Acne Scarring

Active acne breakouts are frustrating enough, but many people also suffer with acne scars that can be permanent. Thankfully, effective treatment is available with a qualified dermatologist. Dr. Damstetter and the Reserve Dermatology team can help you achieve more even and smooth skin and prevent future acne scars.

What are Acne Scars?

Acne scars occur when the skin is damaged from previous acne breakouts and forms scar tissue. There are several basic types of acne scars, as their appearance can vary. These include:

  • Atrophic (depressed) scars: the most common type of scars which form a depression in the skin as a result of damaged collagen and tethered scar tissue.
  • Boxcar scars: depressed scars that are U-shaped with sharp, defined edges.
  • Ice pick scars: narrow or pinpoint V-shaped scars that can be quite deep.
  • Rolling scars:  wide depressions with rounded and irregular edges.
  • Hypertrophic scars: raised, often pink or hyper pigmented scars caused by excess collagen.
  • Dark spots: red, purple, or brown flat marks at the site of an acne blemish.

Liz Damstetter, MD

Board-Certified Dermatologist

Meet the Doctor

What Causes Acne Scars?

Not all patients who suffer with acne will develop acne scars. There are some risk factors which make it more likely that you will develop scarring after your acne heals. These include:

  • A family history of acne scarring
  • Inflammatory types of acne, such as cystic acne or nodules
  • Delayed treatment of acne
  • Picking or popping acne

Aside from these risk factors, acne scars are caused by too little or too much collagen production in the skin as the acne heals.


“I had a recent visit to Dr Damstetter’s clinic and would like to share my experience. I am a Navy vet(corpsman) and usually get seen at the VA but since we don’t have a Derm provider right now, I was fortunately sent out to her clinic to be evaluated. It’s a nice clinic in a nice area and was relatively easy to find. A pleasant Ms. Nancy at the front desk was helpful in completing the check-in process. Easy day. I did not have to wait long and was soon met by Dr. Damstetter’s assistant, who for classified reasons I will refer to as “Agent 8”. I am sure if she gets tired of providing excellent medical care, her slick-ninja skillset could get her a job with the CIA or MI6 maybe. Short story long, Agent 8 brought me back to the patient area, where I was introduced to Dr Damstetter, who was all the things you would want in a doctor: a knowledgeable provider with a great bedside manner. She gave me a thorough exam which did end up showing that I needed a minor procedure. No worries. I felt well taken care of throughout my visit. No one likes to have to see the doctor, but if you have a dermatological concern, this is a good place with good people who did great by me, and I am thankful to have been sent here.”

“Dr. Liz is truly the best dermatologist I’ve ever been to. She is attentive, kind, and genuinely cares about her patients and their overall skin health. I can not recommend her enough!!!”

“Wonderful experience here! The doctor took the time to educate me on a variety of cosmetic options and gave her candid opinion resulting in just the right amount of cosmetic adjustments! Her staff was delightful and attentive! I would highly recommend for general derm needs and cosmetic adjustments.”

“Dr. Damstetter was the first dermatologist I trusted to do my Botox. She is both knowledgeable and professional and did a fantastic job. I will be using her for any and all of my future needs.”

Preventing Acne Scars

For many patients, treating acne early and limiting breakouts can help you prevent acne scars from developing. To treat acne, you can schedule an appointment with a dermatologist like Dr. Damstetter to learn more about proper skin care for your skin type or to seek professional acne treatments. As your acne clears, you should continue to treat your skin as instructed to prevent future breakouts. Avoid scrubbing or picking at your skin and do not attempt to pop or squeeze acne, as this can cause further inflammation and result in scars.

Acne Scar Treatment

If you have acne scars, Dr. Damstetter may recommend several treatment options to reduce the appearance of the scarring and restore healthy, smooth, and more even skin.

Energy-based resurfacing treatments such as laser and IPL can be a good option for acne scars by stimulating new collagen production and healthy skin cell growth. Similarly, microneedling can be a good option for both depressed or textured scarring and redness in acne scars, as the treatment stimulates new collagen.

Dermal fillers can also be used to smooth depressed acne scars by adding a small amount of volume below the scarring.

Finally, Dr. Damstetter may recommend skin care products that gently exfoliate the skin, such as retinoids or salicylic acid. Over time these products will reduce redness and promote a more even texture, and choosing an appropriate retinoid for an individual’s skin type takes experience. Products that contain SPF should also be used daily to protect the skin from sun damage.


Schedule an Appointment

To learn more about acne scar treatment, schedule an appointment with Dr. Damstetter at Reserve Dermatology. Call our Glenview, Illinois office or contact us online.

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