Types of Acne Scars (with Pictures)

After a battle with acne, you might find that it has left a trail of scars behind. This happens when the body is trying to repair the damage caused by acne. While the sight of scars can be disheartening, you can rest assured there are solutions to help with the appearance of these scars. 

Let’s take a look at the different types of acne scars with pictures so you can better understand which ones you might have and the treatment options available: 

Atrophic Scars 

Atrophic scars are the most common type of acne scars characterized by indents on your skin. This occurs when the body produces too little collagen during the healing process. There are 3 types of atrophic scars:  

Ice Pick Scars

  • Ice Pick Scars: These are deep, narrow scars that make the skin look like it has been punctured by a tiny ice pick. They can also resemble large, empty pores in the skin. 

    Punch grafting is said to be the best treatment for ice pick scars but you could also look into punch excision, laser resurfacing, microneedling, and chemical peels. 

Boxcar Scars

  • Boxcar Scars: These are broad, round or oval depressions with typically sharp vertical edges. They are wider than ice pick scars but not as wide as rolling scars.  

    Treatment options include fillers, laser therapy, microneedling, subcision, and punch excision. For more shallow boxcar scars, you can also try chemical peels or micro- dermabrasion. 

Rolling Scars

  • Rolling Scars: These scars have rounded, sloping edges and give skin a wavy, uneven look. They can have varying depths and scar treatments such as laser resurfacing, subcision, chemical peels, and microneedling are likely to help reduce their appearance. 

Hypertrophic & Keloid Scars 

Hypertrophic vs Keloid Scars

In contrast to atrophic scars, hypertrophic and keloid scars are raised and occur when the body produces too much collagen during the acne healing process.  

Hypertrophic scars are the same size as the acne that caused them and stay within the site of the breakout. Keloid scars extend beyond the initial area of the breakout and can grow very large. 

Common treatments include laser therapy, corticosteroid injections, surgery, and cryotherapy. You can also try silicone sheets and pressure dressings to help improve the appearance of these scars. 

While some at-home treatments can help, we recommend speaking to your dermatologist to decide on a treatment plan for atrophic, hypertrophic, and keloid scars. 

Post-Inflammatory Erythema  

Post-Inflammatory Erythema

While not technically a scar, post-inflammatory erythema is a skin discoloration that is left behind after acne clears. It appears as red marks on the skin and is common in acne patients with lighter skin tones. This happens when the small blood vessels that reside under your skin become damaged, inflamed, or dilated. 

While post-inflammatory erythema can fade away on its own, it can take a long time and the spots can even darken. 

To speed up the fading process and prevent the red marks from becoming dark spots, Clearly’s team of skin experts developed Lighten Up Redness Rescue Cream. The cutting-edge formula is packed with antioxidant-rich plant stem cells to calm redness, nourish your skin, and gently stimulate renewal. In fact, 97% of users noticed faster healing of acne symptoms with their first bottle. 

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation  

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation are dark marks on your skin that form when there’s excess melanin (pigment). Similar to post-inflammatory erythema, these are not true scars and can fade on their own, but this can take up to 2 years. 

To reduce the appearance of your dark marks up to 4x faster, Dark Mark Defense Correction Gel can help. This potent gel was formulated by aestheticians and the top skin doctors to visibly fade dark marks and improve your skin tone. Apply it twice daily and use your sunscreen in the day to see results in just 8 weeks! 

How to Prevent Acne Scars 

As your acne is healing, have trust in the process and let your skincare do its work. Avoid picking at, popping, or squeezing your pimples as this can increase the risk of scarring. It’s also best to start treating your acne before it has a chance to get worse.  

Of course, the best way to prevent acne scars is to prevent acne in the first place. This is why it is important to regularly flush out impurities from your pores so acne does not have a chance to form. 

Clear Out Clarifying Lotion is our best-seller and an acne community favorite. Packed with retinol and azelaic acid, it is clinically proven to flush out congestion, eliminate oils, and restore your skin texture without irritating or drying out your skin. Try it today and see clearer, healthier skin after 1 bottle. If you don’t, you can get your money back! 

If you have questions about your acne and acne scars, get in touch with us via Messenger chat or Instagram DM (@clearlybasics). We’re here to help!  

Disclaimer: This article should not be interpreted as personal medical advice. For medical-related matters, please consult your dermatologist.    


Acne Scarring—Pathogenesis, Evaluation, and Treatment Options

How to Treat Post-Inflammatory Erythema

Acne Scars: Who Gets and Causes

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Based on 26 reviews
Skin Type: Normal
Comments: Any ideas on how to get rid of brown skin damage
Skin defence

Marks of sun damage are still there they haven't faded much after using twice a day for 60 days. . I will continue until product is finished. I'm a bit disappointed

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After years of medication and products, I decided to try clearly basics. In just 6 weeks my skin has calmed and I am now able to treat scarring.

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not bad but I thought the formula has changed since what it was previously (i had it maybe 2 years ago) and I found it less effective now

Skin Type: Combination
This is the stuff.

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Skin Type: Combination

I use this product and with the clear out and it has really helped my hormonal acne.

Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry
Here one day, gone the next!

After success with Clearly Basics for my acne scars, I stocked up with all of the active acne products to prepare myself for how angry my acne would get when going off hormonal birth control. I have tried and failed twice as my acne comes back so bad that I just start taking it again. This time I have been using clearly basics without fail every day (lighten up and clear out). I have had 3 pimples start to form and I use ‘Stop Spot’ and the next day instead of a much redder, much angrier pimple with a big white head - the pimple is gone! I have been very happy with this product. I’m one month down (typically when acne gets the worst) - let’s do this!

I love that these products are gentle on my daughter skin.

This skin care routine is the o lay one that has helped clear up my daughters skin.

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Skin Type: Oily
So far so good

Bought this for my daughter that has struggled with acne for years. She has seen improvement and less frequent breakouts.

Best moisturizer I have found!

Lighten Up Redness Rescue Cream
Veronica Ilenya Ranieri
Skin Type: Sensitive / Dry

Has changed my skin from acne pro to almost perfect 😍😍

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My skin feels so soft after using this moisturiser!

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So Fresh pH Balancing Cleanser
Carmelinda Di Manno
Skin Type: Combination
Fresh Feeling

My skin feels so clean and still hydrated when I use this cleanser. It’s balancing and refreshing. My skin has responded really well to it and at times my skin can be sensitive. I highly recommend this product to anyone with relatively oily t-zone area

Skin Type: Combination
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Comments: The only thing I now need to use to keep my skin clear.
The holy grail for clearing hormonal acne.

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Skin Type: Oily
Clearly Basics is the only product that has helped my Adult Acne

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Skin Type: Combination
Comments: Product consistency in terms of smoothness/coarseness/stickiness/ is sometimes a miss, don't believe it affects the result provided.
Great Combo

Have seen great improvements by using these 2 items concurrently, hard to fault and wil continue purchasing.

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