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Acne Scarring: What You Need To Know

Medically reviewed by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · General Practitioner

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Mar 27, 2023

Acne Scarring: What You Need To Know

Acne is a common skin condition. Around 80% of individuals between the ages of 11 and 30 experience it.1 Because of this, people may wonder how to remove acne scars naturally, and search for the best acne scar removal products. But how can you avoid acne scarring in the first place? Read on to find out.

What Is Acne Scarring?

Acne scarring is the after effect of the inflammation due to acne blemishes. The inflamed acne pore expands, resulting in a breakdown in the wall of the pore and loss of skin tissue. Some acne scars are shallow and can heal quickly. However, if the substance of the blemishes spills out into the surrounding tissue this may cause deeper scars. These need a long-term process to manage.1

Kinds of Acne Scars

Acne can be mild, moderate, or severe. Mild forms of acne include whiteheads and blackheads, which typically recuperate naturally.1 However severe forms of acne may result in scars.

There are two main types of acne scarring4:

  • Discoloration scarring, wherein the affected skin remains darker even after the acne has cleared up. This includes red, purple or brown discoloration that may fade on their own over a few months.
  • Indentation scarring, which commonly occurs after severe acne. These scars occur when the top layer of the skin does not fully heal, leaving a deeper mark.
  • Indentation scars do not completely disappear, although their appearance usually improves with time.

    Below are the kinds of indented acne scars:2

    • Ice-pick scars – These are narrow, V- shaped scars.
    • Rolling scars – These are scars that normally have expansive depressions with sloping edges
    • Boxcar scars – These scars are broad with sharp edges.
    • Atrophic scars – Scars that are flat and slender
    • Hypertrophic or keloid scars – These are thick, uneven scars that stand above the surface of the skin.

    Impact of Acne Scars on an Individual

    Acne scarring may cause a lot of worry, and make one wonder how to remove acne scars naturally.

    The concern may stem from negatively held perceptions about acne. An online multi-national survey conducted showed that acne is perceived adversely by society3. Most individuals reported wanting to hide or cover their acne scars as these bring embarrassment, self-consciousness, low self-esteem and less self-confidence. Acne scars can also be a source of frustration, sadness, anger, and/or anxiety which could lead to impaired social function and self-destructive ideation.3

    How To Remove Acne Scars Naturally

    Wondering how to remove acne scars naturally in a week? Is it even possible?

    There are different ways to treat acne scars depending on how serious or severe your scars are, although many of these options involve going to the doctor.2 It is best to be seen by a dermatologist first so they can assess your marks if they are really scars. They can also determine the best approach to improve your scars.

    Here are some treatments for acne scarring:

    1. Best Acne Scar Removal Treatment for Discoloration Scarring

    For discoloration scarring, topical treatments may be used to counteract the hyperpigmentation.4 Topical retinoids can be used to help improve the texture of your skin, and can help reduce discoloration so that scars are less visible.5

    It is also advisable to use more sunscreen to protect your skin when you go outside to prevent further post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

    2. Best Acne Scar Removal Treatment for Indentation Scarring

    Various treatments are available for indentation scarring.

    Ice pick and boxcar scars may benefit from dermabrasion and laser resurfacing chemical peels. These involve removing layers of the skin to make the scar less visible.

    Boxcars and rolling scars can be improved with the use of subcision techniques and the injection of fillers underneath the surface of the skin. These help plump up and smooth out depressed scars.6,7

    Larger scars can also be cut out and the wound closed up to leave a thinner, less noticeable scar.2

    Hypertrophic scars may be treated using surgical revision, or cryotherapy, when the scars are frozen off. Topical steroids may also be applied to the scar.2

    The Importance of Early and Aggressive Treatment

    The best way to prevent acne scarring is to treat acne early. Treating acne before they scar over may be a long process, but this is essential to decrease the risk of serious acne scarring and reduce potential acne complications.3

    Part of avoiding acne scarring is trying not to squeeze or pinch your pimples as this may likely create a scar.

    Secondly, if your acne is still in the early stages, you can try over-the-counter (OTC) medications like benzoyl peroxide to decrease inflammation.

    Lastly, don’t forget to consult a dermatologist for evaluation of the cause of your acne so that you can receive the correct treatment.

    Suffering from acne? Try our acne severity screener and our acne scarring risk screener, and get connected to a dermatologist.

    Please click here to send your questions or concerns. Foods, Drugs, Devices and Cosmetics Act prohibits dispensing of ethical or prescription medicines without prescription. For suspected adverse drug reaction, report to the FDA at

    Learn more about Acne here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Hello Doctor Medical Panel

    General Practitioner

    Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Mar 27, 2023

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