What are the types of acne scars?

There are essentially two basic types of acne scars:

  • Atrophic – Pitted, depressed acne scars. Very difficult to treat and remove. There is said to be no topical skin care products to effectively treat these scars. A consultation with a dermatologist or aesthetic-trained doctor is the best way to approach this issue.
  • Hypertrophic and Keloidal – Raised acne scars. Most difficult to treat. Hypertrophic and keloidal scars are associated with excess collagen deposition and decreased collagenase activity. Again, only a dermatologist or aesthetic-trained doctor will be able to guide you in treating these severe types of scarring.

What about the red/pink/purple/brown colored marks left on our skin when our acne is clearing and skin is healing?These dark colored marks are the result of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). It is the normal remnant of the skin’s inflammatory process.

Sun exposure can make PIH worst but sun exposure does not cause hyperpigmentation. Sun’s rays can make existing hyperpigmentation worse by increasing skin pigment (melanin) production, making the marks more noticeable and longer-lasting.

PIH or red/brown “scars”.

Important Note: If you still have existing acnes, it would be better to clear the acne first before starting these procedures for scar treatment. My dermatologist also advised that acne should be cleared first before moving on to scar treatment.

Treatments for red/brown marks or PIH:


These dark marks will be gone, even if you do not do anything. However, the length of time before these dark marks disappear varies for different people and is influenced by a lot of factors, such as one’s intrinsic healing abilities, severity of the acne, age, exposure to sun. Some may take up to a year or more to fade off, especially the darker colored marks.

Chemical exfoliators
Chemical exfoliators help increase skin cells renewal, speeding up the lightening of the pigmentation. However, do note that over-exfoliation might lead to thin sensitive skin, hyper pigmentation and even inflammation. If you are using a strong chemical exfoliator with high acids content, use it at most once a week. If not, choose a milder lower percentage chemical exfoliator. Skinlycious Glow Exfoliant is a combination of Mandelic Acid (AHA) and Salicylic Acid (BHA). It can be used twice daily on spots but for whole face exfoliation, we recommend not more than 3 times a week in the evening.

Procedures like microdermabrasion and lasers
Likewise, these procedures increase skin cell renewal, speeding up the lightening of these dark marks.

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