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Pitted Acne Scars Causes, Types and How to Get Rid of Them


Acne scars are embarrassing and unsightly especially if they occur in the face (or on noticeable areas). There are many types. However, pitted ones are the most widespread type. They are the worst type too.

Deep pitted acne scars on face and cheeks
Deep pitted acne scars on face - rolling type

Today, we are going to explore in details, the causes, types, best makeup to use to hide them and how to get rid of these scars.

Pitted acne scars overview

Acne is a chronic skin disorder that occurs when the hair follicles are clogged with sebum, dead skin cells, dirt. When the clog gets infected with Propionibacterium acnes, one ends up with this problem

There are various such as blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, pimples or nodules. These usually appear on the face, back, chest, neck, among other body parts. The following are the typical triggers:

  • Hormonal imbalance including during puberty, why scarring is common this stage
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Side effects of certain medications
  • Stress and depression
  • Oily cosmetics

To be specific, the kind of acne usually leads to severe scarring especially the inflammatory one.

Now, back to our question. What are these pitted acne scars? A pitted also known as sunken, atrophic, indented or depressed is the “one in which the healed surface of the skin is below the level of normal dermal tissue, creating a small pit.”[]

They usually occur when the skin areas affected recover or don't heal completely, i.e., the healing skin generates deficient amount collagen and more connective tissues.

Why they occur or causes 

Usually, they result from inflammatory types of acne such as papules, pseudocysts, and nodules, which may be very itchy and painful. Resultant scabbing and scaring can fade within few weeks to few months, however, pitted can stay forever.

There are useful home remedies that could be applied to fade them. However, if you have very deep, it is better to see your dermatologist for advanced treatment.


As we had stated before, pitted ones are the most common and worsed type. We have three major types of indented scars caused by acne. Let us explore them into details and one by one.

1.   Rolling

Rolling ones present with smooth edges resembling minor hills and gorges. They usually have a rough texture. confirms that "Rolling scars have rounded, sloping edges, hence the name ‘rolling scars”

2.   Icepick

These are narrow but deep. Icepick acne scars have a sharp border. They appear like the concerned skin was pricked using a sharp object. They also resemble enlarged skin pores. They are vertical and have a cylindrical shape.

3.   Boxcarp

Boxcar scars share certain traits with a rolling type and are thus presumed to result from similar kind of inflammatory acne. They are just shallow as the rolling type. However, they have sharp edges a characteristic the rolling scars don't have.

Remedies to get rid of them

Treatment will depend on whether you have shallow or deep ones. For shallow ones, natural home remedies can be of help. Also, certain scar removal creams can also be obtained over the counter.

On the other hand, deep acne scar treatment is a bit complex. You may want to see your dermatologist for advanced therapies.

Natural treatments at Home

Mild pits can be minimized at home using some natural products. They can fade out completely or their appearance will be diminished. Let us, therefore, discuss some of the excellent home products that can be used to heal mild pitted acne scars.

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a great product that has been used for years to treat many skin problems. It is usually is gentle to most skin types. Aloe vera many useful nutrients that nourish the skin and would tend to blemishes.

Get fresh aloe vera gel and apply on the affected area. Let it dry over there. Rinse it off using lukewarm water. Repeat the process daily until the conditions heal.

2. Apply Raw Honey

This another wonderful product. Raw honey is good. However, the Manuka honey is just great. It has got certain acids that scrub the skin and thus has the potential to reduce the depressions in your skin. It also enhances the regeneration of new skin cells.

Get some unprocessed honey and massage it over the depressed scars caused by acne. Use this remedy regularly to banish the blemishes.

3. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice contains alpha-hydroxy acid which makes a good treatment option. Should you use organic lemon juice right? Yes. Extract some lemon juice and rub onto the pitted scars using a cotton ball. Leave it to stay for a few minutes and then wash off using water.

Remember, if this remedy is used or long, it can make your skin to be vulnerable to the sunburn. Also, test for any allergic reaction to lemon juice before using it.

4. Coconut Oil

This is a great moisturizer and is among home remedies you should try. Besides, you should consider it since it is a useful treatment option for many skin lesions.

Now, what makes coconut oil best skincare ideal? Well, it has ingredients and vital nutrients that enhance faster healing of damaged skin. For this reason, after application, your scar will be fade and the skin would look healthier.

5. Baking Soda

Baking soda is an effective skin exfoliator that has no side effect. It would minimize the scars and boost healing time. It also enhances the regeneration of new cells. You need to prepare a paste of baking soda and massage it on the affected area on your skin. Continue using the remedy until you achieve desired results. 

OTC Products

There are many acne scar removal creams flooded in the market and thus, choosing the best creams may be difficult.  To select a good over the counter cream, make sure you get advice from your dermatologist to help you decide what will work well with your skin type. Some of the recommended creams include:

  • Proactive+ Mark Correcting Pads
  • Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Mark Treatment
  • Kate Somerville D-Scar Diminishing Serum
  • Bio-Oil Specialist Skincare
  • REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask

These creams and home remedies are going to work for mild cases, for severe cases, they may produce little results.  Consider the below treatment options.

Treatments options for deep acne scarring 

In case of deep pitted acne scars, you should consider the following option. Your dermatologist will advise you on what will give you the most desirable result. 

  • laser removal
  • Microdermabrasion 
  • Surgery for very severe cases

There may be more treatments options your doctor can recommend you on including chemical peels. Note that there may be potential side effects for each treatment.  Also, the above therapies tend to be very expensive mainly if they are used on large surfaces on the skin.

Can makeup hide them?

Is it possible to cover pitted acne scars using makeup? When should I apply makeup? Are there any side effects of concealing them applying makeup?

Well, if you have ugly pitted acne scars, you can conceal them using makeup. This can be applicable those that don’t seem to fade away quickly, those taking longer to heal or permanent ones. However, again, you should watch out.

Some products used as makeup can trigger or worsen inflammatory acne.  For instance, oily makeups can clog the pores leading to an outbreak. Before you purchase any brand, make sure you have extensive prior knowledge about the best ones for your skin type.

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