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Different Types of Acne Scars and How to Treat Them

Different Types of Acne Scars and How to Treat Them

Acne affects everyone at some point in their lives. This is a time that most people would like to forget,

Acne affects everyone at some point in their lives. This is a time that most people would like to forget, but what happens if we have scars and marks that remind us of our past? Acne scars are unsightly and tough to counteract. Thus guide will take you through some of the most common types of acne scars and the best ways to treat them.

The many different kinds of acne scars:

The most common acne-based scars are atrophic, or those that are slightly depressed on the face. These occur when a wound is healing and not enough collagen is produced by the body to fill the area fully. There are three types of atrophic scars. The first is boxcar, which are scars that are commonly wide and U-shaped. They can be shallow or deep, and the shallower they are, the more likely they are to react to skin resurfacing treatments.

Next are ice pick scars, which are narrow and V-shaped. They can go deeper than other scars and generally look like small holes that are often compared to chickenpox scars. Ice pick scars are some of the most difficult to treat, as they can go deep into the skin.

Finally, we have rolling scars; these are scars that have round edges and develop an odd rolling appearance. There are also hypertrophic or raised scars, which are seen mostly on the chest or back and are above the surface of the skin. These scars are formed when too much collagen is produced during the healing process. 

At-home treatments:

There are many different treatments for acne scars that can be done at home or in an office setting. Here are a few of the most common at-home treatments for acne scars. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are a common topical treatment that can be done at home for acne scars. This acid is commonly found in creams and other products that treat acne scarring. This is due to the acid’s ability to remove dead skin and prevent clogged pores. Overall, AHAs help to exfoliate the skin and make it softer. This method can be used to treat all types of acne scars.

Next is lactic acid, commonly associated with exercise. However, lactic acid is actually a great treatment for acne scars. This acid helps to improve the texture and appearance of your skin. There are many peels, serums, and creams available, but if you prefer a more natural method, apple cider vinegar is a great option to treat those pesky scars.

Third, we have retinoids, most commonly known as retinol. Retinoids are offered in a wide array of creams and topical solutions and offer many benefits. Creams that contain retinoids can help to speed up the process of skin regeneration, leading to faster healing and improved texture. However, retinoids can make your skin extremely sensitive to the sun. At-home treatments may be helpful; however, they may not garner the same results as treatments provided by a skincare professional in an office setting. 

Office-based treatments:

In-office treatments for acne scarring can be very beneficial for removing or reducing the look of acne scars. These treatments may take multiple visits to show results fully. However, they are long-lasting and have little to no downtime.


First, we have dermabrasion, one of the most common treatments for acne scarring. This treatment involves the use of a wire wheel or brush. These instruments exfoliate the skin at a deeper level. This treatment is best to help battle those scars close to the skin, like rolling scars, but can also be beneficial to deeper scars.

Chemical Peels

Second, are chemical peels; these are not your everyday facemasks. Chemical peels contain strong acids to help remove the top layer of skin. This helps to counteract deeper scars. This treatment is common for those that are affected by many deep acne scars that they would like to treat. 

Laser Resurfacing

Next is laser resurfacing: like the previous two options, the use of a laser helps to remove the top layer of skin. This treatment is seen as easier to complete, as it results in a faster healing time than that of dermabrasion or chemical peels. However, the treated area must be covered by a bandage until it has fully healed. This treatment is best for those with lighter skin tones, and it can treat every kind of scar you may have. 


Finally, there are fillers. Fillers are used to fill in your acne scars and even your skin. Fillers may contain a myriad of ingredients, from collagen to your own fat and much more. Injecting fillers under the surface of skin plumps and rejuvenates the skin and smoothes out depressed scars. The results from fillers typically last from six months to over a year, depending on the amount and type of filler used. However, results will vary from patient to patient, as everyone is unique. 

Our thoughts:

Acne scars are difficult to contain and can remind you of times that you would rather forget. There are many treatments available for use in the home or in a professional skincare office. At-home treatments are a great option; however, they may not always be effective. They may not be able to penetrate as deeply into the skin as a professional treatment would. While in-office treatments are better at going deeper into the skin, they generally require more treatments to show full results. However, the results are longer-lasting and stronger than home-based treatments. 

At Skin MD, we use our CO2RE laser resurfacing treatment to treat patients with all kinds of acne scars, from rolling to ice pick and everything in between. Skin MD is Boston’s source not only for treating acne scars but also for meeting many other cosmetic needs. Skin MD can help with fat reduction and all noninvasive cosmetic and laser treatments.

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