Types of Acne Scars & Depression


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Acne may seem like the worst possible thing that can happen to your skin, but the scars which it can leave behind can be even more upsetting. This is because they can be much longer lasting and, in some cases, permanent. People suffer from different severities of acne scarring, from one or two very small marks to extensive, deep scars.

Types of Acne Scarring

There are different types of acne scar and different treatments to deal with them. It is likely that you will have more than one kind of scar and require more than one kind of treatment. Familiarising yourself with your skin may help you feel more comfortable and in control of the process. Here is a list of the different scar types and how to recognise them:

  • Hyperpigmentation – Sometimes, after your acne has cleared, you are left with red, brown, purple, pink or black areas of skin. This is not scarring and is completely normal. When acne is severe it can disturb the pigmentation of the skin in this way. Your skin colour will often return to its normal pigmentation within a year but can sometimes require treatment if the pigmentation does not fade.
  • Ice pick Scars – These scars are probably the most common type of scarring left by acne. They most frequently affect your cheeks and are given their name because they can look as if they have been created by a very small ice pick. They are often deep and quite narrow, with steep sides. The edges of ice pick scars can be quite defined and jagged in appearance.
  • Boxcar Scars – Boxcar scars are similar to Ice pick scars but are more smoothly rounded, shallower and wider, usually with a visible ‘base’, this might make them seem larger. They are often likened to the kind of scars left by chicken pox and mostly occur on your cheeks and forehead.
  • Rolling Scars – This type of scarring is found more often on your body than your face. It is less common but can have a very visible effect on your skin and make its surface appear slightly distorted or ‘wavy’ due to acne damage beneath the surface of the skin. This can cause skin, which looks healthy on the surface, to be depressed and sunken in damaged areas.
  • Keloid/Hypertrophic Scars – These scars do not come under the more general category of depressed scars. Instead they are raised. They are created when your body overproduces tissue with which to heal an acne lesion, this results in raised lumps that can be red or pink in colour. These scars rarely affect your face but are more common on your body.

Acne Scarring and Depression

Many people who have experienced moderate-to-severe acne are likely to have some kind of acne scarring. For some, the scars are not a problem and do not affect their lives at all. For others, acne scars can cause serious social anxiety, low self-esteem and depression. Acne scars can affect your confidence and can have a negative effect on your life. People who suffer from depression caused by their acne scars report that they socialise less and are less likely to perform well in situations such as job interviews, some people even report experiencing suicidal urges.

If you suffer from depression linked to your scars it is important to know that something can be done about them. Far from being a permanent problem, if addressed properly, acne scarring can be significantly improved. If your scars interfere with your life you should consult your doctor or dermatologist as they can carry out many effective treatments, they can also offer you any emotional support you need which is just as important.


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