Acne Scars vs Acne Marks: The Difference & Treatment Options

When it comes to skincare, it can be confusing to differentiate between acne marks and scars, as they are often used interchangeably. However, reminders of unwelcome skin inflammation and understanding their differences are essential in determining the most efficient treatment method. 

This is your ultimate guide to comprehending what sets these two blemishes apart while unraveling effective solutions to reclaim your skin’s smoothness and glow. Don’t let superficial distress darken your bright personality. Inform yourself and take confident strides towards healthier skin today!

Understanding Acne Scars and Marks

Acne marks, also known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) or erythema, are flat, discolored spots that appear after an acne lesion has healed. Depending on your skin tone, they can be pink, red, purple, brown, or black. These marks are not permanent and gradually fade over time, but they can persist for several months or even years if not treated properly. Acne marks are caused by inflammation and increased melanin production in response to acne.

Acne scars, however, are permanent alterations in the skin’s texture. They result from the loss of collagen during the healing process of severe or deep acne lesions. Different types of acne scars exist, including ice pick scars (narrow and deep), rolling scars (shallow and broad), and boxcar scars (angular and crater-like). Acne scars are typically more challenging to treat than acne marks.

Causes of Acne Marks 

  • Inflammation: Inflammatory responses to acne breakouts trigger melanin production, leading to hyperpigmentation.
  • Sun Exposure: Sun exposure can worsen the appearance of acne marks by darkening them further.
  • Skin Type: Acne scars are more noticeable in darker skin tones.

Causes of Acne Scars

  • Severity of Acne: Deep and severe acne lesions are more likely to cause scarring.
  • Picking or Squeezing: Manipulating acne lesions can damage the skin’s collagen and increase the risk of scarring.
  • Genetics: Some people may be genetically predisposed to scar formation.

Preventing Acne Scars and Marks

  • Early Acne Management:

The best way to prevent acne scars and marks is to control your acne from the outset. For a personalized treatment plan, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist.

  • Avoid Picking and Squeezing:

Picking or squeezing acne can worsen inflammation and increase the risk of scarring. Hands off!

  • Sun Protection:

Always wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or 80 to protect your skin from harmful UV damage that can exacerbate aging and even cause skin cancer and hyperpigmentation.

  • Gentle Skincare Routine:

It is important to use a gentle cleanser and moisturizer suitable for your skin type. It’s important to steer clear of harsh skincare products that can cause irritation and harm to your skin.

  • Scar Prevention Products:

Consider using silicone gel sheets or creams designed to prevent and treat scars if you are prone to scarring.

  • Stay Hydrated and Eat a Balanced Diet:

Proper hydration and a diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants can promote overall skin health.

  • Stress Management:

High-stress levels can cause acne—practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation or yoga.

Acne Marks and Acne Scars Treatment

When it comes to treating acne marks, nature can work its magic, but there are also several treatment options available that can speed up the process. However, seeking a diagnosis and prescription from a dermatologist is important.

  • Chemical Peels: Chemical peels use a high concentration of hydroxy acids to exfoliate dead skin cells, revealing even-toned skin.
  • Azelaic Acid: Azelaic acid prevents the activity of tyrosinase – an enzyme responsible for melanin production, thereby reducing skin inflammation.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a well-known ingredient in skincare products used to diminish the appearance of dark spots and enhance the brightness of the skin tone.
  • Retinol: Retinol speeds up the process of cellular turnover in the skin. It also aids in producing collagen and helps eliminate free radicals.

After consulting with a dermatologist, you should consider the following treatment options for acne scars.

  • Microneedling: Using tiny needles to create controlled skin trauma fosters healing and neocollagenesis.
  • Ablative Lasers: Ablative lasers require a numbing cream to prevent pain during the procedure.
  • Vascular Laser Treatment: This acne scar laser treatment uses focused light beams to trigger collagen production and resurface skin without damaging surrounding tissues.
  • CROSS: CROSS, which stands for Chemical Reconstruction of Skin Scars, uses high concentrations of trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to destroy the scar’s outer wall, promoting remodeling and resurfacing.

Home Remedies to Treat Acne Scars and Acne Marks

Acne scars and marks can be frustrating to deal with, but there are effective home remedies that can help improve their appearance over time. These natural treatments are not only cost-effective but also gentle on the skin.

  • Lemon Juice: Lemon juice contains vitamin C, which helps lighten acne scars. Apply fresh lemon juice to affected areas with a cotton ball and leave for 10-15 mins. Rinse with lukewarm water. Caution: lemon juice may dry sensitive skin.
  • Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe vera has soothing and healing properties that can promote skin regeneration. Apply a thin layer of pure aloe vera gel to your scars and leave it on overnight. Rinse it off in the morning. Regular use can help fade scars over time.
  • Honey: Honey has antibacterial and moisturizing properties. It reduces inflammation and promotes skin healing. Apply honey to scars for 15-20 minutes, then rinse with warm water. 
  • Coconut Oil contains fatty acids that can hydrate and soften the skin. Apply coconut oil to scars daily for a few minutes to improve texture and reduce appearance.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Mix apple cider vinegar with water, apply to scars with a cotton ball, leave for a few minutes, then rinse. Acidic properties exfoliate skin and improve scar appearance.

Sumlab Products For Acne Treatment

Are you tired of battling stubborn acne that won’t disappear? Look no further than Sumlab products! This powerful skincare solution is designed to help you effectively cope with acne and achieve clearer, healthier skin. 

  1. Rezamid Acne Lotion is formulated with a powerful blend of active ingredients that combat acne and promote clearer skin. Its premium quality is just what you need to treat acne. It dries rapidly, heals, and conceals while preventing breakouts. It Contains 5% sulfur and 2% resorcinol.
  1. Liquimat acne lotion is a medicated makeup containing sulfur, a hard-working ingredient that effectively fights acne and rosacea. The active agent in Liquimat is 4% sulfur, a gentle yet potent medication that combats acne and rosacea. Sulfur is a common and effective ingredient in many acne treatments. Patients with benzoyl peroxide sensitivity or allergy can safely use this soft product.


Acne scars and marks can be frustrating, but you can significantly reduce or eliminate their appearance with the right knowledge and treatments. Prevention is the best strategy, so avoid picking at your acne and seek timely treatment. Consult a dermatologist for personalized advice and treatment options if you’re dealing with stubborn scars or marks.


  • Michael Reed

    Michael Reed is a medical writer at Sumlab, focusing on dermatological studies and treatments. His articles help demystify complex clinical results for a broad audience.

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