ACNE SCAR TREATMENTS : Part 4 of the Acne Scar Treatments Series

acne scar treatments


Part 4 of the Acne Scar Treatments Series


In the previous articles in SKINNEY Medspa’s series on acne scars and acne scar treatments, we have learned about the 3 main types of acne scars: depressed acne scars, raised acne scars, and pigmented acne scars, or acne marks. Each type of acne scar forms by a unique physiological response to an inflammatory injury, such as acne. Therefore each scar may require a customized treatment plan to effectively diminish their appearance.

Read Part I: Depressed Acne Scars Here >>

Read Part II: Raised Acne Scars >>

Read Part III: Pigmented Acne Scars or Acne Marks >>

Raised Acne Scars

Raised acne scars result from the overproduction of collagen during this healing process. This results in a raised, thick mass of scar tissue that is elevated above the surrounding surface of your skin.

Raised Acne Scar Treatments

  • Microdermabrasion
  • Laser Skin Resurfacing
  • Chemical Peels

Depressed Acne Scar Treatments

Depressed acne scars are the most prevalent type of scarring with inflammatory acne. Also called “pitted acne scars,” they are a type of atrophic scarring (scars caused by a loss of tissue) and include ice pick scars, boxcar scars, and rolling scars.


Ice pick scars are very narrow and deep pitted scars that form when infection engorges a hair follicle and destroys the tissue.

Because of their depth, ice pick scars are commonly the most challenging type of acne scar to remove.

Boxcar Acne Scars

Box car acne scars are broader than ice pick  scars, but have sharp, angular edges. They form when acne becomes inflamed and the bacteria in the infection breaks down the collagen in the surrounding tissue. If the body does not produce enough collagen during the healing process to efficiently fill in the depression, a depressed scar forms.


How do rolling acne scars form? Rolling scars are formed when fibrous tissue connects the top layer of skin to the lower subcutaneous tissue, creating wave like undulations on the surface of the skin.

Rolling scars are typically easier to treat than other types of depressed acne scars because numerous acne treatments can effectively smooth out the sloping edges that define rolling acne scars.

Treating Ice pick Acne Scars

  • Subcision
  • punch excision
  • laser skin resurfacing
  • dermabrasion

Treating Boxcar Acne Scars

  • Laser Skin Resurfacing
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Chemical Peels
  • Microneedling
  • Light therapy

Treating Rolling Acne Scars

  • Laser Skin Resurfacing
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Chemical Peels
  • Microneedling
  • Light therapy

Pigmented Acne Scar / Acne Marks Treatments

Pigmented acne scars are not actually scars, but long lasting discoloration caused by inflammatory injuries, such as acne. Acne marks range in color, from red and pink to brown and black. They are caused by the over production or underproduction of melanin or by vascular injuries, caused by broken capillaries.

Brown Acne Marks / PIH

Brown or Black acne marks, also known as Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) is caused by the body’s overproduction of melanin in response to an inflammatory injury, such as a During inflammatory injuries to the epidermis, the skin synthesizes more melanin causing accumulations of dark pigment that discolor the skin.

Treating PIH Acne Marks

  • Laser Skin Resurfacing
  • Topical Creams
  • Light therapy

Red Acne Marks / PIE

Pink and Red acne marks, or post inflammatory erythema (PIE) is caused when capillaries, below the skin’s surface, are injured and rupture. This triggers the body’s immune system to increase blood flow to the site of the injury. PIE manifests as pink, red, or purple macules.


Treating PIE Acne Scars

  • Laser Skin Resurfacing with FRAXEL
  • Light therapy
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Microneedling
  • Chemical Peel


Acne Scar Treatments

Soft Tissue Fillers for Acne Scars

Soft tissue fillers or dermal fillers, are commonly used in conjunction with other acne scar treatments to diminish the appearance of depressed acne scars. Soft tissue fillers are cosmetic injections that use voluminizing substances, such as collagen or hyaluoronic acid, to fill in depressed areas. When treating acne scars with dermal fillers, your dermatologist will inject the depressed area of the scar, filling it with the voluminizing substance. This plumps up the depression, smoothing out the scar, diminishing the impression, and subsequent shadowing, that makes depressed acne scars stand out.

IDEAL FOR TREATING: Shallow Boxcar acne scars

Learn How to Reduce Acne Scars with Soft Tissue Fillers


Chemical Peels are used to smooth out the appearance of acne scars. Chemical peels use mild solutions containing exfoliating ingredients such as glycolic acid or salicylic acid to gently strip the top layer of dead and dull skin cell’s that roughen skin texture and accumulate in skin depressions. Revealing a fresher, healthier layer of skin cells helps smooth the appearance of depressed acne scars.

IDEAL FOR TREATING: Shallow Boxcar, Rolling Acne Scars

Learn More About How to Reduce Acne Scars with a Chemical Peel

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser Skin Resurfacing can be very effective for individual with certain skin types who suffer from acne scarring. Laser skin resurfacing typically does not get rid of acne scars, but can diminish them significantly and is especially effective on shallow scars that can be stretched out. Cosmetic lasers resurface the skin by stimulating the skin’s natural healing processes. This triggers the production of new collagen. The new collagen fills in depressed acne scars, smoothing out undulated surfaces, for a more flawless complexion.

Cosmetic lasers come in various types. The specific laser used to treat acne scars depends on a variety of factors including the type and severity of the acne scar, the skin type of the patient. Several Laser skin resurfacing treatments may be necessary for satisfactory improvement of acne scars.

Learn How to Reduce Acne Scars with Laser Skin Resurfacing

IDEAL FOR TREATING: Shallow Boxcar, Rolling Acne Scars

Photofacial / IPL Light Therapy

Photofacials use intense pulsed light to break up accumulations of melanin. Specific wavelengths of light can target the brown color of melanin or the red color of  hemoglobin associated with vascular irregularities associated with PIE.

IDEAL FOR TREATING: Shallow Boxcar, Rolling Acne Scars, Pigmented Acne marks

Learn More About How to Reduce Acne Marks with an IPL Photofacial

Topical Medications

Topical medications, or acne scar creams, are often used in conjunction with other acne scar treatments. Bleaching and Lightening Creams are commonly prescribed to diminish the appearance of acne marks. These creams may include Hydroquinone, a bleaching cream that inhibits the tyrosinase enzyme or Azelaic acid cream that reduces pigmentation.

IDEAL FOR TREATING: Shallow Boxcar, Rolling Acne Scars


Topical Steroids and Injected steroids, such as cortisone, are often used with raised acne scars. Steroids are shown to shrink and flatten raised acne scars.




Subcision is commonly used to treat depressed acne scars. It works by disrupting the bands of fibrous tissue that connect the top layer or skin to the bottom layers, resulting in depressions. Disrupting the bands raises the base of the scar, shortening the scars depth.

IDEAL FOR TREATING: Ice Pick Acne Scars 


If you are undergoing professional treatments to help get rid of acne scars, follow these tips to ensure you protect your skin and get the most optimal results possible:

Do not try to get rid of acne scars if you have active acne

The first step in getting rid of acne scars is to get active acne under control. Many acne scar treatments can irritate and even exacerbate pimples and current acne breakouts.

Use Sunscreen

Certain acne scarring, especially acne marks caused by the overproduction of melanin can become worse when exposed to sunlight. In addition, many acne medications,  can cause photo-sensitivity, making the skin more vulnerable to burning when exposed to UV radiation.


Learn more about Professional Acne Scar Treatments NYC from SKINNEY Medspa >>

Skinney Medspa is the premier skin and laser spa in NYC, offering an array of professional acne treatments that improve the appearance of acne scars. To learn more about acne scar treatments in NYC, contact SKINNEY Medspa or signup for a free consultation.

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