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Different Types of Acne Scars and Treatment Options

Acne scars are caused by a combination of inflammation, excess oil production, and the body’s natural healing process. When acne lesions, such as pimples or cysts, become inflamed, the body sends white blood cells to the area to fight off the infection. This immune response can cause damage to surrounding tissue, leading to the formation of scar tissue.

Additionally, when the body produces excess oil, the oil can clog pores, leading to the formation of pimples and other acne lesions. When these lesions are picked, squeezed, or otherwise manipulated, the trauma to the skin can also lead to the formation of scars.

There are several types of acne scars, including:

Atrophic scars

Atrophic scars

These are the most common type of acne scars and are characterized by a depression or pit in the skin. Atrophic scars can be further classified into:

  • Ice pick scars: Deep and narrow scars that extend into the dermis.
  • Boxcar scars: Wide, U-shaped scars with sharp edges.
  • Rolling scars: Wide, shallow scars with sloping edges.

Hypertrophic scars

Hypertrophic scars

These are raised scars that occur when the body produces too much collagen during the healing process. They are often pink or red and may be itchy or painful.

Keloid scars

Keloid scars

These are similar to hypertrophic scars but are larger and extend beyond the boundary of the original wound. Keloid scars can be itchy, painful, and may continue to grow over time.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)

Acne Before

This is not a true scar but a temporary discoloration of the skin that occurs after an acne lesion has healed. PIH can range in color from pink to red, brown, or black, and can take months to fade.

The type of acne scar that develops depends on the severity and type of acne lesion, the depth of the lesion, and the individual’s skin type and healing response. Treatment options for acne scars vary depending on the type and severity of the scar, and may include topical or oral medications, chemical peelsmicrodermabrasionlaser therapy, or surgery.

The treatment options for acne scars depend on the type and severity of the scars. Here are some common ways to heal acne scars:

Topical treatments

obagi products

Over-the-counter creams, lotions, and gels containing ingredients such as retinoids, vitamin C, and glycolic acid can help to reduce the appearance of acne scars.

Topical treatments can help reduce the appearance of acne scars by improving the skin’s texture and reducing discoloration. Here are some of the ways topical treatments can help treat acne scars:

  1. Exfoliation: Topical treatments containing alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) can help exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells that can make acne scars look worse.
  2. Retinoids: Retinoids are a type of vitamin A derivative that can help improve the appearance of acne scars by increasing cell turnover and promoting collagen production. Over time, retinoids can help fade the appearance of acne scars and improve skin texture.
  3. Hydroquinone: Topical treatments containing hydroquinone can help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation caused by acne scars. Hydroquinone works by inhibiting the production of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color.
  4. Vitamin C: Topical treatments containing vitamin C can help improve the appearance of acne scars by promoting collagen production and reducing inflammation. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the skin from further damage.

1. Chemical peels

Before Chemical Peel
After Chemical Peel

Chemical peels can be an effective treatment for acne scars because they work by removing the top layer of skin, which contains the scar tissue. This can help to reduce the appearance of the scars and also stimulate the growth of new, healthy skin cells.

Chemical peels can be classified based on the depth of the treatment into three types: superficialmedium, and deep. Superficial peels are the mildest and only penetrate the outermost layer of the skin, while deep peels can penetrate the deeper layers of the skin.

Chemical peels work by exfoliating the skin and removing the outer layers of dead skin cells, which can help reduce the appearance of acne scars. The chemical solution used in a chemical peel can also help to reduce inflammation and redness associated with acne scars.

2. Microdermabrasion


A minimally invasive procedure that uses a device to exfoliate the outer layer of skin, helping to improve the texture and appearance of acne scars.

During a microdermabrasion treatment, the handheld device blasts tiny crystals onto the skin surface, which helps to gently remove the outer layer of dead skin cells. The device also simultaneously suctions away the crystals and dead skin cells, which helps to stimulate blood flow and collagen production in the skin.

It’s important to note that microdermabrasion should only be performed by a licensed and trained skincare professional to ensure safe and effective treatment. Additionally, it’s important to follow proper aftercare instructions, such as avoiding sun exposure and using gentle skincare products, to maximize the benefits of the treatment and prevent further skin damage.

3. Laser therapy

BroadBand Light

Different types of lasers can be used to resurface the skin and stimulate collagen production, which can help to reduce the appearance of acne scars.

Laser therapy can be an effective treatment for acne scars because it works by stimulating collagen production and remodeling the skin’s surface. A focused beam of light is used to target the damaged skin cells and stimulate the production of new collagen. This can help to fill in and smooth out the scarred areas of skin, resulting in a more even and improved texture.

The specific type of laser used for acne scar treatment will depend on the individual patient’s needs and the severity of their scars. Multiple sessions may be required to achieve the desired results, and some downtime may be necessary to allow the skin to heal.

4. Injectable fillers: Dermal fillers

skin secrets dermal fillers banner

Can be injected into depressed acne scars to help smooth out the skin’s surface.

Dermal fillers, such as hyaluronic acid, can be injected into the skin to add volume to depressed acne scars, smoothing out the skin and making the scars less noticeable. This is a minimally invasive treatment that can be done in a doctor’s office or clinic and typically involves little to no downtime.

The filler is injected directly into the scar, filling the area to raise it to the level of the surrounding skin. The results can be seen immediately, although they may not be permanent, and the treatment may need to be repeated every few months or years to maintain the desired results.

5. Microneedling


Using a device to make tiny punctures in the skin in order to stimulate the body’s natural healing response. This procedure can help to improve the texture of the skin and reduce the appearance of acne scars.

When microneedling is performed on the skin, it creates controlled micro-injuries that trigger the body’s natural healing process. This process stimulates the production of new collagen and elastin, which helps to fill in and smooth out acne scars.

Microneedling can also help to improve the overall texture and tone of the skin, making it appear smoother and more radiant. Additionally, the micro-injuries created by microneedling can help to enhance the penetration of topical skincare products, allowing them to better target and treat acne scars.`

6. ThermiSmooth


handheld device is used to deliver radiofrequency energy to the treatment area. This can help to smooth out the appearance of acne scars and improve skin texture.

ThermiSmooth is a non-invasive cosmetic procedure that uses radiofrequency (RF) energy to stimulate collagen production and improve the appearance of skin. While it is not specifically designed to treat acne scars, it may help to improve their appearance by smoothing out the texture of the skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

The energy heats up the underlying layers of the skin, which stimulates the production of collagen. Collagen is a protein that is essential for healthy skin, as it provides structure and elasticity. By increasing collagen production, ThermiSmooth can help to plump up the skin, smooth out its texture, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

7. CoolPeel

Cool peel before


Cool peel after


The CoolPeel® is the latest state of the art lasers to target fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, brown spot, and acne scarring. It is truly state of the art and no other laser on the market has this technology. The engineers in Italy came up with this revolutionary technology that allows Dr. Greta McLaren to use a CO2 laser for all skin types and with minimum down time. It is called a cool laser because of it’s safety and lack of excessive heat which can create scarring or negative events. This is the most popular laser since the Halo laser came out several years ago.

Skin Secrets in Cape Coral, Florida

It’s important to note that not all acne scars can be completely healed, but the appearance of scars can be significantly improved with proper treatment. It’s best to consult with a dermatologist to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific acne scars. Additionally, practicing good skincare habits and avoiding picking or squeezing pimples can help to prevent future scarring.

Our experienced team – led by Dr. Greta McLaren – specializes in minimally invasive, non-surgical procedures and treatments customized to your personal needs and goals. For over 30 years, Dr. McLaren has undergone extensive training in both cosmetic dermatology and laser surgery. She is a laser Surgeon and aesthetic medicine specialist who is considered an expert and has been invited to teach her aesthetic skills nationally to other physicians throughout the United States. She is a member of the American Society of Laser Medicine and SurgeryAmerican Academy of Cosmetic Surgeons and American Multispecialty Society

Message Skin Secrets today or call us at 239-800-SKIN(7546) to schedule your complimentary consultation.