Different Types of Acne Scars: Your Complete Guide

types of acne scars

Acne scars can linger long after the blemishes themselves have healed, affecting both the appearance and confidence of those who experience them. Understanding the different types of acne scars is crucial for effective treatment and management. Let's delve into the world of acne scars and explore the various options available for treating and minimising their appearance.

Understanding Acne Scars

What Causes Acne Scarring?

Acne scars develop as a result of the skin's healing process after severe acne lesions. Various factors contribute to their formation, including inflammation, the type and severity of acne, and individual skin characteristics.

Importance of Identifying and Treating Acne Scars

Identifying the type of acne scars is essential for determining the most suitable treatment approach. Proper treatment not only improves the appearance of scars but also boosts confidence and overall skin health.

Types of Acne Scars

Atrophic Acne Scars: Depressed Scarring

Atrophic acne scars result from a loss of tissue and collagen beneath the skin's surface, leading to depressions or indentations.

Icepick Scars

ice pick scars
Icepick scar

Icepick scars are narrow, deep scars that resemble small puncture marks on the skin.

Boxcar Scars

Boxcar scar

Boxcar scars have a wider base and sharply defined edges, creating a box-like appearance on the skin's surface.

Rolling Scars

Rolling scar
Rolling Scar

Rolling scars cause wave-like undulations in the skin due to the loss of collagen fibers.

Hypertrophic and Keloid Acne Scars: Raised Scarring

Hypertrophic scars are raised scars that develop when the body produces too much collagen during the healing process.

Hypertrophic Scars

hypertrophic and keloid scars
Hypertrophic scar

Hypertrophic scars remain within the boundaries of the original wound but protrude above the skin's surface.

Keloid Scars

Keloid skin scars
Keloid scar

Keloid scars extend beyond the boundaries of the original wound and can continue to grow over time.

Treatment Options for Acne Scars

Topical Treatments for Mild Acne Scarring

Topical treatments such as retinoids and chemical peels can help improve the appearance of mild acne scars by promoting cell turnover and collagen production.


Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that encourage skin cell regeneration and help fade acne scars over time.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels involve the application of a chemical solution to the skin, which exfoliates the outer layers and promotes smoother, more even skin texture.

Invasive Procedures for Moderate to Severe Acne Scarring

Invasive procedures like microneedling and laser resurfacing offer more intensive treatment options for moderate to severe acne scarring.


Microneedling involves creating controlled micro-injuries in the skin to stimulate collagen production and promote skin renewal.

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing uses concentrated beams of light to remove the outer layer of skin, revealing smoother, healthier-looking skin beneath.

Home Remedies and Natural Treatments for Acne Scars

DIY Remedies for Minimising Acne Scars

Several home remedies, such as aloe vera and vitamin E oil, can help reduce the appearance of acne scars when applied topically.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has soothing and healing properties that can help fade acne scars and promote skin regeneration.

Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E oil is rich in antioxidants and has moisturising properties that can improve the appearance of acne scars over time.

Herbal Treatments and Essential Oils for Acne Scar Reduction

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil possesses antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation and prevent infection in acne scars.

Rosehip Seed Oil

Rosehip seed oil is rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins that promote skin repair and regeneration, making it beneficial for fading acne scars.

Prevention and Skincare Tips to Avoid Acne Scarring

Proper Acne Management Techniques

Gentle cleansing and exfoliation, along with sun protection, are essential for preventing acne scars from worsening.

Gentle Cleansing and Exfoliation

Using mild cleansers and exfoliants can help prevent further irritation and inflammation that can exacerbate acne scars.

Sun Protection

Applying broad-spectrum sunscreen daily can protect the skin from harmful UV rays and prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in acne scars.

Lifestyle and Dietary Changes to Promote Skin Healing

Balanced Diet with Skin-Friendly Nutrients

A diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants supports skin health and can aid in the healing process of acne scars.

Stress Management Techniques

Stress can exacerbate acne and delay the healing of acne scars. Practicing stress-relief techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing can promote overall skin health.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know what type of acne scars I have?

Determining the type of acne scars you have typically requires a consultation with a dermatologist or skincare professional. They can assess your skin and provide an accurate diagnosis based on the appearance and characteristics of your scars.

What type of acne scars go away?

The type of acne scars that typically fade over time with proper treatment and care are mild to moderate atrophic scars, such as shallow boxcar or rolling scars. However, severe scars like icepick scars or deep atrophic scars may require more intensive treatment to improve their appearance.

Which acne scar is hardest to treat?

Icepick scars, which are narrow and deep, are often considered the most challenging type of acne scars to treat due to their stubborn nature and the limited effectiveness of topical treatments alone.

What type of acne is most likely to scar?

Cystic acne, characterised by deep, pus-filled pimples that develop beneath the skin's surface, is most likely to cause scarring. These inflammatory acne lesions can damage surrounding tissue and hair follicles, leading to more severe and persistent scars.