powders have issues dissolving, but her NutriBiotic powder didn’t have this problem. She mentions powder is better than crushed tablets for this recipe because the tablets cost more and you can end up with more random powder chunks on your face.
- Distilled water
Michelle explains that, “Metal ions in your water can speed up the rate of LAA decomposition.” This is why you should use distilled or deionised water to make your homemade Vitamin C serum. Another option is to get a nanofilter that filters your water through a thin filter to take out metal ions. If you want you can also simply use tap water, and know you’ll need to re-make your serum more often due to a quicker expiry.
- Baking soda
If you mix only ascorbic acid and water, the pH is too low (too acidic), which causes irritation on the skin that isn’t needed. That’s why the next ingredient is baking soda, which is alkaline, and is used to increase the pH so it is closer to skin’s natural pH for less irritation.
- pH strips
You’ll need to get pH strips so you can measure the pH of your serum. The pH doesn’t have to be a super exact number, but you will need to measure the pH so don’t skip this step. Michelle recommends a four-square indicator because they are easier to read.
- 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon
Michelle explains how you’ll need to measure the ingredients when mixing, “1/4 teaspoon is 1.23 or 1.48 mL (depending if it’s US or Imperial), which translates to ~1 g ascorbic acid.” She says that it is better to use a weighted scale if you have one but that you don’t need to be super exact when measuring for this recipe if you don’t have a weighted scale.
- An airtight container to put the serum in
You’ll need an airtight container to put your finished serum into. The more airtight, the longer the serum will last. You can wash and re-use a cleaned serum bottle you have already or buy a bottle to use online.
DIY acne scar serum directions
The LabMuffin DIY acne scar Vitamin C serum is easy to make once you have the ingredients above.
- First you’ll need to calculate how much serum will be able to fit into your container in millilitres. You can look at the packaging to determine how many millilitres fit inside.
- Next, you will need to calculate how many grams of LAA you need:
For a 5% serum, multiply the volume of your container in mL by 0.05 to get the LAA required in grams. (grams = mL x 0.05)
For a 10% serum, multiply the volume of your container by 0.1 to get the LAA required in grams. (grams = mL x 0.1)
For a 20% serum, multiply the volume of your container by 0.2 to get the LAA required in grams. (grams = mL x 0.2)
For example, Michelle made 20 mL of a 10% vitamin C serum: grams = 20 x 0.1 = 2 grams LAA.
- Make sure to clean your container. Wash it thoroughly then rinse it with alcohol (methylated spirits) and let it dry. After that rinse it a few times with your distilled water. If you’re short on time you can skip the alcohol wash but know this could cause the serum to yellow and expire more quickly.
- Next put the right amount of L-Ascorbic Acid into your container. You can use a scale to weigh to the nearest 0.1 g or you can use your 1/4 teaspoon measure and assume that a level teaspoon is approximately 1.5 g. No need to be super exact – your skin won’t respond very differently to 5% ascorbic acid vs 7% ascorbic acid.
- Dissolve the LAA powder in half the distilled water. Put the lid on the container and shake it until the powder dissolves.
- Add all the water then shake it more to fully mix and dissolve it.
- Next adjust the pH. Put a drop of the serum on your pH strip to check the pH. The pH will likely be too low. Add tiny bits of baking soda and check the pH each time. You want the pH to end between 3 and 4.
Michelle used 20 mL container and wanted a 10% serum, and she ended up needing around 3 rice grains’ worth of baking soda to get her pH to ~3.5.
- Now you need to protect the bottle from light. To do this make sure you used a dark container and now you can also wrap your container in foil to protect it from the light.
How long does this DIY acne mark serum last?
Even when you protect this serum from light by using a dark bottle or wrapping the bottle in tinfoil, Michelle explains that this serum will slightly yellow after a week, and get very noticeably yellow after 2 weeks, so she says 2 weeks is the longest the DIY serum could last.
At that point you’d need to remake the serum so you could use it agian.
Michelle explains, “The pH is low enough that most bacteria won’t be able to thrive so microbial growth isn’t a big worry, especially when you won’t be keeping the serum for very long.”
Michelle’s blog LabMuffin has a bunch of cool beauty DIY recipes and facts, so I’d recommend checking it out if that type of project interests you.
Let me know in the comments if you end up making the DIY Vitamin C serum and if you see any improvement in your acne marks after doing so! Also comment if you prefer a DIY Vitamin C serum, of if you prefer to buy one pre-made and simply have it shipped to you.