There are many treatments out there to heal the various types of acne scars. Therefore, first question is to understand what types of acne scars do you have? There are 5 types of acne scars, and each one requires a different type of treatment.
Boxcar Types of Acne Scars
It’s all in the name–they are box-like depressions on your skin. In most cases, you’d find this type of scar on your cheeks and jaws. While they may fade over time, they do not fully heal on their own.
If you have boxcar scars, you either “sand down” the top layer of your skin (dermabrasion & microdermabrasion) to make it look even or get fillers to remove the depression.
Ice Pick Types of Acne Scars
Ice pick scars are similar to boxcar scars in that they create depressions on the skin, but the ice pick is more obvious. It tends to be small and narrow, but they go deep into the skin.
These are some of the hardest acne scars to treat. You won’t get much luck with dermabrasion. The only way to improve its appearance is by getting fillers that stimulate collagen production. And this is not a permanent solution. You’d have to get this done every 3-8 months.
Rolling Types of Acne Scars
Rolling scars have depressions with different depths. When they are clustered together, they can make your skin look uneven.
Much like the first two, the best way to treat these scars is by boosting collagen production to improve the appearance of the pits. There are several ways you can do this–microabrasions, micro-needling, chemical peels, or fillers.
Yes, the treatment seems intense. But these types of scars do not go away on their own. Whenever you see a touted at-home treatment that targets these 3 types of acne scars, run away in the opposite direction, they may end up doing more harm than good.
Hypertrophic Acne Scars
The first 3 covered the atrophic scars, the pits, and depressions, but that’s not the only type of acne scar you can get. In some cases, you can get hypertrophic scars. They look like raised lumps, and their size tends to vary. Some may be exactly the same size as your acne, but there are times when the scar covers a wider area.
These can present around your jaw, chest, back, and shoulders. And the chances of getting hypertrophic scars really depends on your genetics. Some are more predisposed to it than others.
You can soften the appearance of the scar with a corticosteroid, but it would still be visible. If you really want to remove it, you may need to take more drastic measures like laser therapy, cryotherapy, or surgery. I’d consult with a dermatologist first before deciding what to do.
Now not all acne scars have to be a nightmare to work with. Sometimes all you are left with is a bit of hyperpigmentation which means the spot where your acne used to be is a little bit darker than the rest of your skin.
This type usually heals on its own, but it can take up to 6 months before the scar truly lightens.
There are a couple of things you can do to help the healing process. The first is to use a Vitamin C serum. Vitamin C is great for dealing with hyperpigmentation or dark spots in general. The second way is by adding chemical exfoliants to your skincare routine. AHAs and BHAs are the way to go. Prevent it from getting worse by making sure you apply sunscreen regularly and wear a cap when you go outside. Sun exposure only makes hyperpigmentation worst, and it doesn’t play nice with your chemical exfoliants.
Among the 5 acne scars, there is only one you can truly resolve on your own. The other 4 require a professional dermatologist and regular maintenance.