What are pitted acne scars, and how to get rid of them

Written by Pratishtha RanaSep 01, 2021

In the world of skincare, pitted acne scars are one of the most challenging and troublesome skin concerns. A more serious version of acne pitted scars, which literally translates to tiny ‘pit-like’ dents on the skin, are generally left behind by severe acne breakouts that fail to heal completely. And we say this with utmost sincerity; while makeup may conceal these marks temporarily, it needs to be treated ASAP before the scars make your skin their permanent home.
There are primarily three types of pitted acne scars, differentiated based on their appearance. They are:

Ice pick scars - They are deep and look like small holes that sit deep into the skin.

Rolling scars - They are not as deep or sharp, but their soft edges merge with the skin and make it look uneven.

Box scars - They appear as wide, oval or box-like indents with sharp edges on the skin and look quite uneven, just like rolling scars.


What causes pitted acne scars?

Also known as atrophic acne scars, the main cause of the appearance of these pesky pitted acne scars is inflammation and the lack of collagen regeneration, which completely disrupts the healing process of the acne wound. Like any wound on the skin, which requires collagen and tissue production to restore itself, acne breakout must go through the same healing process. So, when squeezed or picked untimely, the acne gets triggered, leading to extremely less collagen being produced in the skin, causing deep and shallow cavities.

How to get rid of pitted acne scars:

While pitted acne scars can be bothersome, they are not untreatable. Here are ways to get rid of pitted acne scars for good.


A popular ingredient in the skincare world, retinoids are good news for your acne and acne scars. A derivative of vitamin A and an umbrella term for retinol-based skincare products, they work actively on a cellular level to increase skin cell turnover rate, boost collagen production, and tackle inflammation. This majorly helps reduce the chances of pitted acne scars or any kind of post-acne bump appearing on the skin.



As the name suggests, micro-needling is a process that involves a number of tiny pin-like needles being punctured into your skin. It sounds scary but is completely harmless. There are microneedle devices created specifically for this. Still, if you want your scars to be treated safely in the presence of a professional, then you could consult your dermatologist for a micro-needling treatment. This process basically promotes collagen production in your skin in response to the mechanical injury done by the microneedles.

Chemical peel

Again, it is much safer and easier to get a chemical peel treatment at a dermat’s clinic than at home. The process involves applying a layer of a chemical solution on the skin and removing it, which helps in exfoliating and getting rid of the damaged and dead skin layers to reveal a fresh, new layer of skin. This peel visibly reduces the severeness of pitted acne scars. The most common chemicals used in the peels are salicylic and glycolic acid.

Mild exfoliation

While exfoliation may not help your pitted acne scars to vanish once and for all, it will help treat your existing acne breakout and decrease the chances of pitted dents forming on your skin. Your best bet is to use a formula with salicylic acid that reaches deep into your pores to clean out stubborn impurities and sebum. You can grab the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliant that thoroughly scrubs away dead skin cells and unclogs pores to reveal smooth and brighter looking skin. Along with salicylic acid, it contains microfoliating rice extracts, papain enzymes, allantoin and licorice — all of which are great for your skin.

Vitamin C

A skincare favourite, Vitamin C, can help fade your acne scars with regular usage. Also known as ascorbic acid, this ingredient can significantly accelerate collagen production in the skin, repair damaged cells, and lighten the post-inflammatory acne spots and scars, revealing an evened out skin tone. Our best pick is the Lakmé Vitamin C+ Facial Serum. It is enriched with Kakadu Plum — the richest known source of Vitamin C in the world. The magical serum harnesses the power of potent Vitamin C and will drastically improve your skin texture with regular usage.