Products get free shipping over $75, or $6 flat rate across Canada!
$500 Cash Back on CoolSculpting®!* Learn more
Close up of skin cheek with rolling acne scars and icepick scars with enlarged pores after acne has healed

What causes acne scars and how can I prevent them?

Jump to:

Are you looking for acne scar treatments in Vancouver? We have multiple treatments to get the job done!

CALL / TEXT 604 580 2464

While we all hate acne, there is nothing worse than the grim reminder that acne was once there. Acne scars can be that grim reminder. They come in many shapes and sizes too. Tiny ice pick scars, rolling scars, pitted scars… and sometimes just dark marks that don’t seem to go away.

So, what is it about acne that makes acne scars? And, how can they be prevented?

Back to top

What causes acne scars?

Stage 4 acne with nodules and cysts and large white heads plus macular acne scars and redness

Acne scars form when the lesions in your skin (i.e. your pimples and blemishes) break open.

These are wounds, just like if you were to cut your skin some other way (think: knife cuts and knee scrapes). So, they heal the same way, too.

In order to close up your exposed skin, your body starts producing collagen. This forms new skin cells. These are scars. They’re like natural ‘bandages’ for your skin. But, they stay with you forever.

Scars can be red or brown for a while, since blood vessels or old skin cells usually take a while to clear out. Sometimes, lingering scars can be pale in colour.

The main problem is, our bodies aren’t great at forming skin back to the way it was – it’s never quite the same with these new, nature-made skin ‘bandages.’

Acne boxcar scar indented and with an uneven shape - requires acne scar treatment

Sometimes, when a large cyst has ruptured, such as with an acne infection, the skin has been opened too wide for it to heal back to its normal state. In this case, your body may not produce enough collagen to replace lost skin cells. So, the acne scar is hollowed out, and looks like a little crater in your skin.

Pink raised keloid scar on white skin treatable with cortisone injections or other solutions

Other times, our bodies over-produces collagen. This results in a raised scar, or a keloid. It’s like a hard lump of too much skin.

acne vulgaris condition on jawline of face - a treatable condition with laser technology and skin care

Aside from textured scars, people often refer to the dark spots left behind from pimples as acne scars. However, these are not true acne scars; they usually clear up within a few months.

Real acne scars can be permanent damage to your skin – much like a scar from a knee scab or burn. Though, of course, scars that deform our faces are much more difficult to deal with, emotionally and psychologically.

Back to top

Why do I get acne scars when others don’t?

Whether or not you get acne scars, and the kind you get, can depend largely on genetics.

To some degree, this condition can also depend on how you care for your skin during acne breakouts in the first place.

Back to top

How can acne scars be prevented?

Teen with acne and redness using skin care on face

Firstly, it is important to know that to prevent acne scars, one must be diligent to control acne outbreaks as much as possible.

If you have acne scars already, it is likely you are experiencing the third or fourth stages of acne. This is when deep, painful infections are formed, constantly. The formation of acne cysts and nodules is what can bring about scarring and dark spots.

This means that even if you are treated for acne scars today, they can return. But, you can lessen that likelihood a lot, by following regular, routined skin care, per the recommendations of a doctor.

As long as you’re willing to do the daily (but simple) work of keeping your face, neck and back clear of acne as much as possible, doctors and aestheticians can help with the leftover reminders of those awful blemishes.

Back to top

Maintain a home acne treatment routine

You can do a lot to prevent acne scars. This involves regular, daily-routines such as:

  • Washing twice daily with a made-for-acne cleanser, and exfoliating faithfully, without over-scrubbing or irritating the skin.
  • Following a doctor’s orders when it comes to prescriptions or products that prevent acne formation.
  • Always wearing an oil-free, high SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen.
  • Avoiding comedogenic (i.e. clogging) makeup or skin care products.
  • Not picking or popping pimples or scabs (this can worsen the already-deep wound, and lengthen healing times, too).

Back to top

Why keep your pores cleansed and your skin exfoliated?

We cover a lot of those reasons on our page about acne treatments, here.

The gist of it is that you want to get rid of the excess oil build up, which traps dead skin cells and the P. acnes bacteria in your pores. These components are what make mini infections in your skin, which appear as pimples. They need to go, but safely!

Back to top

Opt for professional, deep pore acne treatments

HydraFacial treatment with blue tip - featured image for Surrey HydraFacial provider

Depending on your case, it often helps to do occasional ‘deep’ cleanses. This helps to keep acne at bay.

The following medical-grade services can deeply cleanse pores and exfoliate skin:

Note: some of the above solutions can not be used on open wounds.

Many of the above treatment options can be done monthly or bi-weekly, depending on your skin type. They can also be alternated, or mixed, in your treatment plan. Follow a doctor or aesthetician’s advice on how frequently to get them done.

Back to top

Try acne laser therapy

AviClear acne laser treatment in Surrey on the nose close up view

Acne laser therapy with the 1726 nm wavelength on the AviClear™ device is the newest way to treat acne. It’s popular because it’s prescription free and requires no routines.

AviClear™ works by down-regulating the production of oil in the skin’s sebaceous glands. Other types of acne lasers can only kill acne bacteria. They require repeat treatments to be effective.

Acne laser therapy with AviClear™ works long-term on current and future breakouts. In a 12-month follow up study, 92% of patients responded to treatment. And, 67% of patients were assessed as clear or almost clear at this mark.

Learn more about AviClear™ here.

Back to top

Consider steroid injections

Sometimes, very large, still active, cystic acne or nodules can be treated with steroid injections.

This is to help reduce inflammation, so as to prevent a scar from forming, should the lesion burst and break the skin barrier. This breakage is what causes acne scars in the first place.

Back to top

How can acne scars be treated?

Before and after of Infini RF microneedling acne scar removal - available in Vancouver

We cover that in detail over on this page.

Back to top

Why treat acne scars? Is it just for looks?

Whether you are an adult or a parent with a teen who has acne scars, dealing with their skin damage can be an important decision to make. Clearing up acne scars can result in a better social life, and the regaining of self-esteem.

Acne has been known to cause depression, and other mental issues. The scars they leave behind can be permanent, if not treated. Their psychological associations can invade our attitude towards many other parts of life. Treating a marked face is not just cosmetic; it’s an important part of maintaining a good quality of life.

Back to top

Preventing acne scars means addressing their root causes

As we’ve seen above, acne scars are usually caused by stage 3 and stage 4 acne. This is when large cysts and nodules are forming beneath the skin. When these lesions break open, the body tries to repair the skin by producing scar tissue.

To prevent acne scars, one has to be diligent to prevent acne. This can involve a committed, daily, at-home skin routine. It can also involve medical aesthetic procedures such as medical-grade facials, acne laser therapy or cortisone injections.

Treating acne scars can result in better quality of life, as it can lessen depression and low self-esteem.

Back to top

Are you looking for acne scar treatments in Vancouver? We have multiple treatments to get the job done!

CALL / TEXT 604 580 2464

Back to top

Back to top

Get customized Vancouver laser, skin and body services!

From Botox®, fillers, skin rejuvenation, body sculpting, sweat treatments and more, we have the medical aesthetic services you're looking for!

Choose a reputable, doctor-led med-spa in Surrey (near Vancouver, B.C.).

Access over 50 customizable treatments, using over 20, up-to-date cosmetic technologies.

You won't be disappointed! Our clients drive to us from all over the Lower Mainland, including from North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond, Delta (Tsawwassen and Ladner) Burnaby, White Rock, Langley, Aldergrove, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and even as far as Bellingham, USA.

Our doctor's training, association memberships and media appearances have included:

Our awards have included: