Acne Scars

These scars can be seen on the skin after severe episodes of acne, often cystic in nature, which may or may not have received dermatological treatment with retinoid medications.

What do they look like?

  • These scars are often undulating and make the skin look uneven or lumpy.
  • They can have shallow depressions termed “box-car’ scars and deeper scar pits termed ‘ice-pick’ scars.
  • They are often similar in colour to the surrounding skin unless the acne is still active in which case they can be purple or red.
  • They mainly occur on the cheeks, jaw, forehead, shoulders, back and chest.


How can this scar be improved?

  • Scars like these respond very well to CO2 laser resurfacing, which removed the top few layers of skin and leaves the scarred area much smoother.
  • In addition to the CO2 laser, ‘ice pick’ scars which go very deep are sometimes best treated with very narrow surgical excision (using a punch biopsy or narrow blade) to allow for smoother skin healing on removal of the thin scar.
  • Any CO2 laser treatment of acne scarring must be at least 6 months post-cessation of any retinoid treatment to allow for optimal healing of the treated scars.