As if coping with breakouts wasn’t painful and vexing sufficient, these zits usually depart behind scars that final lengthy after your pimples have flattened and healed. And in contrast to different marks and bumps, pimples scars—each their discoloration and their indents—appear to completely stick round, regardless of how persistently you slather in your vitamin C serums, retinoids, and peels.

The permanence of pimples scars isn’t solely bodily troublesome to deal with, however may also result in a big detrimental influence on psychological well being, physique picture, and social behaviors. A 2023 research revealed in Scientific, Beauty and Investigational Dermatology discovered that the majority sufferers understand their pimples scars as a everlasting type of disfigurement and should expertise depressive signs, in addition to elevated ranges of tension and socially avoidant behaviors. 

Regardless that pimples impacts the vast majority of us sooner or later in our lives, antiquated stigmas about breakouts nonetheless prevail in 2024. As we do our greatest to start out extra constructive conversations about pores and skin considerations, skincare expertise has been quickly advancing over the previous decade, giving beginning to highly effective in-office remedy choices for pimples scars. Forward, we spoke to board-certified dermatologists Y. Claire Chang, MD; Jeaneen A. Chappell, MD; and Hope Mitchell, MD, to share precisely how pimples scars type, easy methods to determine what variety you’ve gotten, and the very best methods to lower their look in case you’re not feeling yours.

Specialists on this article

What are pimples scars? 

To place it merely, pimples scars are “scars that type after a deep pimple or pimples breakout clears,” says Dr. Chang. They’re most typical in sufferers with cystic pimples and those that are genetically predisposed to scars, in addition to those that have a tendency to choose, pop, or squeeze their zits, she provides. A real pimples scar may seem as a raised lesion or sunken indentation—not a patch of discoloration.

Nevertheless, individuals generally confer with all pimples marks as pimples scars (assume: pink, purple, brown, and purple marks), regardless that they’re technically hyperpigmentation (extra on that in a number of). Fortunately, hyperpigmentation tends to be considerably simpler to eliminate through exfoliation, laser therapies, microneedling, and even time. However true pimples scars—the bumpy, indented, pitted variety—require extra specialised approaches attributable to their formation.

Photograph: Stocksy/Marcos Osorio and W+G Artistic

What’s the distinction between pimples scars and hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation, which seems on the pores and skin as flat brown or purple marks, isn’t technically a scar, Dr. Chang says. Due to this, hyperpigmentation can fade over time, particularly with therapies, she provides. The method could take months and even years, however each topical and laser therapies can successfully make hyperpigmentation ultimately disappear. Conversationally, you might hear individuals confer with hyperpigmentation as pimples scars, however the two aren’t the identical.

What causes pimples scars?

“Zits scars are sometimes brought on by the pores and skin’s response to irritation in the course of the therapeutic technique of pimples,” Dr. Mitchell says. If the irritation is extreme sufficient—sometimes frequent with cystic nodules—it might probably inflict main injury upon the collagen fibers within the center layer of the pores and skin, that are what give your pores and skin construction, elasticity, and firmness, says Dr. Chappell.

In consequence, collagen could also be misplaced within the space the place the pimples was, resulting in pitted scars, says Dr. Chang. In some circumstances, collagen may very well overgrow as an alternative, culminating in raised, keloid-like bumps. Popping, squeezing, and choosing at your pimples may also trigger pimples scars, since messing together with your breakouts can exacerbate irritation.

Varieties of pimples scars 

Not all pimples scars are the identical. They’ll tackle a number of kinds—every with their very own traits which might decide the very best remedy choices for you, Dr. Mitchell says. One of the simplest ways to determine which sort of pimples scar you’re coping with is to “rigorously study your pores and skin in good lighting,” she says. “Search for areas in your pores and skin the place the feel is uneven, raised, or depressed.”

Upon getting a visible in your scars, you possibly can assess in case you’re working with atrophic scars or hypertrophic scars. Here is a fast breakdown of every:

Atrophic scars

In case you discover indented, hole-like scars alongside the floor of your face, you are most likely coping with atrophic pimples scars, Dr. Chang says. These happen when collagen is misplaced in the course of the therapeutic course of. Research have discovered that atrophic scars are so frequent that they make up greater than 80 % of all pimples scars. Atrophic scars are categorized into three sorts, relying on their form and depth:

  • Ice choose scar: The deepest, narrowest type of atrophic scarring. They have an inclination to have a V-like form and might delve right down to the bottom-most layer of pores and skin, making them essentially the most troublesome atrophic pimples scar to deal with. 
  • Boxcar scar: Oval- or rectangular-shaped indentations with clearly outlined vertical partitions and a flat base, similar to an open field.
  • Rolling scar: The widest, shallowest type of atrophic pimples scars. They’ve a wavy, sloped look alongside the higher dermis (the layer proper under the pores and skin’s floor).

Hypertrophic scars

In case you have raised, keloid-like bumps, you are probably coping with hypertrophic scars, says Dr. Chang. Research have discovered this overgrowth of collagen to be much less frequent than atrophic scars, however are usually most prevalent amongst individuals with deeper pores and skin tones. Though they seem like keloids—i.e., raised and bumpy scars—hypertrophic scars aren’t the identical. In response to a research revealed in Cells, extra scarring that kinds solely the place the pimple or breakout initially was is taken into account hypertrophic scarring, whereas keloids can prolong past the unique space.

Do pimples scars go away?

Sadly, pimples scars sometimes don’t go away on their very own, Dr. Chang says. In-office therapies can vastly diminish their look to the purpose of being imperceptible, although. Relying on the severity of your pimples scars, you might want a number of forms of therapies over an prolonged time frame, however you’ll positively see enhancements by the tip, which generally is a game-changer for these coping with mental-health struggles surrounding their pimples scars.

What’s the greatest remedy for pimples scars?

One of the simplest ways to sort out pimples scars is to seek the advice of a board-certified dermatologist to find out the fitting in-office therapies in your particular pimples scars and pores and skin kind. “Therapy modalities will differ relying on the kind of scar current,” Dr. Chappell notes. The next in-office therapies for pimples scars considerably enhance the looks of pimples scars by stimulating collagen manufacturing, resurfacing the pores and skin, and selling even texture, Dr. Mitchell says. 

Laser therapies for pimples scars

The most typical therapies for each atrophic and hypertrophic pimples scars contain some kind of laser, which usually falls into two classes: ablative vs. non-ablative, says Dr. Chang.

Ablative lasers

Ablative lasers resurface your face by quickly heating up the pores and skin, vaporizing a number of of its floor layers, and triggering a wound-healing response that reinforces collagen manufacturing. Ablative lasers are usually essentially the most intense kind of laser as a result of the highest layers of pores and skin are primarily eliminated, inflicting main discomfort in the course of the process (even with numbing), in addition to scabbing, irritation, and momentary hyperpigmentation for as much as two weeks afterward.

The most typical kind of ablative laser that our consultants advocate for pimples scars is carbon dioxide (CO2) laser remedy. Research have discovered C02 lasering to be the best process for fading pimples scars—even after only one session. Nevertheless, ablative lasers tout essentially the most downtime at about two weeks.

Non-ablative lasers

Non-ablative lasers, like Fraxel Twin, emit beams of sunshine vitality into the center layer of the pores and skin, creating microscopic accidents inside it. In consequence, the tissue is triggered to restore itself by rising new collagen fibers, thus bettering pimples scars. As a result of this type of laser remedy bypasses the floor of the pores and skin, it has a quicker restoration time (sometimes three days) than ablative lasers.

Photograph: Getty Pictures/ Frazao Studio Latino


Microneedling is one other methodology used to create managed micro-injuries that stimulate collagen manufacturing for each atrophic and hypertrophic scars. Microneedling is usually well-tolerated with none main unintended effects or downtime apart from minor redness for a few days, based on consultants.

Microneedling is often extra reasonably priced than laser therapies, however understand that this acne-scar remedy could take as much as a 12 months of classes to yield important outcomes. Specialists will more than likely advocate a sequence of classes spaced out a number of weeks at a time, so it is a time dedication, however one that may assist in case you’re constant.


A number of research have discovered microneedling to be simplest when mixed with platelet-rich plasma aka PRP. The pinpricks created by microneedling permit PRP to sink into pores and skin and assist it heal higher. Cause being: PRP “attracts stem cells to the realm that they are used,” as Norman Rowe, MD, a New Jersey board-certified plastic surgeon, beforehand instructed Nicely+Good. In consequence, brand-new collagen and elastin are created for smoother, clearer pores and skin.


Dr. Chang additionally recommends subcision to her sufferers coping with atrophic pimples scars. For these unfamiliar, subcision is a minimally invasive process that includes your plastic surgeon or dermatologist lifting the indented pores and skin of the pimples scar with a needle, cannula, or blunt blade to pressure the connective tissue to regrow and refill the realm. Research have discovered subcision to be notably efficient for rolling scars (the wavy, shallow kind of scar).


Another choice for fading atrophic pimples scars is dermal fillers. Usually made out of hyaluronic acid, injectables “assist fill in depressed scars for a extra even pores and skin tone,” Dr. Mitchell says. Filler is essentially the most momentary remedy, although, as hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers are inclined to solely final three to 18 months. For hypertrophic pimples scars (the raised type of scar), steroid injections could be executed to assist scale back the dimensions of the scar, with or with out laser therapies, Dr. Chang provides. 

Photograph: Stocksy/ Bethany Birnie

How do you eliminate pimples scars naturally?

As a result of pimples scars don’t essentially go away on their very own, dermatologists say in-office therapies are your greatest guess for eliminating them—particularly in case your scars are on the deeper aspect. If you need to check out some at-home treatments, although, topical retinoids may help enhance the looks of pimples scars, says Dr. Chang. You may as well attain for mild exfoliating merchandise spiked with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) to fade discoloration, provides Dr. Chappell. 

Closing takeaways

Eliminating pimples scars isn’t a one-and-done course of, although most individuals discover it value it ultimately. One of the simplest ways to eliminate pimples scars is to hunt out in-office therapies that increase collagen manufacturing to assist “fill in” and clean out your scars. They might be painful and take a number of visits to attain your required outcomes, however endurance and consistency are vital to pimples scar remedy, Dr. Mitchell says.

“It is pure to need fast outcomes, however addressing pimples scars usually takes time and dedication,” says Dr. Mitchell. “Do not get discouraged in case you do not see instant enhancements, since outcomes could fluctuate relying on particular person elements, comparable to pores and skin kind, scar severity, and chosen remedy strategies.” Keep in mind, your scars and pores and skin may require a mix of various therapies to start out seeing a change, so in case you’re not sure of the place to start, a board-certified derm is an efficient place to start out.

Hero Illustration by Janet Mac

Nicely+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, current, sturdy research to again up the data we share. You possibly can belief us alongside your wellness journey.

  1. Mony, Manjula P, et al. “An Up to date Evaluate of Hypertrophic Scarring.” Cells, vol. 12, no. 5, 21 Feb. 2023, pp. 678–678,


  2. Zhou, Crystal, et al. “Past the Floor: A Deeper Have a look at the Psychosocial Impacts of Zits Scarring.” Scientific, Beauty and Investigational Dermatology, vol. Quantity 16, Mar. 2023, pp. 731–738,

  3. Lin, Miaolin, et al. “Trendy Strategies in Addressing Facial Zits Scars: A Thorough Evaluation.” Pores and skin Analysis and Expertise: Official Journal of Worldwide Society for Bioengineering and the Pores and skin (ISBS) [And] Worldwide Society for Digital Imaging of Pores and skin (ISDIS) [And] Worldwide Society for Pores and skin Imaging (ISSI), vol. 30, no. 2, 1 Feb. 2024, p. e13573,,

  4. Connolly, Deirdre, et al. “Zits Scarring—Pathogenesis, Analysis, and Therapy Choices.” The Journal of Scientific and Aesthetic Dermatology, vol. 10, no. 9, 1 Sept. 2017, pp. 12–23,

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