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Acne Scars

Doctor's Terms

  • Ice pick scars: deep, narrow pits.
  • Rolling scars: wide and shallow dimples that form wave-like impressions.
  • Boxcar scars: angular, well defined scars usually found on the temple and cheeks.
  • Atrophic scar: depressed scarring where acne inflammation once existed.
  • Hypertrophic scar: raised scarring where acne inflammation once existed.
  • Keloids: hypertrophic, raised scars that spread beyond the area of acne inflammation.

Information And Treatment

Acne scarring is the odious outcome of severe acne. It can form anywhere its pimply predecessor once did. As acne clears up, the redness and bumps should heal entirely. If skin remains discolored or uneven after one year, then a scar has officially formed.

Like all scars, acne scars develop because of either the loss of, or excess formation of, tissue as a wound heals. This healing processes, called fibrosis, can render the resulting skin too thin (atrophic) or too thick (hypertrophic). Atrophic scars are pitted, while hypertrophic scars are raised.

Atrophic acne scars are more common. They fall into three general categories:

  • Ice pick scars: deep, narrow pits
  • Rolling scars: wide and shallow dimples that form wave-like impressions
  • Boxcar scars: angular, well defined scars usually found on the temple and cheeks

Hypertrophic scars are raised domes and can be itchy. These nodules form due to excess collagen deposits. Measuring between one and two millimeters in diameter, they are five to 15 times more likely develop in individuals of African American descent and three to five times more likely to develop on the skin of people of Asian descent. Hypertrophic scars that spread beyond the area of acne inflammation are known as keloids.

Age range: Acne develops at the onset of puberty, blooming between the ages of 12 and 24. Scarring is a constant possibility for acne victims. Of the 85% of teenagers with acne, 25% will develop permanent scars.