Difference Between Acne Marks Vs Acne Scars


Acne marks are defined as the temporary discoloration that happens after an acne breakout and acne scars are permanent indentations that remain on the skin after the healing of lesions. Although they both sound similar, the effects are entirely different and it is important to understand the type of mark you have on your face so that you can treat it appropriately.

In this article, we will explore the difference between an acne mark and an acne scar. So, scroll down.

All About Acne Marks

Acne marks are the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that appears on the skin following an acne breakout.  They are temporary marks which is only a natural cope up mechanism opted by the skin to heal itself completely after the formation of an acne lesion. This discoloration is caused when your body produces collagen to heal the skin as well as the underlying tissue. 

Acne Marks Vs Acne Scars

Although the cause of hyperpigmentation is the same, they vary in color ranging from light pink to dark brown. Normally, these acne marks can be seen as small patches on the surface of the skin wherever you had an acne breakout.

This discoloration is the result of the healing of inflammation caused by an acne breakout and therefore, it can be found on any part of your body including your chest, shoulders, back, and face.

However, the types of acne marks can be classified into two- post-inflammatory erythema, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. While the former is the temporary skin discoloration, specifically in red and pink color, caused due to inflammation, the latter is formed due to a cut or burn that occurs on any part of the skin. 

Even though both these are slightly different, the duration to fade the dark spots are similar. You only have to use topical creams or serums to heal such marks, and if that doesn’t work, you can look for effective chemical peels or laser treatments. 

All About Acne Scars 

Acne scars are permanent marks that are left on the skin after the healing of lesions. Unlike acne marks, acne scars change the skin texture completely. This happens because acne scars are the result of severe and prolonged acne. 

Generally, there are two types of acne scars and they are as follows: 

  • Atrophic Scars- These are scars formed due to depression on the skin. This depression is often caused by the loss or damage of the underlying collagen or tissues at the time of healing. They are only formed after the recovery of inflammatory or severe acne and can be seen in different sizes and depths. The types of atrophic scars are as follows: 
  • Boxcar Scars 
  • Rollings Scars
  • Ice Pick Scars
  • Hypertrophic Scars– These are scars developed as a result of the overproduction of collagen during the healing process of the wound occurring on the skin. 

Available Treatment Options

Acne is a common condition that occurs in people regardless of their age. Since it is common, treatment options are also varied. The following are the possible treatment acne treatment options 

  • Chemical Peels 
  • Microneedling
  • Derma Fillers
  • Laser Treatment
  • Other Surgical Procedures 

Key Difference Between Acne Mark And Acne Scar

To begin with, an acne mark and an acne scar can be identified just by looking at them as they have a distinctive appearance. Also, a mark is treatable, and a scar cannot be treated using a topical cream. It requires surgical procedures to heal.

In addition to that, the results of a scar are more lasting than that of marks. Finally, the duration of the fading process is different for each of them. While a mark heals in a short period, the scar is either permanent or requires much more time with surgery. 


Acne can be prevented by following a proper skincare routine. But, if you are looking for treatment,  it is important to identify what kind of acne you have. Therefore, consulting a dermatologist is recommended. 

Dr. Jun Ren is a dedicated and experienced registered dietitian and nutritionist who is committed to helping people achieve their health goals through personalized nutrition plans. With a passion for promoting healthy eating habits and preventing chronic diseases, Dr. Ren has been able to assist numerous clients in improving their overall quality of life.

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