Types of Acne Scars

Type #1: Depressed or atrophic acne scars. About 80 to 90% of people with acne scars have this type. During the skin’s healing process, too little collagen is deposited to fill up the holes, leaving indents.

Acne scars up close

There are 3 kinds of depressed scars. Sometimes people have all 3 forms of atrophic scars. (Images courtesy Dr. Jerry Tan and Dr. Ben Barankin)

Acne scar diagram

Depressed scars:
• Ice-pick: narrow, deep and V-shaped.
• Boxcar: a wide, round or oval opening at the surface with a box–shaped hollow into the skin. These can be deep or shallow.
• Rolling: the widest scars with a rippled, layered look.

Raised acne scars

Type #2– Raised or hypertrophic: These less common acne scars occur as a result of ‘over-healing’ as too much collagen is deposited during the healing process.

Some features of these scars:

Keloids on skin

Type #3 Keloids
These are uncommon, reddish-purple, large acne scars. Keloids develop as a result of an excessive healing process that is likely inherited. These scars may grow and can be disfiguring.

Some features of keloids:
• More common in darker skin types.
• Mainly appear along the jawline, neck, chest, shoulders, and upper back.
• More likely in people under the age of 30
• Feel rubbery
• Extend beyond the original scar site
• May itch and hurt

Want to know about current medical treatments for acne scars?

Take the Acne Quiz

Test your acne knowledge. You may be surprised at some of the answers…

Take the quiz