Acne scars

Acne scars are caused by inflammatory Acne that damages the skin tissue and leaves visible traces after the inflammation has healed. These types of scars can be emotionally distressing and are often silent witnesses to a turbulent skin past.

As experts in the field of aesthetic treatments in Vienna, we know which effective methods are available to remove acne scars and improve the appearance of the skin.

In this medically reviewed article, we explain how acne scars develop and are caused, as well as what treatment methods are available.

    Medically reviewed by:

    Medically reviewed by:

    Acne scars: Simply explained!

    Acne scars are not just remnants of a past skin disease. They are also witnesses to the individual healing processes of our skin. Acne scars can be psychologically stressful for those affected and affect their self-confidence. These are special scars caused by inflammatory reactions of the skin – keyword: acne. And unlike general scars, acne scars often result from deeper inflammation that has damaged the skin tissue. Did you know: They can occur even with mild acne.

    There are different types, from shallow to deep, pointed indentations. Their formation is influenced by both genetic factors and the severity of the original acne. Fortunately, there are a number of effective treatments available today that can help minimize or even remove acne scars. But let’s start by looking at how they develop in the first place.

    How do acne scars develop?

    Acne scars occur as a direct result of inflammatory acne outbreaks when pimples, pustules or cysts cause deep damage to the skin. Here is a step-by-step explanation:

    • Inflammation: Blemished skin or acne often begins with a blocked pore that becomes inflamed by sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria. The deeper this inflammation penetrates into the skin, the greater the risk of scarring.
    • Damage to the tissue: In severe forms of acne with lump or cyst formation, deep inflammation occurs which can damage the surrounding skin tissue. This means that the skin has to start a healing process.
    • Collagen production: In response to this damage, the skin produces collagen. But not all collagen is the same, as there are different types. Some forms are responsible for the structure and firmness of our skin – keyword: skin tightening. Another type of collagen is produced in excess during the healing process, leaving a visible scar.

    Understanding how they develop is the first step to effectively removing acne scars. Important: However, good treatment of your acne is the basic prerequisite.

    What types of acne scars are there?

    Scars are either caused by tissue loss, which causes depressions in the skin (= atrophic scars), or they stand out from the surface of the skin. The latter is a sign that the skin is healing efficiently. Sometimes even too efficiently. This is because excessive collagen formation results in raised, so-called hypertrophic scars.

    • Atrophic acne scars

      The most common form of acne scars. They are caused by a loss of skin tissue, resulting in the formation of depressions and indentations. We distinguish between 2 forms:

      • Ice pick scars: They are deep, very narrow and often have the appearance of small punctures or punctures in the skin. Imagine someone had pricked small holes in the skin with a fine needle – that’s exactly what ice pick scars look like.
      • Boxcar scars: These scars are wider and have sharp, demarcated edges. They resemble the scars caused by chickenpox and look like small craters or depressions in the skin.
    • Hypertrophic acne scars

      Hypertrophic scars are raised and result from excessive collagen formation during healing. They remain within the original wound boundary and show an overreaction of the skin to injuries such as acne.

    Can acne scars be prevented?

    You are probably wondering whether it is possible to escape these unsightly scars. The answer is: Yes, partly! One key lies in the early and effective treatment of acne. Avoid squeezing out pimples or blackheads, as this increases the risk of extensive inflammation.

    Regular skin care with facial cleansing and a timely visit to a specialist – especially in the case of severe acne with lump formation – can be decisive in minimizing the risk of acne scars.

    How can acne scars be successfully treated?

    Removing acne scars may sound like a challenge, but modern medicine offers a number of approaches. First of all: 100% removal of those scares is impossible.

    • Chemical peels ( e.g. fruit acid, TCA): We use strong acids to remove superficial skin layers and thus refine the skin’s appearance.
    • Dermabrasion: A procedure in which the top layer of skin is mechanically removed in order to achieve a smoother complexion.
    • Laser treatments (e.g. CO2, dye laser): Depending on the type of laser, the most superficial layer of skin can be removed and the formation of new collagen stimulated.
    • Microneedling: The finest needles perforate the skin, which stimulates collagen and elastin production and improves the skin’s appearance. We do the same with anti-aging.
    • Radiofrequency microneedling (e.g. Morpheus8): Microneedling combined with radiofrequency stimulates deeper layers of the skin so that scar tissue is lifted and reduced.
    • Hyaluronic acid injections: Similar to facial wrinkles, hyaluronic acid can fill in depressions and smooth the skin’s appearance.
    • Surgical removal: Particularly deep scars are surgically removed or strands of scar tissue are cut under the skin so that the overlying tissue is repositioned.

    Any questions? Our FAQ section has the answers!

    Acne scars can improve over time, but often do not disappear completely on their own. However, the appearance can be significantly reduced with suitable treatments.

    While some acne scars can be significantly reduced with professional treatments, it is difficult to remove them completely. The results vary depending on the type of scar, skin type and treatment method. A combination of different treatments can often lead to an improved result. Important side note: Although there are also acne scar creams or serums against acne scars, these never achieve the same success as medical treatments.

    More questions? Simply make a personal consultation appointment online.


    Last updated: 04.11.2023