Acne Scarring

What are acne scars ?

Active breakouts are frustrating enough, but the scars acne leave behind are even more frustrating.

The good news is that acne scars can be treated. However, before treatment can start, you first have to get rid of any acne once and for all since new breakouts can lead to new acne scars.

Everyone experiences acne at some stage in life, and sometimes acne causes scarring as it heals.

Acne scars vary in appearance depending on the type and severity of the acne.

Scars are formed when a breakout penetrates the skin deeply and damages the tissues beneath it.

Before you try to treat your scars, it’s essential to know what type they are. Each type responds to treatment differently, and some treatments are better for particular types than others.

Types of acne scars

Atrophic Scars (depressed scars)

Atrophic scars are flat, shallow depressions that heal below the top layer of skin. These scars are commonly caused by severe cystic acne. However, other types of acne can cause them as well. The appearance of atrophic acne scars can vary depending on an individuals history with acne. There are three types of atrophic scars:

Boxcar scars Boxcar scars are broad, usually box-like depressions with sharply defined edges. Boxcar scars are caused by widespread acne, chickenpox, or varicella, a virus causing a red, itchy rash with blisters. Boxcar scars most often form on the lower cheeks and jaw, where the skin is relatively thick.

Ice pick scars Ice pick scars are more minor, narrow indentations that point down into the skin's surface. These scars are common on the cheeks. Ice pick scars tend to be very tough to treat and often require ongoing, aggressive treatment.

Rolling scars Rolling scars have a varying depth, with sloping edges that make skin appear wavy and uneven.

Recommended treatments

Hypertrophic and keloid scars (raised scars)

Unlike atrophic scars, hypertrophic and keloid scars form as raised lumps of scar tissue where the acne once was. This happens when scar tissue builds up, sometimes from previous acne spots. Hypertrophic scars are the same size as the acne that caused them. Keloid scars create a scar more significant than the acne that caused them and grow beyond the sides of the original spot. Hypertrophic and keloid scars are more common in the jawline, chest, back, and shoulders. People with darker skin colour are more likely to develop this type of scarring. The treatment of hypertrophic scars and keloids remains challenging. We recommend a skin therapy consultation to view the areas of concern.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Post-inflammatory erythema (PIE)

Both happen as the result of inflammation, often occur post acne or from trauma, inflammation or irritation to the skin.

PIH is a melanin response that leaves a dark mark on the skin

• PIH can happen when spots are irritated by picking or squeezing.
• PIH can result from an injury to the skin from a scratch, heat, UV exposure, or chemical burn.
• PIH tends to be more common in darker skin tones because of the abundance of melanin.

PIE appears as pink or red marks on the surface of the skin

• PIE is a vascular response to inflammation or irritation. Capillaries just under the skin's surface are stimulated by the inflammation creating a surge of blood in the area as a healing mechanism.
• Like PIH, PIE is caused by picking at pimples, UV exposure, chemicals, injury or irritation.
• PIE is more common in lighter skin tones. The lighter the skin tone, the longer the marks will remain. In most cases, neither PIH nor PIE is permanent, but fading them takes time, patience, SPF and a good consistent skincare regime in both cases.

Recommended treatments

Healthy Skin

Skin is the barrier that segregates the body from the outer environment.
It protects the body from water loss and microorganism infection. When healthy, the skin is typically:

  • Smooth
  • Firm
  • Evenly toned
  • Hydrated

Maintaining Healthy Skin

Healthy skin can be maintained through the use of:

  • Antioxidants – which defend against free radicals and enhance the protection of your SPF
  • SPF – broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection daily
  • Retinoids – which increase cell turnover, unclog pores, even out skin tone and reduce fine lines and wrinkles

To discuss a specific concern or multiple treatment areas please contact us on to arrange a personalised email, telephone or virtual consultation. This will allow one of our specialists to discuss your individual needs in confidence and provide you with a precise quote.