All Types Of Acne Scars—And How To Recognise Them

All Types Of Acne Scars—And How To Recognise Them

Here’s everything you need to know about different types of acne scars 


Acne is a very common skin condition and, according to a report by the American Academy of Dermatology, around 85% of young adults experience acne. But they are not the only ones affected—acne can occur at any stage of life. 


Acne happens when the pores of your skin become blocked with oil, dead skin cells, or bacteria, but there are multiple factors that could cause this. Acne can also be caused by factors like hormones, lack of hygiene, dry skin, sun exposure, poor diet, medication, and allergies. 


Acne breakouts can be frustrating, and they can also leave scars on the face and other parts of your body. The term “scarring” refers to a fibrous process in which new collagen is laid down to heal a full-thickness injury. It affects 30% of those with moderate or severe acne vulgaris. While some acne scars heal over time, severe acne, especially cystic acne, can leave permanent scars. You are more likely to develop permanent scarring if you pick or squeeze your acne instead of treating it or allowing it to heal. 


What are the different types of acne scars?

What are the different types of acne scars

There are two main types of acne scars: Those caused by tissue loss, known as atrophic scars, and those caused by an excess of tissue, known as hypertrophic scars. Within these categories, there are four main types of acne scars:


  • Boxcar scars

Boxcar scars can be identified as round or oval depressions in your skin. They typically have sharp vertical edges. These types of acne scars give your skin an uneven, pitted appearance. Boxcar scars most often form on areas like the lower cheeks and jaw, where the skin is relatively thick. These scars make up about 20 to 30 percent of atrophic scars. Shallow boxcar scars are easier to treat than deeper ones. You can treat these scars with the help of treatments like dermabrasion, punch excision, laser therapy, and subcision. 


  • Ice pick scars

Ice pick scars are one of the more severe types of acne scars. Ice pick scars are deep and extend into the dermis. These scars form narrow pitted shapes in the skin. They can also look like large, open pores. These scars are named ice pick scars because they make the skin look like it has been pierced by a sharp instrument such as an ice pick. Ice pick scars, like other types of acne scars, are caused by severe acne lesions or outbreaks. Surgery or resurfacing procedures performed by a dermatologist are the most common treatment options for these scars.


  • Rolling scars

Rolling scars are one of the most common types of acne scars. These scars form as your acne heals. Rolling scars are pits in the skin with sloped sides. They have a varying depth, with sloping edges that form rolling or wave-like depressions across your skin. This type of scarring is more common in areas where the skin is thick, such as the lower cheeks and jawline. Once the acne has healed completely, rolling scars become less noticeable over time. However, they do not go away on their own. You can treat these scars with the help of treatments like microdermabrasion, laser therapy, dermal fillers, and chemical peels. 


  • Hypertrophic and keloid scars

Hypertrophic scars are thick and raised scars that grow above the surface of your skin. These scars happen when the scar tissue builds up from previous acne spots. One of the characteristic features of hypertrophic scars is that they are the same size as the acne that caused them. 

Even though they have similar characteristics, hypertrophic and keloid scars are different from each other. Keloids scars develop as connective tissue forms to heal a wound. A keloid continues to form even after the wound has healed, resulting in a large mound of scar tissue. Keloid scars form a scar that is larger than the acne that caused them and extends beyond the original spot’s edges. 

These scars are more common in areas like the jawline, chest, back, and shoulders. These scars can be treated with the help of treatments like cryotherapy, laser therapy, steroid injections, and surgery. 


To learn more about the different types of acne scars and different treatment options, book a consultation session here.

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