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Many people who get acne are not left with scars afterwards. However, up to 55% of teens – 1 in 2 – get scarring on the face due to acne.  Scars may make people feel self-conscious and embarrassed.  Severe acne scarring, while rare, has been linked to depression and suicide.  (All images courtesy Dr. Jerry Tan)

What are acne scars?acne scars 3

Acne scars are round or jagged-edged, small holes in the skin or appear as raised, pink, thickened lumps on the skin.

What causes acne scars?

Scars are a result of injury to the skin caused by acne and a faulty healing process. Scarring occurs at the site of previous acne spots, most often the face but also on the back and chest.

Top 2 Tips to prevent acne scarring

  1. Acne scarring is preventable in most cases. Don’t delay getting treatment for moderate to severe inflammatory acne (see image and info below). This is much more likely to result in scarring.
  2. Don’t squeeze or pick acne spots. This increases inflammation and injury to the skin, raising the risk of scarring and skin discolouration after healing.

Who is at risk?

Dr. Jerry Tan - Inflammatory acne1Those with inflammatory acne (seen here), whether moderate or severe, are more likely to develop scars after spots have healed.

Generally, the more intense the inflammation (redness, pus, pain), the greater the injury to the skin and risk for scarring.

5 important facts about acne and scarring:

  1. The longer acne goes on, the higher the risk of scarring.
  2. A family history of severe acne and scarring increases the risk.
  3. Experts cannot tell who will develop scars and who will not. Scarring involves the skin’s wound healing abilities which differ from person to person and are inherited.
  4. Even mild acne can cause scarring.
  5. 95% of acne patients have some degree of scarring.

Check here for more information on the different types of acne scars or here for Treatments available for acne scarring.