Types of Acne Scars and How to Treat Them

If you have ever had to endure the misery of acne, you know just how painful and frustrating it can be. Not only do the scars acne leaves make your skin appear scarred and discolored, but they can also be difficult to conceal with makeup. But with the right treatments and a little patience, you can have smooth, flawless skin once again. In this article, we’ll show you how to treat acne scars and all its types. 

Different Types of Acne Scars

Acne scars fall into two main categories: atrophic and hypertrophic.

how to treat acne scarsAtrophic Scars

Atrophic scars are the most common type of acne scars that occur when your skin is unable to regenerate normal tissue after an inflammatory acne breakout. These scars are usually flat and sunken and appear as indentations that can be anywhere from two to four millimeters (mm) deep. These scars are usually located on the cheeks, forehead, and chin — areas that get frequent stimulation from touching, rubbing, and picking.

Atrophic scars can be further classified as ice pick, boxcar, and rolling scars.

Boxcar Scars

Boxcar scars are round or oval depressions with sharply defined ridges that run parallel to each other. These scars are most often associated with severe nodular, inflammatory acne, varicella, or chickenpox and can be shallow or deep, depending on the severity of your acne. They can be found on the cheeks, chin, and jawline. 

Ice Pick Scars

As the name implies, ice pick scars resemble a series of deep needle holes that run vertically down the skin, often leaving behind a pitted appearance on the skin’s surface. They typically develop after an infection or injury. The skin is often red and inflamed around the areas of ice-pick scars, which can make them appear more noticeable than other types of atrophic acne scars.

Rolling Scars

Rolling scars form when your skin is stretched too far, causing breaks in its structure. These scars appear as a series of parallel lines that resemble the ripples on a pond or rolling hills. With a depth of 4-5mm, these scars often have a craggy, undulating surface that can be quite difficult to treat.

how to treat acne scarsHypertrophic and Keloid Scars

Unlike atrophic scars that occur beneath the surface of the skin, hypertrophic and keloid scars are elevated above the skin surface and usually appear as a bump or ridge that’s well-defined and red or pink in color. Hypertrophic scars are caused when too much collagen accumulates beneath your skin after an injury.

By contrast, keloids occur when the skin continues to produce collagen even after a wound is healed, causing the scar to become larger and denser than the surrounding tissue. 

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

While hyperpigmentation isn’t a type of acne scar, it’s a common side effect that can make an acne scar look even worse. Hyperpigmentation is a condition where the skin becomes darker than its usual shade, even after the acne has healed. Hyperpigmentation is usually flat and can appear as a dark mark or patch on the skin.

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How To Treat Acne Scars?

Now that you understand the different types, you might be just itching to know how to treat acne scars. While OTC medicines and creams can help to reduce the appearance of acne scars, they aren’t a cure-all. If you have severe scarring or deep pits in your skin, you may consider the following treatment options.

ProFractional TherapyLaser Therapy

If you’re looking for a non-invasive acne scar treatment to put an end to your acne woes, laser therapy might be your best bet. At Clinique Dallas, we offer ​​acne scar laser treatment using a profractional laser that helps the skin generate new collagen while correcting imperfections.

We also offer Solutions-Forever Clear BBL™, which is a three-step laser treatment that uses an FDA-approved laser to target and remove acne scars.

During the first step, your doctor will use a fast-acting laser to eliminate acne-causing bacteria and unblock pores. The second step uses a laser to reduce redness and inflammation, while the third step involves using a rapid yet gentle laser pulse to smooth and soften the surface of your skin.

This is a relatively quick and painless procedure that can be done in a single visit. The total number of sessions required will depend on the severity of your acne scars. The good news is that most patients can expect to see significant improvement after just one or two treatments.


Dermabrasion is a skin-smoothing procedure that is used for many different skin ailments, including acne scars, wrinkles, skin irregularities, and stretch marks. This treatment involves using a rotating head with a sand-like surface to file away the top layer of skin. The procedure can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the area being treated.

The recovery period from dermabrasion can be up to six weeks, with patients experiencing redness, swelling, and minor discomfort during this time. After the treatment, surface scars may disappear, while deeper ones may become less noticeable.


Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive procedure that uses a specialized tool to gently remove the outer layer of skin cells by spinning tiny crystals around on the surface of your skin, revealing new skin underneath. It also helps boost collagen production, which leads to better skin texture and elasticity over time.

Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers are injected into the skin to plump it up and replace lost volume while also smoothing out any uneven surfaces. The results of this treatment can last anywhere from six months to two years, depending on the specific filler used.

Punch Grafting

During the punch grafting treatment, the surgeon will make small incisions on the skin, remove excess tissue from the scarred area, and replace that tissue with healthy skin through. This is a one-off procedure, and the results are visible immediately. However, you might be left with scars on the treated area that will fade over time and can be treated permanently through laser therapy.

Punch Excision

Punch excision is a minimally invasive surgery that involves removing a small amount of skin from the scarred area. The skin is then sutured back together, helping to reduce the appearance of the scar and improve its overall shape. Punch excision is usually used in smaller scars and can often be done under local anesthesia.


Cryosurgery is a procedure in which liquid nitrogen is applied to the skin to destroy scarred tissue or keloids without damaging surrounding healthy tissue. This procedure takes about 10-15 minutes per area treated, and the only side effects are temporary redness, swelling, and bruising.

Chemical Peel

Chemical peels use a combination of chemicals like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and lactic acid that exfoliate your skin. It also stimulates collagen production in the skin’s lower level, which helps reduce fine lines, minimize the appearance of wrinkles, and help fade dark spots left behind by pimples and cysts. The results can be dramatic in just three to four sessions, but peels may need to be repeated every two to four weeks for optimal results.

Vi Peel MVP Peel - Clinique Dallas Plastic SurgeryVI Peel Purify with Precision Plus

VI Peel Purify with Precision Plus is a non-invasive treatment that involves nurturing your skin with vitamins and minerals while simultaneously exfoliating and rejuvenating it. The treatment also helps to improve acne, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, lighten dark spots, and even improve your skin tone. The VI Peel Purify with Precision Plus is safe for all skin types, including sensitive skin, so it’s a great option for anyone looking for a more natural alternative to chemical peels without any downtime.

Dallas SkinPen Procedure - Clinique Dallas Medspa and Laser CenterSkinPen Microneedling

Also known as collagen induction therapy, SkinPen micro-needling is a form of skin rejuvenation that uses tiny needles to create micro-injuries in the skin. As your body heals from these injuries, collagen and elastin are produced, and new blood vessels form in the area. This results in a reduction of acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Micro-needling is a very tolerable procedure that can be completed in just 30 minutes. Afterward, you may experience some mild swelling and redness in the area, but this will subside within 24-48 hours.

Clear Up Your Skin With Clinique Dallas

Acne scars, whether they’re buried deep or on the surface, can be a source of anxiety and self-consciousness. Fortunately, Clinique Dallas has a team of board-certified dermatologists who specialize in helping people with acne scars Whether you’re looking for a surgical solution or prefer to treat your scars with a series of chemical peels, we’ve got you covered with affordable, effective treatments that will give you the beautiful, clear skin you’ve always wanted. If you’re ready to see results, call us today to schedule your consultation with one of our licensed estheticians.


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