While there are many different types of acne scars that you will find discussed on various websites, there are really only three types of scarring. Most acne scars belong to one of these types, and there are two subsets of this particular type that can be treated in different ways.
In this article, we will go over the three primary types of scars as well as the two sub-sets of scars often associated with acne.
Most acne scars can be considered “normal” scars. A plain scar is as you might expect; it can either be white or purple on the skin and be flat or depressed. You will often see acne scar websites break down this normal type of scarring into various categories, but there are really only two important subsets for this type of scarring:
- Shallow or Flat Scars: Shallow scars are scars which are not more than a millimeter deep. These scars can be improved by simple over the counter treatments like silicone strips or gel. Skin lighteners can also be used to reduce any discoloration.
- Deep scars: Deep scarring, or scars more than a millimeter deep, are more difficult to treat. These are often referred to as “icepick scars”. The same treatments that work on shallow scars will work on deep scars, but may not be as effective at hiding the appearance of these scars (or it may take more treatments). Dermatologist procedures can be effective at treating these types of scars.
Hypertrophic scarring refers to scars that are raised above the skin. Rather than being pitted, these scars feel like a bump if you run your finger over them. Silicone is extremely effective at flattening out these scars, though it will not help with any discoloration. For that, you will need a skin lightener, regular moisturizing, and a lot of time.
Hypertrophic scars are not typically associated with acne, though possibly could occur if acne is frequently picked.
Keloid scars are scars that get worse over time, long after the original injury has healed. These scars are rare from any cause; less than 10% of all scars are keloid scars. These scars are typically the result of a serious injury, but are occasionally associated with nodular cystic acne. Of keloid scars caused by acne, these are only really treatable via silicone. No other acne scar treatment seems to work very well.