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Acne Scarring

What is Acne Scarring?

Acne scars are permanent textural changes and indentations that occur on the skin as a result of severe acne. The term “scarring” is not used for the temporary red and brown marks left early after acne has occurred as these marks will almost always improve without treatment. Acne leaves three major types of scars:

  • Ice pick: deep but small pits
  • Boxcar: sharp angles and edges; can be shallow or deep
  • Rolling: tend to be wide and shallow (a wavy look) caused by damage under the surface

What are the main causes of acne scarring?

In severe acne, large pus-filled spaces known as acne cysts are formed. These cysts destroy skin tissue which is not replaced during the healing process.  When the cyst eventually empties and the area heals, it usually leaves behind an indentation (or scar) on the face, chest or back. The scarring can be lumpy (known as “hypertrophic” or “keloid” scarring).

What are the treatments for Acne Scarring?

There are many acne scar treatments which can improve and soften the appearance of the scarring. A combination of treatments may be required. It is unrealistic to expect the return to completely normal skin following treatment.

The ideal treatment will depend on four main factors:

  1. Skin type (skin type is classified according to the amount of pigment in the skin)
  2. Type of scar (scars can be” rolling”, “atrophic”,” box car”,  “ice pick” or “anchored”)
  3. Down time available (time it takes the skin to heal after the procedure)
  4. Cost of the procedure

Dermal Filler

Hyaluronic filler injections are best used for atrophic scars and rolling scars. They have the advantage of immediate improvement and minimal downtime.

The treatment is initially repeated at 6 monthly intervals but eventually the frequency may be reduced to twice yearly. Learn more about our Dermal Fillers.

Laser Treatment

At London Real Skin, we use Erbium Yag Laser to treat acne scarring. The laser produces energy in the mid infrared invisible light spectrum which can be used to precisely target skin and water-holding tissue, leaving the surrounding skin unharmed. This creates a controlled thermal injury or wound that leads to remodelling of collagen (the protein in the skin that controls skin strength and elasticity) thus making the scar less obvious. 2 to 5 sessions maybe required for optimal results. Learn more about our Laser Facial Rejuvenation / Laser Skin Resurfacing.


Skin needling can be effective in the treatment of acne scars. Pen devices have largely replaced skin needling rollers. At London Real Skin we use a medical grade device (Skin Pen Precision) to treat acne scarring.

Skin needling, as the name suggests, delivers needles of varying depths (0.5 to 3 mm) into the dermal layers of the skin. Needling breaks down scar tissue and stimulates the formation of new collagen. This treatment is ideal for darker skin types. Learn more about our micro-needling.


What are acne scars?

Acne scars are usually the result of blemishes caused by excess oil, dead skin cells and bacteria within skin pores. Skin pores can swell causing the follicle wall to break leaving exposed lesions that are shallow.

Will acne scars go away on their own?

Acne on its own will usually clear up or subside periodically whilst acne scars may remain due damaged skin. Scarring of the tissue is usually a result of trauma / picking & scratching which can cause scarring during the healing process.

Are acne scars treatable?

Yes, acne scars can be treated with an array of different treatments that can reduce the prominence of scar tissue & associated skin damage.


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