Getting rid of acne scars (Part 5)

Getting rid of acne scars (Part 5)

In part 5 we will dive into a common topic which many of us may have experienced once or currently is suffering from in our life - acne scars. Acne is a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become saturated with dead skin cells and sebum (oil). This typically leads to pimples, blackheads, or whiteheads. 

Common spots for acne or similar blemishes to appear are on the shoulders, upper back, forehead, and face. Thankfully, even though some forms of acne can be very persistent, there are effective treatment options available.



Acne can come in different forms and appearances. It can vary depending on the severity of one’s condition.


  • Blackheads: open clogged pores


  • Whiteheads: closed clogged pores


  • Inflamed Pimples: Small, red, and tender bumps (papules) or filled with yellow pus (pustules)


  • Cystic lesions: painful pus-filled lumps under the surface of the skin


  • Nodules: large, solid, and painful lumps under the surface of the skin


What Causes Acne?

Acne can be a complex condition caused by a combination of different factors. Four main causes are:

  • Bacteria
  • Excess oil production
  • Hair follicles clogged by dead skin cells and oil
  • Excess activity of a certain hormone called androgens.

A condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which occurs in females that suffer from irregular menstrual cycles, is another cause for resistant acne.


Types of Acne Scars


Ice Pick Scars

Deep, narrow scars that extend into the dermis. With this type of acne scar, the skin will look like it has been pierced by a sharp instrument, like an ice pick. Some of these scars may appear as large, open pores as they make a thin, deep, and small hole into the skin.


Boxcar Scars

Round, oval depressions with steep vertical sides. This type of acne scar is wider than an ice pick scar. A boxcar scar can make the skin look pitted and uneven.


Rolling Scars

This type of acne scar causes a wave or rolling-like appearance across the skin. The skin looks pitted and uneven but differs from boxcar scars as they aren’t as sharply defined.


Keloid and Hypertrophic Scars

Firm, raised scars that grow above the skin’s surface. These types of scars are more frequently found on the torso, especially on men, even though they can be found anywhere else on the body. Hypertrophic scars are common after trauma or deep wound. A keloid scar is a more severe type of raised scar. It differs from hypertrophic scars as the keloids grow larger than the original wound.


Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

While this isn’t a true acne scar, discoloration sometimes appears on the skin once a pimple heals. This is very common for individuals with acne. This hyperpigmentation is a flat area that ranges from pink to red, brown, purple, and even black – it depends on your skin type.


Post-Inflammatory Redness

Facial redness during or after a flare of acne eruption may happen, especially in fair-skinned individuals.


Treatments For Acne

Everyone’s skin is different. Each type of acne responds differently to treatment mechanisms. 


Topical Antibiotics

Topical Erythromycin and Clindamycin are antibiotics but also known as anti-inflammatory drugs that work against different types of bacteria. These topical antibiotics should be used with a topical retinoid or benzoyl peroxide.


Topical Benzoyl Peroxide

This medication is used to treat both mild and moderate forms of acne. It can be used along with other acne treatments. Benzoyl peroxide reduces the amount of acne-causing bacteria, along with causing the skin to dry and peel.


Topical Retinoid

There are a couple of types of topical retinoids like adapalene and tretinoin that are effective for many patients who have comedonal acne. Patients who have inflammatory lesions usually see benefits from treatment that consists of topical antibiotics, azelaic acid, or benzoyl peroxide.


Oral contraceptive pills (for female patients)

Birth control pills containing estrogen and progesterone lowers the level of androgens in the body. This results in less sebum production, improving the acne condition. Depending on the individual and their medical history, this could be an option to consider.


Oral antibiotics with topical

Common oral antibiotics used are tetracycline based. Results will be obvious after 2 months of consumption. Apart from being an antimicrobial agent, it also has anti-inflammatory properties. Other form of oral antibiotics such as erythromycin can be considered in more severe cases in young children or pregnant ladies.


Oral retinoid with topical

Oral retinoid is reserved for severe, cystic acne, as well as those who have not responded to oral antibiotics. Your dermatologist will discuss the pros and cons of this treatment option. The results with oral retinoid is usually far more superior than all the above options if taken correctly under medical supervision.


Treatments that complement management of acne

Some people need more than a standalone treatment. To tackle certain types of acne and/or acne scars, you may need a combination of treatments. Some of the most popular and effective options are:



A procedure that simultaneously combines hydration, extraction, exfoliation, cleansing, and antioxidant protection. With this treatment, you can expect an improvement in the appearance of fine lines, brown spots, wrinkles, and congested and oily skin.


Laser Treatment

Ideal option to even out your skin tone and to reduce redness of the skin. Q- switched Nd:YAG laser can be used to even or lighten pigmentation, while the pulsed dye laser can be used to reduce redness. Fractional CO2 laser and radio-frequency microneedling can be used to be improve the scars.


Blue and Red LED Therapy

Blue LED light therapy is a noninvasive alternative or additional treatment for acne that uses light to kill certain bacteria on the skin, while Red LED light will help to reduce inflammation and minimize pore size in acne prone skin.


Lightening Cream

Topical lightening creams can be used together with other modalities as mentioned above. Our clinic uses a hydroquinone and other botanical range.



Appropriate cosmetics which help to ease the dryness and redness on the skin is crucial in maintaining the skin moisture after having medicated creams and oral medications.



Moisturisers that are antibacterial and moisture-retaining helps to hydrate the skin and ensure that the skin remains moisturised. This will ease the redness of the scars and prevent it from spreading or getting worse due to the antibacterial effects of the moisturiser.


Adapted from:



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