Acne Scars: Causes, Diagnosis, Types & The Best Treatment

Acne Scars: Causes, Diagnosis, Types & The Best Treatment

Acne Scars

In a perfect world, you’d have to worry about treating the occasional pimple, but for some people, one breakout leads to another, and another, and another. While it’s not pretty or fun to talk about, it’s important to understand why you get acne so you can properly treat it and prevent it from coming back. There are many different acne treatments on the market that each resolve acne in various ways. Some are good, others are much better at treating and getting rid of acne scars quick & easy. 

What Causes Acne?

Acne is caused by the clogging of pores on your skin by dead skin cells, bacteria, and excess sebum (oil). This causes inflammation. The inflammation can lead to the formation of blackheads and whiteheads. Most people have some amount of acne in their teenage years, but it can also happen during their 20s or 30s.

What Are the Types of Acne and What Do They Look Like?

There are several types of acne: papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts. Papules are small red bumps with a white center less than 1/4 inch wide. Pustules are similar to papules, except they have a pus-filled center. Nodules are larger than papules and pustules, ranging from 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide, with a solid center containing pus or blood. Cysts are deep beneath your skin’s surface; they’re usually painful and filled with liquid pus.


These small red bumps form when inflamed hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells, bacteria, and oil. This scarring often forms on the cheeks and jawline but can also appear on your back.


Pus-filled pimples called pustules are another common type of acne scarring. They are caused by inflammation in an infected hair follicle that leaves behind an open wound that can’t heal properly. These scars appear at the pore’s edge, where the bump was originally formed. They may also occur as round or oval red marks around a single pore or cluster of pores in an area of high sebum production like your forehead or chin.


Nodules are hard or solid lumps beneath your skin’s surface that form when inflamed nodular abscesses rupture through the outer layer of skin into subcutaneous tissue.


There are two types of cystic acne scars: Acne lesions with fluid or pus inside and acne lesions with fluid outside.

What Does an Acne Scar Look Like?

An acne scar may be white, red, pink, or brown. These ugly marks can affect people of all ages, but they’re most common during adolescence.

How Does Acne Cause Scars?

Acne scars are the result of inflammation and infection in the skin. They form when damaged skin is replaced by scar tissue, which can be thick, thin, or lumpy. 

What Are the Types of Acne Scars?

The following body parts are where acne scars are often an issue: 

  • face
  • cheeks
  • nose
  • back

Acne scars come in several different types:

Atrophic or Depressed Scarring

These are the most common type of acne scar and can be flat or raised. They occur when there is damage to the dermis, the second layer of your skin below the epidermis (top layer). The dermis contains collagen (which helps your skin feel firm) and elastic fibers (which help your skin return to its normal shape).

Hypertrophic or Keloid Scars

These are also known as raised scars, and they can extend beyond the boundaries of an existing pimple or cyst into surrounding tissue — for example, if a cyst ruptures at its base and leaves behind a deep crater in your skin. They may also be redder then other types of acne scars.

What Types of Acne Scars Go Away?

Some acne scars will never go away completely, while others may fade. Icepick and boxcar scars can be treated with dermabrasion or laser resurfacing to help reduce their appearance. Rolling and pitted scars cannot be treated with cosmetic procedures but with injections (steroids) or fillers (collagen). To determine whether you have acne scarring, a dermatologist will examine your skin under magnification (a magnifying glass) for signs that indicate scarring has occurred. The patient’s age and the location of the acne may play a role in whether or not the acne scars will go away.

How Common Is Acne Scarring?

One out of five people who experience acne will end up with acne scarring. 

What Causes Acne Scars?

Acne scarring occurs when damaged tissue builds up beneath your skin’s surface instead of healing normally. In most cases, this happens because your body produces too much collagen during the healing process in response to an injury like a cut or burn — not just from acne. Over time, this excess collagen becomes hardened and forms a scarred area on your skin that doesn’t go away even after an injury heals completely. That’s why treating acne early on is important, so it doesn’t lead to permanent damage later on.

How Is Acne Diagnosed?

Your dermatologist will diagnose acne by examining your skin and asking about your medical history and symptoms. He or she may also take a sample of your skin and send it to a lab for testing if he suspects a bacterial skin infection is causing your acne breakouts.

How Are Acne Scars Diagnosed?

Acne scars are diagnosed by a dermatologist, who will perform a physical examination and closely examine your skin to determine your type of scarring and how severe your acne is. A dermatologist can also examine your skin under different types of lighting to help determine the depth of your acne scars.

Are Tests Performed To Diagnose the Type of Acne Scar?

No specific tests are needed to diagnose acne scars; however, some tests may be performed to detect underlying conditions contributing to acne scars’ formation. For example, suppose you have active acne lesions when you visit a dermatologist for an evaluation. In that case, he or she may perform an analysis to rule out any other skin conditions contributing to your acne breakouts.

There are no tests to determine exactly what type of scar you have. However, some tests may help identify what caused your scarring so that an appropriate treatment plan can be recommended. These tests include:

Dermatoscopy: This test uses a magnifying lens to look closely at your skin under bright light. A dermatoscopy allows your doctor to examine your skin for signs of aging (such as wrinkles) or changes that might suggest melanoma.

Underground Light Test: Some doctors use this test when they suspect you have deep-seated acne scars or other pigmentation problems.

Acne Management & Treatment

If you have active acne, it’s important to treat it before trying other methods of treating your existing acne scars. Active acne will prevent your new skin from healing properly and can cause scarring that’s even worse than what was there before, so it’s best to get rid of active breakouts first. Once you heal acne scars, you can start getting rid of your acne. 

Will My Current Acne Breakouts Interfere With the Treatment for My Acne Scars?

If you have active acne, treating it before your acne scar treatment is important. For a long time, people would often use a topical gel such as tretinoin or adapalene. These are prescription-strength medications that can be found at any pharmacy. They work in multiple ways to prevent new breakouts and unclog pores, which will help with future scarring. However, you should consider using Vitastem Ultra, it’s very safe, doesn’t require a prescription, and is available for over-the-counter (OTC) use. 

What At-Home Treatments Are the Best Treatment For Acne Scars?

Several options are available for the at-home treatment of acne – including Vitastem Ultra

Alpha hydroxy acids

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are exfoliating acids that remove dead skin cells and promote new cell growth. AHAs also reduce inflammation, which can make your scars less noticeable. You can find AHAs in many over-the-counter products for treating acne. These include glycolic acid cleansers and toners, glycolic lotions and creams, lactic acid peels, salicylic acid gels, retinol serums, and vitamin C serums.

Lactic acid

Lactic acid is a chemical peel that can be used to treat acne scars. It removes the top layer of skin and helps to stimulate collagen production. Lactic acid peels are considered medium-depth peels and can be performed several times in a row to achieve optimal results.


Retinoids are prescription medications that help reduce inflammation and stimulate collagen production, which helps improve the appearance of acne scars. Retinoids may be used alone or in combination with other treatments for acne scars, including chemical peels, micro-needling, or microdermabrasion.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is another chemical peel often used to treat acne scars due to its ability to loosen up the bonds between cells so they can sloop off more easily during exfoliation. Salicylic acid is considered a mild peel and can be performed every 2-3 weeks until desired results are achieved.

What In-Office Treatments Are Most Effective For Improving Acne Scars?

Several acne treatments are available if you’re looking for a way to remove acne scars permanently. The most common treatments used to improve the appearance of acne scars are chemical peels, dermabrasion and laser resurfacing. However, you should ask your doctor about Vitastem Ultra as a treatment for your acne scars. 

Chemical Peels, Dermabrasion, Laser Resurfacing, and Microdermabrasion

Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser resurfacing can be used to treat acne scars. These treatments help improve the texture of the skin and reduce redness. They also help remove excess skin cells and stimulate new collagen production. Chemical peels effectively treat superficial scars such as icepick or boxcar scars. 

However, they do not prevent deep pitted scars from forming in the future or improve depressed scars (atrophic acne scars). In addition, chemical peels may cause severe side effects such as burns if performed incorrectly by an untrained person

Steroid Injections

Steroid injections are one of the most common treatments for acne scars. They help reduce inflammation and stimulate collagen in the skin, reducing scarring. The process is relatively easy and doesn’t involve any downtime. However, it can take several months to notice any results; some people may not see much improvement.

Derma Fillers

Dermal fillers are another popular treatment for acne scars because they help lift the skin and fill out depressed areas caused by deep scars. Dermal fillers aren’t permanent but can last anywhere from six months to two years (depending on which product you choose).


Microneedling is the most popular treatment for acne scars and is safe and effective. A hand-held pen with fine needles protruding from a roller punctures the skin. The punctures create tiny wounds in the skin, which cause the body to produce new collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, which results in smoother skin.


Excision is also called dermabrasion or microdermabrasion. It involves removing layers of dead skin cells with a power tool or diamond tip. Excision reduces the appearance of shallow scars but does not improve deeper scars.


A subcision involves inserting a needle under each scar until you get to healthy tissue and then moving it back and forth to break up scar tissue into smaller pieces that are easier for your body to remove naturally over time. Subcision helps reduce pitting from deep acne scars but does not work well for boxcars or rolling scars. It can be done by itself or combined with other treatments, such as microneedling or laser resurfacing.

Punch Grafting

Punch grafting is a procedure used to remove depressed or pitted scars left behind by previous acne infections. Punch grafting removes a small amount of tissue from an unaffected area (such as your forehead) and implants it into the depressed area to fill it out. This effectively creates new skin in the depression.


Cryosurgery uses extremely cold temperatures to destroy the skin cells that create acne scars. It’s usually used on raised scars, such as ice picks or boxcars, because it doesn’t affect surrounding tissue like laser treatments. It’s also less expensive than laser treatments but takes longer to heal and has more side effects than other treatments.

Is Surgery Performed to Remove Acne Scars?

Several acne scar treatment options are available if you have deep acne scars that are not on your face. These include chemical peels, dermabrasion, and laser resurfacing. Surgery may also be an option in some cases, depending on where the scarring is located.

How Can You Permanently Remove Acne Scars?

The best way to permanently get rid of acne scars is through microdermabrasion or laser resurfacing procedures. These treatments help to resurface the skin and make it appear smoother and less noticeable. They also help to even out skin coloration, making the scar less noticeable than before treatment.

How Do You Know If Acne Scars Are Permanent?

Suppose you have had acne for many years and long-term acne scars are present on your face or body. They are likely permanent because your skin has changed significantly over time due to inflammation and scarring associated with acne breakouts. 

What Is the Difference Between Acne Marks and Acne Scars?

While acne marks and scars may look similar, there are some differences. Acne marks are often called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or PIH. They are not permanent changes in the skin and fade over time without treatment. Acne scars are caused by damage to collagen fibers within the skin and will not fade without treatment.

Does Vitamin C Help Acne Scars?

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that may help fade some of your dark spots from acne scars, but only if you use it correctly. You can find vitamin C in many over-the-counter products like Vitastem Ultra for treating acne, including moisturizers and serums. 

What Treatment Exists for Acne Scars That Are Not On the Face?

There are several options for treating acne scars that aren’t on your face. The most common treatments include chemical peels and laser resurfacing. Both treatments will have some downtime associated with them, so it’s important to consider how much time you’re willing to take off work or school before deciding which one is right for you.

Are There Any Side Effects of Treatments for Acne Scars?

Yes, there are side effects associated with all treatments. However, they vary widely depending on what kind of treatment is used, who performs it and how much experience they have using it (not all doctors do chemical peels). Some common side effects include redness and swelling, which may take several weeks after treatment ends before they subside. Other possible side effects include scabbing and crusting around areas treated with lasers.

Is Treatment For Acne Scars Different For Teens and Adults?

Yes! The best way to treat acne scars differs depending on whether they’re new or old. If your scars are still fresh, there are many ways to treat them: topical medications like retinoids (such as tretinoin), lasers, and chemical peels can help reduce redness and smooth out the appearance of pitted acne scars. However, these treatments won’t work if your scars are old because the collagen has already been destroyed by collagenase. Surgery may be necessary if you want your acne scars treated with lasers or fillers.

How Can You Reduce Your Risk of Acne Scars?

Acne scars are a common side effect of acne and can be even worse than acne itself. Acne scars usually occur in people with chronic or severe acne, but sometimes even people with mild acne will end up with them.

Refrain From Picking, Touching, etc.

Many acne scars are caused by picking or touching the skin during an active breakout. This can irritate the area, causing more inflammation and redness, leading to scarring. If you notice a pimple forming on your face, avoid picking at it or touching it as much as possible until it heals completely.

Wear Sunblock

The sun causes sunburns and aging of the skin. If you have acne scars on your face that are exposed to sunlight often (like if you have a job outside), wear sunblock regularly when going outside so as not to cause further damage to these areas of your face.

Treat Acne Immediately

If you have acne, you should treat it as soon as you notice it. If you wait until the acne has gotten really bad, it will be harder to clear up and heal. Also, ensure that you wash your face twice daily with a gentle cleanser and pat dry with a clean towel. Do not scrub your skin or rub in the cleanser too vigorously; you may cause more damage than good.

No Smoking

Smoking damages your blood vessels and reduces blood flow to the skin, making healing difficult. It also increases inflammation which contributes to scarring and thinning the skin, making it more prone to damage from other things, such as sunlight exposure or picking at scabs. Smoking is also known to increase pigmentation in the skin (dark spots), which can lead to acne scarring if left untreated long enough.

See Your Dermatologist

The best way to prevent scarring is to see a dermatologist as soon as possible after developing any form of acne or blemish because they can prescribe topical treatments that work quickly to heal your skin from within without causing any damage or side effects like prescription pills to do. However, a dermatologist can help with acne scar removal if you already have acne scars.

How Long Will It Take For Acne Scars To Go Away?

It depends on what kind of acne scarring you have and how deeply it has affected your skin. The good news is that many acne scars can fade over time without any treatment. This means there’s no need for expensive creams or treatments with side effects. However, if your acne scarring is severe or persistent, you may consider seeing a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon who can help you get rid of them once and for all.

What Makes Acne Scarring Worse?

The severity of your acne breakouts: if you had severe breakouts with large cysts and nodules on your skin, this would lead to more severe scarring than someone who only suffered from small whiteheads on their face for several months.

How long have you waited before treating your acne scars: if you waited two years before treating your acne breakouts, then there is no way that they will ever fade completely without surgery or laser treatments.

Age: Younger people tend to heal faster than older people since their bodies produce more collagen and elastin. This means that older people tend to have more visible scarring than young adults who may have had acne in their teens or 20s.

Presence of other conditions: For example, if you have rosacea or eczema, your skin might be more sensitive and prone to scarring after an acne breakout. Similarly, suppose you have oily skin or allergies (e.g., hay fever). In that case, the likelihood of scarring increases because these conditions make it harder for your body to heal properly.

What Is the Fastest Way To Fade Acne Scars?

The fastest way to fade acne scars is through laser resurfacing or dermabrasion. These procedures help remove the top layers of skin and allow new healthy tissue to grow back in its place. This gives your skin a chance to repair itself and helps reduce any discoloration or redness caused by acne scars.

Will Acne Scars Fade Naturally?

The good news is that most acne scars will fade over time with proper treatment and care. They may not disappear completely, but they will look less noticeable over time if you follow a treatment plan consistently. Typically this takes six months to one year for most people, but everyone heals at different rates, so there is no guarantee how long it will take for your specific scarring to fade away completely. Without the intervention, they will likely not fade away on their own. 

The Vitastem Ultra Acne Scar Solution

Acne can manifest in whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples. These can vary in size and redness and can become very painful.

Vitastem’s proprietary transdermal delivery system is a specialized and effective way to treat acne. It has been proven to be very effective in treating many cases of acne that have failed to respond to other treatments.

By using a very unique combination of ingredients, Vitastem’s parent company ViaDerma has created an amazing topical drug delivery system that allows the medicine to be delivered at 10x the strength and depth of other products on the market today. The formula stimulates skin cells’ walls so medicine can penetrate 10x deeper than usual. This allows more medicine to reach the cells, killing bacteria and preventing them from adapting and developing resistance. Vitastem patients see results within 24 hours, not in 5 to 7 days, as with other acne treatments.

Vitastem can treat acne bacteria and infuse skin cells with vitamin D3 (ascorbic acid) and the bacteria that cause it. The skin is treated and rejuvenated.

If you or a loved one has acne scars and is looking for a more effective way to get rid of them, ask your doctor if Vitastem Ultra can be a good fit for you as a more effective acne treatment, so you can get rid of acne scars quickly.