Published By: Elisa Ghosh

Understand the types of Acne scars: the most common issues faced by most adults.

If you experience acne, you are not alone! Acne is the most prevalent skin disorder in the globe.

Acne affects almost everyone at some point in their lives, and it sometimes occurs at inopportune moments, such as before parties, dates or work presentations. Acne usually arises when the pores, and hair follicles on your skin become blocked with oil and dead skin cells, resulting in comedones. Then germs can begin to develop, resulting in inflammation and red lumps.

Types of acne

Acne may be moderate, mild or severe. In severe acne cases, it can be painful, pus-filled nodules or cysts beneath the skin's surface. Moderate acne typically produces pus-filled pimples and red bumps. Mild acne is characterised by less inflamed whiteheads and blackheads, as well as a few red bumps or pustules. Most of the time, the mild red or brown markings left by healed acne fade naturally over time. However, severe acne, particulate cystic acne, is likely to result in permanent scarring as it heals.

Types of acne scars

Atrophic scars

These are flat, shallow scenarios that heal beneath the upper layer of skin. These scars are often created by severe cystic acne. However, different types of acne can also cause them. Atrophic acne scars vary according to a person's history of acne. There are three kinds of atrophic scars:

Boxcar scars

Boxcar scars are large, box-shaped deeps with firmly defined edges. Boxcar scars are caused by chickenpox, acne or varicella, a virus that produces a red, itchy rash with blisters. Boxcar scars most commonly appear on the lower cheeks and jaw, where the skin is rather thick.

Rolling scars

Rolling scars have varied depths and sloping edges, making the skin uneven and appear wavy.  Rolling scars occur when bands of scar tissue grow beneath the skin. They also arise as a result of dermal tethering to the subcutaneous tissue. They are normally 4 to 5 millimetres wide and have a rolling or undulating appearance on the skin. Rolling scars are indentations or pits on the skin caused by acne. Healthcare experts often classify their severity according to their visibility.

Ice pick scars

Ice pick scars are thin, narrow indentations that penetrate the skin's surface. Following acne treatment, ice pick scars remain. Ice-pick scars might appear as little craters on the cheeks. They are tiny, deep scars that are less than two millimetres broad and appear to have been penetrated by a sharp item, such as an ice pick. These scars are commonly found on the cheeks. Ice pick scars are notoriously difficult to cure, necessitating long-term, rigorous treatment.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

When your acne cures, it frequently leaves behind a darker or discoloured patch of skin. This is not a scar, and it will heal on its own with proper sun protection. Hyperpigmentation can occur when severe acne causes skin damage or when you pick at your acne. However, with sufficient sun protection, your skin will eventually revert to its natural colour. People who pick or squeeze their pimples are more likely to develop post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Keloid scars and Hypertrophic

Hypertrophic and Keloid scars, as opposed to atrophic scars, appear as elevated lumps of scar tissue where acne once existed. This occurs when scar tissue accumulates, usually from previous acne lesions. Hypertrophic scars are the exact size of the pimples that generated them. Keloid scars form a larger scar than the pimples that generated it and extend beyond the original location. Scars on the chest, jawline, shoulders and back are more likely to be hypertrophic or keloid.

If you are concerned about acne scars, consult your dermatologist to design a treatment strategy that is appropriate for you.