Lets face it, no one wants acne scars but sometimes it’s hard to keep your hands off of your face. If you pick at your acne scars, you’re not alone. But, did you know there are different types of acne scars? If you’re able to identify your acne scar’s type then you’ll be better able to have it treated or even treat it yourself.

I’ve been doing some research and wanted to discuss common acne scars, causes of them and how to best treat them.

The Two Types of Acne Scars:

Scars Atrophic – Loss of Tissue

Ice Pick Scars

Ice Pick acne scars

These deep, narrow scars are down in your dermis. They may appear to you as a large pore, but they are an acne scar. The name “ice pick scar” comes from the fact that they look like someone took a pick or sharp pointed object and jabbed your skin. These scars are caused by a cyst or deeply inflamed blemish making its way to your skin’s surface. The tissue around that part of your skin is destroyed by the cyst or blemish. If you have this type of scar, you should visit your dermatologist as they are best equipped to handle them.

When you visit your dermatologist they may perform a punch excision or punch graft to your scar. A punch excision involves the dermatologist cutting the scar out and then gluing the tissue around it back together. A punch graft involves getting the scar cut out. Then, a piece of skin from behind your ear area is grafted to replace the removed skin. This process is typically used on larger ice pick scars. If you get either of these procedures done, there will be some scarring left. This scar will be much smaller and your skin’s texture will be more even than when you had the initial ice pick scar.

Boxcar Scars

Boxcar acne scars

These pitted scars look like craters on your face or body. They’re created when collagen is destroyed and the skin has no support, which then creates a depression in your skin. These can be superficial to very deep. These scars are treated by a punch graft at your dermatologist’s office. You can also have them treated via dermal fillers, laser treatments and peels.

I offer a wonderful peels and facials in my studio in Regent Square. If you decide to have these treated by a laser treatment or a peel, they can help your skin to produce more collagen.

Rolling Scars

rolling acne scars

These are like boxcar scars but they’re often not as deep. These scars can cause your skin to look uneven and craggy. When you have these scars, fibrous bands form between your skin and it’s subcutaneous layer. These bands pull on the epidermis which causes the rolling appearance. If you have this type of scar, you can get an outpatient treatment done under local anesthesia called subcision. This is when a scalpel is used to cut the fibrous bands, thereby releasing your skin from their pull.

Hypertrophic Scars – Excess of Tissue

hypertrophic acne scars

Hypertrophic scars are thick, wide and often raised scars that develop where your skin is injured. Scars are product of the wound healing process, but these scars are an abnormal response to an injury. In some people, myofibroblasts (cells) produce too much collagen during healing which can cause these scars. These scars can also appear after a severe burn, piercing, cut or when you break out.

You should wait several months before you start any treatment for these scars as they may lessen with time on their own. These can be treated with these treatments:

  • Laser Therapy
  • Corticosteroid Treatments
  • Bleomycin Injected Into Your Scar
  • Cryotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Silicon Sheets at Home
  • Pressure and Massage
  • Onion Extract Creams, such as one by Mederma
  • Bio Oil

No matter which type of scar you have, I’m always happy to take a look and make recommendations based on what I see. I may not always be able to treat your scar as some treatments are performed by your dermatologist but I can better identify what type of scar it is.

acne scars

I also offer facial massage and cupping which can help with Hypertrophic scars. For atrophic scars, I offer peels. Even if you’re not sure of what you may have, make an appointment with me today and I can take a look at your skin and recommend what would be best for it. I can also help you to better pinpoint any issues you may have!

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