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What do acne scars look like?

Audrey Kunin, MD
Dermatology
All acne scars are not alike. A forceful inflammatory response can have two results. The most common outcome is loss of tissue as collagen is destroyed. Skin overlying the collapse of the area is provided no support and a soft saucer-shaped depression (aka pock mark) or jagged ice pick scar is formed. This is more typical on the face and is seen in both men and women.

Less frequently, excessive scar tissue (keloid) is formed as fibroblasts (the dermal cells which produce collagen) are triggered. This is more commonly seen on the male torso.

Patients are often surprised to discover that another skin change is in fact a form of acne scarring. Tiny firm white bumps surrounding hair follicles on the upper arms or upper torso are known as follicular macular atrophy. These scars can last indefinitely.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.