Types of acne scars and its treatment

Types of acne scars and its treatment

Written by Deepak Bhagat, In Health, Published On
April 12, 2021
Last modified on June 29th, 2021

Acne breakouts are common issues faced by teenagers to adults. Irrespective of your age, acne is bound to get you. What’s even more frustrating is when these leave behind marks of their deed. Acne scars are stubborn and refuse to leave easily. These also make our skin look dull and dark. Acne scars are formed when acne penetrates deep into the skin and damages the underlying tissues. Scars leave behind a mark or a spot or even indentations.

While these aggravate the suffering and are a constant source of distress, the good news is acne scars can be treated using various procedures and home remedies. For some people, home remedies work effectively for stubborn scars, you’ll have to consult a dermatologist. Before leaving your house ensure you’ve your protective equipment in place.

Types of acne scars

As mentioned before, acne scars are formed when the pimple penetrates deep into the skin hence damaging the tissues beneath it. Before you try to treat your scars, understand the type of scars you’ve. Each type of scar responds differently to a particular treatment. So before trying to treat your scar, understand the type of scar first.

Read on to understand the type of acne scars

Atrophic Scars

Atrophic scars are the most common type of scars on your face. Look for a depressed scar that sits below the surrounding skin. Atrophic scars are formed due to a lack of collagen production when the wound is healing. There are three types of atrophic scars:

Boxcar –

Boxcar is a wide, u-shaped scar with sharp edges. They are shallow or deep. The shallower they are, the better they respond to treatment.

Ice Pick –

Narrow, v-shaped scars shaped just like ice, these types of scars penetrate deep into the skin. They look similar to chickenpox scars and round or oval. These are most difficult to treat as they penetrate deep into the skin.

Rolling –

Rolling scars are wide depressions with irregular or round edges that have a rolling appearance.

Hypertrophic or raised scars

Most commonly found on the back or chest, this type of scar stands above the surface of the surrounding skin. These are caused because of the overproduction of collagen while healing.

Dark Spots

Discoloration left behind when a pimple has cleared is not a scar. Purple, red, or brown spots left behind by the zits often fade away with time.

At-home treatments

Before starting your treatment consult your dermatologist. Only a professional can guide you through nature and treatment for your scar. A dermatologist will also help you identify if your scars are genuine and not some other condition.

Alpha-hydroxy acids

Alpha-hydroxy acids are present in products used to treat acne. AHAs help removes dead skin and prevents clogged pores. These also make scars appear less noticeable. The mild acid helps remove the discoloration and rough skin by exfoliating the outer skin.

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is present in numerous serums, lotions, peels, and ointments. If you don’t want to buy products, you can use diluted apple cider as a toner. Apple cider vinegar is known for the presence of natural lactic acid. Lactic acid is best for all types of scars.


Retinoids are another active ingredient used for smoothening scars. Retinoids not only speed up cell regeneration but also improves your skin texture. Using products with retinoids as active ingredients can help reduce discoloration and make your scars less noticeable.

Retinoids tend to make your skin sensitive to the sun, so always apply sunscreen daily when using products with retinoids as active ingredients.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid is present in the majority of products used for smoothing acne scars. Be it pads, lotions or creams, face cleaners, it is present in every product in the market.

Salicylic acid clears your pores, reduces swelling and redness, and also exfoliates the skin when applied topically. You can try and include products rich in salicylic acid in your daily routine or try including them in your daily routine. Consult your dermatologist before pulling off any stunts especially when using chemicals on your skin.


Sunscreen acts as a protective layer that protects your skin from the harmful ultraviolet radiation of the sun. Sun exposure can darken your scars and make them even more noticeable. Wearing sunscreen every day not only protects your skin from sun exposure but also reduces the chances of darkening of the skin.

In-office procedures

If your scars are too deep and at-home treatments are not working for you then try procedures for smoothing your skin.

Chemical peeling

Used to treat deeper scars, this method uses strong acids or chemicals to treat your scars based on the severity of the scars, skin type, and the scarring caused by them. In chemical peeling, the outer layer of skin is removed to reduce the appearance of scars. Chemicals such as trichloroacetic acid or glycolic acid are used to treat the scars on your face.

Botox Injections

Botox or Botulinum toxin type A is prescribed medication used to smoothen the muscles of your face. Botox is a popular, expensive, and painful method of smoothening the skin. Botox is very effective in treating scars and the puckered skin around the infected area. A single dose of the Botox injection shows immediate effects on the texture of the skin.

Punch Excision

Punch Excision as the name suggests is a method wherein the medical professional surgically removes the scar mark on your face with a punch-like tool.  The punch used is of the same size as the acne mark.


Dermabrasion is one of the most sought techniques to remove scars on the face. This method is reserved for very deep acne scars. The procedure involves the removal of the damaged top layer of the skin with a device. The procedure also deeply exfoliates the skin and thus reduces the appearance of scars or dark appearance of scars from the skin.


With the advancement in technology, we now have various methods to treat acne scars on our faces. Micro-needling is one such gift of technology. In this procedure, a small hand-pen or a roller-like needle is used to prick the skin on the surface of the scars, thus puncturing the skin. The skin produces more collagen to heal the punctured skin and in turn, reduces the appearance of the scars present on the skin.

Laser resurfacing

Laser treatment has surged in the news for the lack of use of chemicals and scrubs. Laser resurfacing involves the removal of the top skin to reveal the younger skin cells present beneath the skin to reduce the visibility of the scars present on your skin. This procedure also increases the surface area of your skin.

There are many procedures available in the market, kudos to technological development. You can opt for surgeries in case of deeper scars. Most of these surgeries are performed in an office, so make sure you sit down with your dermatologist and take their opinion on it. Opt for the best-suited procedure according to your doctor. Acne scars can be frustrating but with the right guidance, you will be able to smoothen your skin. The best way to treat the scars is to avoid them in the first place. Avoid picking, plucking your zits.

Considering the virus still lurking around in the environment, schedule an online consultation session rather than going to the office. In case stepping out for your procedure make sure you disinfect your hands before you leave and carry a mask along with you.

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