How to identify what sort of scars you have – and what that means for their treatment

How to identify what type of acne scars you have

By Dr Fatima Ahmed

One of the most common side effects of acne is scarring.  However, not all scars are the same.  Identifying what type of scars you have is key to choosing the most appropriate treatment to improve the appearance and texture of your skin


One of the most difficult complications of acne is scarring.  Acne is a condition that burns itself out, typically as you emerge from your teenage years (although it can be as late as your 40s), but when the spots have gone, you can still be left with very visible signs of your acne.  Unfortunately, there is a reason we talk of being ‘scarred for life’; while your spots will clear up eventually, the scars and hyperpigmentation are long-lasting.  However, we have a range of treatments that can improve the appearance and texture of even the most severely scarred skin.  The first step is to identify what sort of scars you have.




There are three main types of acne scars:

Ice-pick scars – deep, narrow, pitted scars.  They are usually narrower on the surface, but go down a lot deeper.

Box scars – broad depressions with more sharply defined edges

Rolling scars – broad depressions with rolling edges

Hypertrophic or Keloid Scars – a hypertrophic scar looks like a raised, firm mass of tissue.



Treatment options

We use a holistic approach to treating acne scarring, often using a combination of treatments from the range of options available to us to achieve the best possible results:


Chemical peels: Suitable for mild (superficial) scarring, peels stimulate the production of collagen and elastin to improve the skin’s appearance.  They can work to different depths, so we make sure we choose the right one for you.

Derma rolling: Derma rolling works by creating microscopic wounds which induce collagen and elastin production.

Platelet Rich Plasma injections: Also known as Vampire or Twilight treatments, a small amount of your blood is withdrawn and put into a centrifuge to create platelet-rich blood, which contains stem cells to promote wound healing and the regeneration of elastin and collagen.  We inject this into the affected areas, adapting the injection technique to the type of scars.laser treatment

CO2 laser fractional resurfacing: The specific scar setting digs tiny holes in the skin; when they collapse it tightens the area of the skin and creates trauma which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin.

Subcision: Mainly useful for rolling scars (distensible, depressed scars with gentle sloping edges). The skin underneath deep scars forms adhesions which pull the skin down.  We put a needle under the skin and break the adhesion, so it stops pulling the scar down.



Identifying the type of acne scars that you have enables us to tailor your treatments to achieve the best possible improvements to your skin’s texture and appearance.


Book a no-obligation consultation to discuss acne scar and other facial aesthetic procedures with Dr Fatima Ahmed


Call 01892 22 22 22

Dr. Fatima Ahmed


Meet the expert

Dr Fatima Ahmed is a speciality doctor in dermatology and aesthetics, with special interests in acne, mole and skin lesion diagnosis.  With medical qualifications from Pakistan, Canada, the UK and USA, she achieved academic distinction at Cardiff University and received the Chancellor International Scholarship award at the University of Hertfordshire.  She has worked in South Asia, the Middle East and the UK