Acne Marks vs. Acne Scars

What You Need To Know

Acne is a common skin problem that affects millions of adults and teens worldwide. Acne breakouts considerably affect your confidence and overall wellbeing. For many though, the problem does not end with having acne. A lot of people have to deal with the after-effects of pimples, such as acne marks and acne scars.

The terms “acne marks” and “acne scars” are sometimes used interchangeably, but these terms refer to two distinct skin conditions. Knowing the difference between acne marks vs. acne scars can help you seek and decide on the skin treatments that are most suitable for you. Read on to learn some of the major differences between acne marks and acne scars, as well as the recommended treatments for each.

What are acne marks?

Acne marks, also known as dark spots, are the noticeable discoloration of the skin that occurs after an acne breakout. When you have acne, your skin undergoes a natural process known as inflammation. During this process, there is increased blood flow, causing the skin to turn red. The blood carries white blood cells which attempt to fight off acne and the infection associated with it. Melanocytes, which are cells that produce melanin, also increase during inflammation and this causes darkening of the skin.

The darkening or discoloration of the skin during the inflammation process results in acne marks. The skin remains smooth and there are no indentations, but the discoloration of the skin can be quite visible. This results in an uneven skin tone.

Acne marks could either be classified as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which appears as brown spots due to increased melanin production, or post-inflammatory erythema, which appears as red or pink patches after an acne breakout. Acne marks may or may not fade away in a few months. In most people, it could about 3 to 6 months for acne marks to disappear.

Acne Scars
Acne Marks

What are acne scars?

Similar to acne marks, acne scars are the result of inflammation during an acne breakout. However, compared to acne marks, acne scars are a more serious skin condition. Unlike acne marks which could fade away on their own, acne scars are permanent indentations on the skin resulting from tissue damage.

Acne scars form when there are irregularities during the skin healing process after an acne breakout. Part of the inflammation process in acne is the formation of a pustule or cyst, which is a small pocket of skin that contains oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells. Once this pouch ruptures, your skin will induce the wound healing process. During this process, new collagen fibers replace the damaged skin. If there are problems with collagen production, scar could form on the skin.

Acne scars could appear as tiny craters, indentations, or thick, wide, and raised scars. Common types of acne scars include boxcar scars, ice pick scars, rolling scars, or hypertrophic scars.

Treatment for Acne Marks

It is true that acne marks can disappear eventually on their own, but some marks tend to cause lasting, noticeable discoloration of the skin. The good news is that several non-surgical skin treatments are now available to effectively remove acne marks. At Om, we use the Clarity II Laser, Reju S, and Pico Toning to target and treat acne marks to help you achieve your most beautiful skin yet.

Clarity II Laser

Clarity II Laser is a powerful alexandrite and Nd:YAG laser that effectively targets and removes skin pigmentation, including acne marks. The precise laser beams specifically target melanin in the skin to eliminate dark spots.

Reju S

Reju S is a unique form of Polynucleotides, a new type of injectable skin booster that stimulates total skin healing and rejuvenation. Reju S contain very high amounts of polynucleotides derived from salmon DNA, which induces collagen production to restore the skin’s integrity after an acne breakout.

Pico Toning

Pico Toning, is another laser technique that can effectively improve pigmentation and discoloration, including acne marks. The Pico Toning laser technology delivers focused ultra-short pulses of laser energy to the superficial layers of the skin. The ultra-short pulses of laser do not cause heating or burning of the skin, giving you an almost painless treatment experience.

Treatment for Acne Scars

Acne scars are permanent marks on the skin which require specific skin treatments. New skin treatments are now available to effectively get rid of acne scars. At Om, acne scar removal involves non-surgical procedures such as Radiofrequency microneedling, Reju S with subcision, and Fractional Pico Laser.

Radiofrequency microneedling

Radiofrequency microneedling is a special skin treatment that combines the power of radiofrequency microneedling and fractional Erbium glass laser. The Radiofrequency microneedling stimulates natural skin healing and remodeling for a smooth, tight, and healthy skin. The effects of Radiofrequency microneedling improve the appearance of the different types of acne scars such as boxcar, ice pick, and rolling scars.

Reju S with Subcision

Reju S with Subcision is a minimally invasive skin procedure that is highly recommended for deep acne scars. Subcision is a simple technique that involves a small needle that is introduced into the skin, just beneath the acne scar. The needle will directly break the scar tissues that make up the acne scar. The mechanical breakdown of the scar tissues induces the skin to form new collagen fibers for natural skin remodeling. After subcision, the Rejuran S treatment is performed to optimize the production of collagen and improve skin healing. This procedure is suitable for ice pick and boxcar scars.

Fractional Pico Laser

Fractional Pico Laser is the most advanced type of laser that is specifically designed to treat serious skin conditions such as acne scars. Pico lasers work by releasing specialized wavelengths of energy in picoseconds to stimulate natural skin healing and induce the formation of new collagen and elastin. The result is a smooth, younger-looking, glowing skin.

Acne Marks vs. Acne Scars

The table below gives you a summary of the differences between acne marks vs. acne scars and the specific treatments that are recommended for each.

Acne Mark


Brown or red spot after the acne subsides


  • Post inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)
  • Post inflammatory erythema (PIE)


  • Clarity 2 laser
  • Reju S
  • Pico Toning
Acne Scars


Indentation caused by permanent skin damage post acne


  • Boxcar scar
  • Rolling scar
  • Ice Pick scar


  • Radiofrequency microneedling
  • Reju S with Subcision
  • Fractional Pico
OM Aesthetics Clinic Singapore

Dr. Neil is one of the very few to be accredited with a Board Certification in Aesthetic Medicine by the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine in Singapore.

Our Doctor Profile

Dr Neil Pawar

Dr. Neil graduated from the esteemed Grant Medical College in 2010 with first-class honours in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS). Ever since studying medicine, Dr. Neil has always been passionate about aesthetics and anti-aging treatments. After graduating from medical school, he was awarded a full scholarship to pursue a research fellowship in New York, USA. He focused on the study of Alzheimer’s Disease and other aging-related diseases. Through his research studies, Dr. Neil gained a deep understanding of the pathology of aging-related diseases and the therapeutic modalities that alleviate the impacts of such diseases. His fellowship also further strengthened his passion for the field of aesthetics and anti-aging medicine. 

Dr. Neil is one of the very few to be accredited with a Board Certification in Aesthetic Medicine by the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine in Singapore. He has obtained all his national aesthetic certificates of competence to perform aesthetic procedures from the National Skin Center, Singapore.

To further advance his understanding of skin-related topics and aesthetic techniques, Dr. Neil undertook a Graduate Diploma in Dermatology at the Queen Mary University of London, where he graduated with a Distinction. He also received rigorous clinical training in aesthetic medicine from expert dermatologists and plastic surgeons from Korea, the USA, and Europe. He keeps his medical practice up-to-date by regularly attending international conferences and workshops on the emerging technologies and procedures in aesthetic medicine. With his notable experience and involvement in clinical practice and research, he has published extensively in several peer-reviewed journals.

Today, Dr. Neil is known for being an expert in delivering natural results through his precise and artistic approach to aesthetic procedures. He specializes in all face lifting and face slimming procedures and has developed his own combination protocols to get effective results. He also attends to patients for various other aesthetic procedures such as nose augmentation, chin sculpting, face fillers, face/body slimming procedures, and various laser procedures.

  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (Grant Medical College, Bombay)
  • Board Certified in Aesthetic Medicine (AAAM, USA)
  • Diploma in Clinical Dermatology (Distinction) (UK)
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Aesthetic Medicine (AAAM, USA)
  • International Certificate in Aesthetic Medicine (AAAM, USA)
  • Graduate Diploma in Family Medicine (NUS, Singapore)
  • International Certificate in Aesthetic Medicine (AAAM, USA)
  • Graduate Diploma in Family Medicine (NUS, Singapore)
  • Certificate of Training – Regenera Activa by Rigenera-HBW Technology
  • Certificate of Competence: Dermal fillers injection, Dermatological Society of Singapore – NSC (Singapore)
  • Certificate of Competence: Botulinum Toxin injection, Dermatological Society of Singapore – NSC (Singapore)
  • Certificate of Competence: Dermal fillers injection, Aesthetic Dermatology Educational Group (Singapore)
  • Certificate of Competence: Botulinum Toxin injection, Aesthetic Dermatology Educational Group (Singapore)
  • Certificate of Competence: Devices for Skin Tightening, Aesthetic Dermatology Educational Group (Singapore)
  • Certificate of Competence: Non-Surgical Body Contouring, Aesthetic Dermatology Educational Group (Singapore)
  • Certificate of Competence: Laser, Aesthetic Dermatology Educational Group (Singapore)
  • Certificate of Competence: Chemical Peels, Aesthetic Dermatology Educational Group (Singapore)
  • Certificate of Training – Fillers, Lasers and Rejuran, Asian Centre of Aesthetics and Surgery
  • Certificate of Training – Ellanse Collagen filler
  • Certificate of Training – Restylane Fillers, Galderma
  • Certificate of Training – Stylage fillers, Vivacy Paris
  • Certificate of Training – Cleviel fillers, Korea