Ice Pick Acne Scars

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    Ice pick acne scars cause dark pits to appear on your skin. These scars are frequently caused by severe acne breakouts, which are most common in teenagers who have just entered puberty.

    It can be challenging to get rid of ice pick acne scars. However, if you find yourself dealing with these scars, you shouldn’t be so worried!

    This article will walk you through the information you may need about these scars. We will define what ice pick acne scar is, what causes it, and the available solutions.

    Read on to discover the most common causes of these scars and how to treat them effectively!

    What are ice pick acne scars?

    Ice pick scars belong to the atrophic scar category. These scars appear as narrow sunken lines, and it reaches deeper into the skin than other atrophic scars (e.g., boxcar scars and rolling scars).

    Moreover, these scars also leave tiny indents that look like a little ice pick punctured it, thus named ice pick scars. Due to the damage that reaches deep into the dermis layer, it is relatively hard to treat these scars.

    How do ice pick scars form?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

    Ice pick scars mainly arise from clogged pores. When pores are clogged due to oil residues, the skin can develop acne. Once the acne heals, it’s common for ice pick scars to appear within the breakouts area.

    However, it depends on the individual’s skin condition since not all acne issues will lead to ice pick scars. This problem occurs when the skin doesn’t produce enough collagen during the healing process, causing the cured skin to leave noticeable pits in the skin.

    What causes ice pick scars?

    Acne will commonly damage the skin tissue beneath the outbreak areas. The body will naturally try to repair the damaged area by producing collagen. 

    Unfortunately, when the collagen production is too low, it becomes tough for the skin to recover from breakouts. This can severely damage the skin and leave injuries to the dermis layer in some cases.

    The skin’s incapacity of producing enough collagen can mainly lead to ice pick scars formation, especially if the acne marks are severe or cause inflammation on the skin.

    However, this issue will depend on the skin’s condition. Some people are more prone to having ice pick acne scars due to genetic factors. 

    Do topical creams work to reduce ice pick acne scars?

    Even though ice pick acne scars are relatively challenging to remove, some topical creams can help in reducing the appearance of the wounds. So, yes, there are several over-the-counter (OTC) topical creams that may diminish your acne scars.

    Here is the list of over-the-counter (OTC) medications that you can try for your ice pick scars:


    Topical retinoid is one of the skincare ingredients that reduce the appearance of acne scars and repair skin texture. Retinoid contains high concentrations of vitamin A that help in boosting skin collagen production. 

    You can apply over-the-counter (OTC) retinoid cream to rejuvenate your dark and sunken scars. Additionally, by using retinoid cream, you can speed up the regeneration of skin cells and achieve your smooth, revitalised skin.

    Although topical retinoids can help reduce acne scars, it is always a good idea to wear sunscreen during the day. SPF will protect you from UV rays and help you achieve your desired results.

    Salicylic acid

    Salicylic acid is a skincare ingredient that helps in deep pore cleansing. Sunken ice pick scars commonly contain oil and sebum, so this ingredient may help remove them from your skin.

    This ingredient is generally safe, and there are several over-the-counter (OTC) salicylic acid products to choose from. Choose the best one for you and apply it to your skin to exfoliate the dead cells. You may notice cleaner pores over time, and you may also be able to keep your acne scars from worsening.

    Azelaic acid

    Azelaic acid cream is a skincare ingredient that helps to reduce inflammation and acne scarring. This topical medication has anti-bacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties that may aid in curing dark and inflamed scars.

    You can get over-the-counter (OTC) azelaic acid-based products to treat your acne scars. It is generally safe to apply to your skin, and you may notice a gradual improvement in your scarring.

    However, you will need to be careful while using this product. Azelaic acid increases your sensitivity to UV rays. As a result, It’sIt’s best to apply SPF to protect your skin from excessive sun exposure.

    Clinical treatments for ice pick scars

    Topical creams can help minimise the discoloured marks of ice pick acne scars. Unfortunately, you will need clinical treatments for some stubborn scars to diminish the skin’s damage effectively.

    There are wide variations of beauty treatments that can minimise the ice pick scars. Here is a list of procedures that you can choose depending on your skin’s condition:

    TCA Cross

    A medical aesthetics doctor performs TCA Cross by directly depositing acid onto skin using the edge of a syringe or a toothpick. The acid will burn the scars and stimulate new skin cells production.

    TCA Cross is also a safe and cost-effective beauty treatment that helps with ice pick acne scars. Due to the narrow shape of ice pick scars, this treatment can effectively minimise the scarring.

    Laser resurfacing

    Laser resurfacing treatment can be another effective option to reduce ice pick scars. The medical aesthetics doctor uses laser light to target these scars. 

    Patients can choose both ablative and non-ablative laser resurfacing treatment as both techniques are competent in reducing ice pick scars. The ablative laser works by removing the skin’s top layer. On the other hand, the non-ablative laser increases collagen production in the skin.

    While the ablative laser technique delivers more significant results, it has a higher risk than the non-ablative ones Please note that both ablative and non-ablative laser treatments can cause the following side effects:

    • Redness
    • Swelling
    • Blisters
    • Itching
    • Changes in skin colour
    • Sensitivity to sun exposure

    Fortunately, the side effects will not last forever. After a few weeks, you will be able to see the optimal results.

    Chemical peel

    Chemical peels involve the application of acids to the skin’s surface. A medical aesthetics doctor will use acids to exfoliate the top layer of skin, which contains dead tissues. The procedure aims to promote the growth of skin cells, which can aid in resurfacing the skin for scars.

    On the other hand, chemical peels are prone to side effects such as flaking, redness, and painful sensations. 

    Patients will also be required to follow a specialised skincare routine and use SPF to avoid sun damage.


    Dermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure that involves removing the epidermis of the skin. This procedure includes an abrasive method in which the medical aesthetics doctor scrapes the top layer of the skin to stimulate new cell growth.


    Microdermabrasion is a mild form of dermabrasion. Instead of removing the entire top layer of the skin, this treatment will only scrape the dead skin cells. Subsequently, new skin cells will grow and slowly diminish the ice pick scars.

    Punch excision

    Punch excision is an invasive procedure that involves removing the scar by creating a new scar that is less obvious than the original one. After the scar is removed, the medical aesthetics doctor will sew the cut back up. This treatment is effective for removing deep ice pick acne scars.

    Although punch excision effectively improves the skin’s texture, it will not cure the discolouration around the scar area. You can complement this invasive treatment with other skin resurfacing treatments.


    Subcision is a type of cosmetic surgery that involves the insertion of needles beneath the skin’s surface by a qualified medical aesthetics doctor. Several needles will be inserted beneath the damaged skin in this process.

    This treatment aims to separate the scar tissues from the healthy skin surface. As a result, your skin will produce collagen and create new skin cells. Consequently, the appearance of your scars can be significantly reduced.

    Fractional CO2 Laser

    The fractional CO2 laser is a non-surgical treatment that effectively reduces the appearance of skin imperfections, including acne scars. This treatment employs fractional photothermolysis technology, which penetrates beneath the skin layer to stimulate collagen production and create new skin cells.

    This minimally-invasive treatment works by generating thousands of tiny micro-thermal deep beneath the skin’s surface. As the micro-thermal infiltrates beneath the skin, the energy will shed the scarring tissues. That way, once your skin heals after undergoing the procedure, it will appear smoother with less visible scarring.


    Microneedling is a procedure that involves tiny needles inserted into the skin’s layer. Your medical aesthetics doctor will perform this treatment to promote collagen production that will help repair the damaged area.

    You can choose microneedling as a solution for your acne scars. You may also scale up the scars removal treatment by opting for Intracel Microneedling.

    Intracel Microneedling works by delivering radiofrequency heat into the damaged skin cells through the microneedles. As a result, the energy producing process may be more effective and lead to more prominent skin rejuvenation.

    Intracel Microneedling may be an excellent solution for your acne scars. This is because patients who undergo this treatment can achieve the benefits of micro-needling and radiofrequency simultaneously. 

    However, patients might not see an instant result after receiving Intracel Microneedling. Ideally, you will need at least six appointments until you notice the optimal outcomes. 

    Usually, there will be a 4 – 6 weeks interval between each session. However, you can further discuss treatment schedules with our doctor.

    Skin booster

    Skin booster is an injectable treatment that hydrates the skin’s surface and promotes collagen production. This treatment is suitable for treating various blemishes, including acne scars.

    Patients who undergo this treatment can expect healthy-looking skin due to the injected active ingredients beneath their skin’s surface. The active ingredients also help rejuvenate skin and reduce the appearance of scarring.

    If you wish to undergo skin booster treatment, you may choose Rejuran Healer that contains salmon DNA and polynucleotides (PN). These two active ingredients are designed to be biocompatible with human DNA. Furthermore, the active ingredients can effectively revitalise your skin and promote long-lasting results.

    However, patients are unlikely to see an immediate result after receiving Rejuran Healer treatment. You might want to wait for four weeks until you notice the gradual improvement in your scarring skin. You may also repeat the treatment after 6 – 9 months to maintain the optimal results.


    Collagen stimulators made of Poly-L-Lactic acid (PLLA) can help in reducing acne scars by promoting collagen production. As natural collagen production continues, your atrophic scars will gradually improve in terms of depth and discolouration.

    Radio Frequency

    Acne scars often cause the skin to lose its elasticity and appear sagging. In order to repair your sagging skin, you might want to undergo Radio Frequency treatment. 

    Radio Frequency treatment works by delivering heat into deep skin layers. As a result, this treatment will promote collagen production that softens your skin surface, including the depressed scarring area.

    Although Radio Frequency may be excellent in tightening loose skin and lifting depressed scars, patients are unlikely to see an immediate result after this treatment. Ideally, it may need 6 – 10 sessions until you notice the optimal effects.

    Preventing ice pick scars

    Ice pick scars are usually caused by acne, especially from significantly inflamed acne. It has a higher potential to cause ice pick scars.

    Preventing the formation of ice pick scars requires you to take care of your skin in order to avoid acne development. Although acne is difficult to avoid due to several factors (e.g., pollution, stress levels, and unhealthy eating patterns), it is still possible to heal.

    Since ice pick scars prevention starts with proper acne treatment, you need to treat pimples as soon as they appear. Avoid popping or scratching your pimples, and try adjusting your diet for a healthier lifestyle that can lead to healthier skin. 


    Treating ice pick acne scars might be challenging due to the severe damage to the dermis. Fortunately, it’s possible to effectively and efficiently minimise the blemishes caused by this type of atrophic scar.

    Book an appointment with our medical aesthetics doctor, Dr Dylan Chau, now to learn more! He will choose which is the most suitable treatment for you based on your needs and the severity of your skin condition.

    About Celevenus Wellness & Aesthetic Clinic

    Celevenus is an aesthetic clinic in Singapore that offers a variety of signature treatments to rejuvenate the body and skin. Our series of treatments use non-surgical methods, so they are suitable for anyone unsure about going under the knife.

    Led by Dr Dylan Chau, who is an expert in blending science and artistry, we are here to provide several face enhancement methods, such as Sculptra, dermal fillers, HIKO nose threadlift, and acne scar treatments, that are safe and provide optimal results for our patients.

    What’s more, we also perform non-surgical body contouring using the Venus Legacy method. This treatment makes an ideal choice for anyone who dreams of having a slimmer body silhouette but fear undergoing an invasive procedure that takes longer to heal.

    Overall, we strive to be a trustworthy aesthetic clinic that prioritises the right solutions for our patients through the variety of face and body enhancements we offer.

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