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Notes on Acne Scarring

Acne scars can live long after the original inflammation has faded. A reminder of the outbreak that once was, acne scarring is often the result we’re left with when attempting to fend off a pimple by picking at the skin. Acne scarring occurs when too much collagen is produced as part of the skin’s natural healing process, presenting as a textural irregularity like a bump or crevice. Depending on the depth and severity of the scarring it can be difficult to treat and will require patience but there is hope.

There are a few major types of acne scars:

  • Rolling scars

         Small indentations with sloped sides, often appearing on the jawline.

  • Ice-pick scars

         The most severe form of acne scars, they are narrow and deep.

  • Boxcar scars

         Shallow scars with sharp edges.

  • Keloid scars

         Raised scars, resulting from excess scar tissue.

  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

         While this isn’t a form of scarring, it shows up as discolouration at the site of trauma (acne).

How to treat acne scarring

There are a number of ways to help treat acne scarring and for the best results a combination approach to treatments and products is usually needed.

In-clinic treatments

Ablative laser treatments are great for treating acne scarring for those with lighter skin types. Laser works to draw the pigment from the skin’s surface by breaking down the melanin into small particles that either flake off with cell turnover or are flushed out through the lymphatic system. However, it’s not for everyone and every skin, so best to consult a professional. 

Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT), also known as micro-needling is another highly beneficial treatment for acne scarring and a preferred treatment for those with darker skin tones. CIT involves creating micro-wounds to the outermost layer of the skin to stimulate the body’s natural healing process and accelerate collagen renewal deep in the dermis. 

For a gentler less invasive approach LED, chemical peels and microdermabrasion can help to reduce discolouration and even the skin tone but will require a longer treatment plan to yield optimal results.

At home essentials

Chemical exfoliation

Using serums with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) a few times a week is important to help promote cell turnover. AHAs dissolve dead cells on the skin’s surface to reveal brighter layers beneath. BHAs can work deep within the pore to clear and detoxify, making the complexion appear more even and unified in texture. There are a number of serums at different price points which include both, and can help work while you sleep. 

Brightening ingredients

Vitamin C, phloretin, niacinamide, kojic acid and root liquorice are skin-brightening ingredients that are excellent at evening out the skin tone and reducing discolouration.


Retinol is another key ingredient to help with scarring. It may be notorious for its anti-ageing abilities, but retinol is also a wonder for acne scarring. It penetrates deep into the dermis (the layer of skin below the epidermis) to promote cell turnover, resulting in resurfaced and refined skin.

LED light therapy

Complement your in-clinic corrective treatments with an at-home version of LED light therapy. A combination of red and white light therapy promotes cellular repair and regeneration, aiding in healthy skin recovery and scar reduction.


Sun protection is essential! UV exposure can exacerbate the pigmentation and colouring of the scars while also deteriorating the skin’s natural collagen production which results in dilated pores and tonal inconsistencies.