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Acne Scarring

Acne scars are areas of fibrous tissue on the skin left behind by acne. The scars can be raised, flat or depressed. Acne scars are commonly categorised into three groups: ice pick scars, rolling scars, and boxcar scars.

Scroll down to learn more about the causes, symptoms and what effective treatments are available for acne scarring.

acne scarring on face


Acne scars form as a complication of acne. They form when nodules and cysts burst and damage nearby skin. The most common cause of this is mechanical irritation, i.e. if you pick or squeeze the spot to remove it.

In severe cases of acne, scars form by themselves. This is of particular annoyance if you are careful not to irritate your spots. Scars form naturally when the body uses new protein (collagen) fibres to replace injured tissue.


Acne scars are almost always visible on the outer surface of the skin. They can appear raised, flat or depressed. As previously touched on, acne scars are categorised as ice pick scars, rolling scars or boxcar scars. Here’s the difference:

  • Ice pick scars are small, deep, pitted holes in the skin
  • Rolling scars are formed under the skin and create unevenness on the surface
  • Boxcar scars are depressed and cause oval craters, or larger holes, in the skin

Although acne scars are harmless most of the time, they can become red and inflamed if irritated. Cysts can also grow under the skin.

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