Acne scarring occurs as the body creates collagen to repair the damage. Depending on skin type and other factors, the scarring can be relatively shallow and easy to correct. Where ruptures occur deep in the pore, scarring is more severe. The healing process creates significant changes in the texture and smoothness of the skin forming deep depressions or giving the skin a pock-like appearance.

Though acne scaring has few physically harmful consequences, studies show that it can have a devastating effect on self-perception- feelings of self-consciousness and embarrassment are common. Beyond being emotionally upsetting, failing to find a solution can lead to anxiety and even depression. For many, acne scaring can also affect one’s professional life and social life.

Acne scars are the result of active acne so prior to treating any acne scars it is important to get the acne itself under control.

Acne Scar Treatment

Types of Acne Scarring

Acne scars come in many different shapes, sizes and even colors.  Each type of scar has its own unique characteristics and features.  Because of these differences, the available treatments are not one size fits all, and it is important to carefully choose the treatment that best matches your condition.

There are five types of acne scarring and consist of those that add tissue (raised scars) and those that form around lost tissue (depressed scars).

Raised Acne Scars

There are two types of raised acne scars- hypertrophic and keloid. Hypertrophic scarring is the result of excessive collagen production during healing. Raised bumps or ridges around scars are the result of this over production of healing fiber. Keloid scarring is like hypertrophic scarring but extends beyond the wound border.

Depressed Acne Scars

Atrophic scarring occurs as tissue is lost in healing.There are 3 types of depressed acne scars, ice pick acne scars, boxcar acne scars and rolling acne scars. Each appears slightly differently on the skin.

 acne scarring

Skin Discolouration

Besides the formation of fibrous scar tissue, trauma associated with an inflammatory acne lesion can cause the abnormal discoloration of the skin.

Hyperpigmentation is a condition where elevated levels of the pigment melanin accumulate in the skin, creating the appearance of freckle-like spots or blotches. The skin where acne once was can often turn a darker colour than the surrounding skin. These skin colour changes can be pink or reddish in people with fair skin and dark brown in people with darker complexions.

Hypopigmentation occurs when melanocytes are depleted from the injury site or lose their ability to produce melanin. This is often the case in areas of skin that has been replaced with scar tissue, which tends to have a light, pinkish appearance. Generally, this condition is more noticeable in those individuals with darker base skin tones.

Erythema is a condition in which small capillaries near the surface of the skin become damaged or dilated. This condition presents as a region of redness in the skin. Occasionally, individual capillaries are visible. It is somewhat common in acne patients and is most visible in patients with lighter skin tones

Treatment Options

Acne scar treatment can be complex - there is no single treatment for acne scars but rather a series of treatments or a combination of treatments is generally required to give you the best results.

Your Sante Medical physician will customize a plan to address your unique conditions and desired results. Deeper more extensive scars will take several treatments and patience while the skin heals.

Treatments such as a chemical peel, microdermabrasion or a laser resurfacing (ablative and non-ablative) both remove the damaged tissue, allowing the body to replace it with healthy smooth tissue

Injections of corticosteroids or dermal fillers can often be used to flatten and reduce the acne scars.

Hyperpigmentation may be treated with laser treatments that target melanin, such Laser Genesis, as well as ICON IPL (intense pulsed light) therapy.

Hyperpigmentation can be addressed with the prescription medications like hydroquinone, to inhibit the production of melanin, and skin care products containing retinoids, which increase the rate of cellular turnover in the skin.


Preventing Acne Scars

For patients who currently have acne, the best treatment for acne scars is preventing them before they occur. Below are two factors that make acne worse and may contribute to scarring once the acne is gone:

  • Sun exposure. For both acne and acne scars, direct sunlight can prolong the condition and often make it worse. It is wise to avoid the sun during its peak hours, especially between 10am and 2pm. Sunscreen, hats and other forms of protection are recommended.
  • Picking and squeezing. While it’s certainly tempting to pop that whitehead, it actually causes further disturbance to the skin. This results in inflammation and collagen loss, which prevents the skin from healing as it should. Additionally, popping a pimple causes the spread of bacteria deeper into the skin.



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