The damage severe
acne
can cause

Understanding the consequences
of acne and acne scarring


Severe acne can cause permanent scarring. This scarring can have major lifelong consequences that affect people’s social lives, self-esteem, and even their ability to get a job.

Severe recalcitrant nodular acne
Severe recalcitrant nodular acne

The physical damage of acne

Acne causes injury to the skin. Although any type of acne can lead to permanent skin damage, it is difficult to predict which people may develop acne scarring. As with most injuries, the quicker you treat it, the better off you are.

Severe recalcitrant nodular acne
Ice pick acne scars Rolling acne scars Boxcar acne scars

The different types of acne scars

Not all acne scars look the same. Depending on how they look, health care providers often categorize scars as

  • Ice pick
  • Rolling
  • Boxcar

Sixty percent to 70% of acne scars are considered ice pick scars.

Severe recalcitrant nodular acne (back)
Severe recalcitrant nodular acne (back)

Although any type of acne can lead to scars, cysts and nodules have the greatest potential to damage the skin. Acne scars, whether because of an excess or a loss of skin tissue, may stand out permanently. Without timely, appropriate treatment, scarring may affect up to 95% of people with acne.

Severe acne may have a
psychological
impact

Severe recalcitrant nodular acne (back)

The physical damage that acne and acne scarring cause can lead to feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression. Embarrassment about acne can cause social withdrawal. Not surprisingly, acne that leads to scarring has been shown to have a negative impact on social lives and relationships.

Studies have shown that teenagers with acne feel more isolated and self-conscious than teenagers who are free from acne. Scars that develop from acne are often a devastating consequence of waiting for proper medical treatment.

My skin looks awful and I feel
so much angst when I
leave the house without makeup.*

*Actual patient quote from acne.org® forum. http://www.acne.org/messageboard/forum/6-personal-logs/.

Ask your dermatology health care provider about treatment options that may be appropriate for you.

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Understanding Acne

Understanding Acne >

Learn about who gets acne, what causes acne, and the different types of acne.

Treatment Options

Treatment Options >

Learn about acne treatments that can make a difference in your appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked
Questions >

Get the answers to questions you may have about acne and scarring.

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