Pennsylvania Centre for Dermatology


There are many types of acne scars. The treatment of your acne scarring depends on the type of acne scarring. The following is a brief overview of the different types of acne scars:

Ice Pick Scars

Ice Pick Scars are deep, narrow, pitted scars. They can look like small, round/oval holes, like a chickenpox scar. They tend to be the most difficult scars to treat since they extend far under the surface of the skin.






Rolling Scars

Rolling scars are have wide depressions that typically have rounded edges and an irregular, rolling appearance





Boxcar scars

Boxcar scars are broad U-shaped depressions with sharply defined edge. They can be shallow or deep. The shallower they are, the better they respond to skin resurfacing treatments.





Keloid and Hypertrophic Scars

Keloid and hypertrophic scars are raised, firm scars that grow above the surface of the skin. Keloids differ from hypertrophic scars in that keloids grow larger than the original wound.  Because of their raised appearance and size, these scars are usually quite noticeable. They are more common in dark-skinned individuals.  Unlike other types of scars, hypertrophic and keloid scars are not caused by a loss of tissue. Rather, they develop because of an overproduction of collagen. In the case of keloids, it’s like the skin doesn’t know that the wound has healed, and continues to produce collagen.



Post-Inflammatory Erythema (PIE) and Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) 

Sometimes when acne disappears, it leaves behind a dark spot or area of discoloration typically ranging in colors from pink to red or brown. It is caused by a post-inflammatory skin response. Post-Inflammatory Erythema (PIE) and Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) are not acne scars.  Post-Inflammatory Erythema (PIE) and Hyperpigmentation (PIH) are not exactly the same thing. Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) is brown or black marks caused by an inflammatory reaction producing an overproduction of melanin. Causes include getting a pimple, aging, pregnancy (melasma), hormones, and sun exposure.  Post Inflammatory Erythema (PIE) refers to the red or purplish marks left behind from acne. The redness is from damage or dilation done to capillaries near the surface of the skin resulting in small flat red marks. Patients can have a combination of both PIE and PIH.