The Different Types of Acne Scarring and How to Correct It

The Different Types of Acne Scarring and How to Correct It

When getting treatment for acne, the most exciting phase is when you no longer are experiencing breakouts. Although this is an exciting milestone, typically most people are left with pesky scar marks in the areas where persistent acne breakouts used to occur. 

So what types of scarring can result from acne breakouts?

There are two categories and each are treated in different ways. 

1. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation – Also known as PIH

2. Atrophic Pitted Scars – Note: Typically, if you suffer from Pitted Scars, you will likely have PIH along with it. 

What is Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

These are flat, dark marks that follow after injury or inflammatory acne. The trauma on the skin from acne lesions can leave you with a spot that ranges anywhere from light pink to dark brown depending on your skin tone. 

PIH can last anywhere from weeks to months if not treated but are typically not permanent. They lighten as your skin cells renew. But they can take time and are quite stubborn. 

What is Atrophic Pitted Scarring?

Pitted scars are a name given to scars that have a hollow, indented impression in the skin. They can look like ice pick marks. These are caused by a sudden loss of collagen from acne lesions. Pitted scarring can be permanent without the right treatment, they require resurfacing to build the lost collagen in the con-caved area. 

Methods of Treatment:

For PIH, using ingredients like mandelic acid, lactic acid, and chemical peels will lighten these stubborn marks at a quicker rate than your skin would naturally. Once lightened your skin will have a more even tone which in turn makes your skin look even clearer!

For Pitted Scarring, it will take patience and repeated treatments to get noticeable results. But it’s not impossible with microneedling or microchanneling treatments. I recommend these once a month to allow for adequate healing between treatments. After 2-3 treatments, you will start to see improvement in your skins texture. Depending the severity of your scarring you could need to continue monthly treatments until the desired result is achieved.

Quick tip: Do not start microneedling treatments for scarring until your active acne has cleared as this could spread the bacteria from breakouts around to other pores. 

Although both of these conditions can be extremely frustrating, they are treatable with the right care. Reach out to a skin specialist to figure out what treatments are best for you!

Thank you for reading!

This article of the Skinsider Scoop was graciously written by Licensed Esthetician and Acne Specialist, Maddie Holmes, and edited by the Clean Skin Club team. If you're interested in more from Maddie, please shoot us an email, and follow her Instagram - @acnemaddie