Boxcar acne scars are a type of atrophic scar, meaning the mark is indented and heals below the top layer of skin tissue. These scars are often rounded depressions or craters in the skin and typically have vertical, sharp edges. Boxcars are among the most common type of acne scar, comprising between 20 and 30 percent of all atrophic scars.
In general, the shallower the scar, the better it will respond to treatment. Deeper scars are often more difficult to reduce, but combining treatment methods can improve the appearance. In all cases, though, a dermatologist should administer a consultation and the treatment. Only a medical professional can suggest a product or remedy designed to address your scars’ depth and color, and more intensive procedures require a practiced hand. Over-the-counter options, like chemical peels and microneedling rollers, are generally insufficient for treating boxcar acne, and they can sometimes do more harm than good.
Boxcar Acne Scar Causes
Boxcar scars are caused by long-term, inflammatory acne, but their formation will depend on how skin heals during and after acne treatment. These scars form when the body does not produce enough collagen during the healing process, causing the inflamed lesion to sink deeper into the skin. The deeper an acne lesion reaches, the more likely it is for a scar to form as it heals. This makes the acne treatment timeline important; the faster acne heals, the closer to the surface the inflammation remains.
As with most lesions, picking and squeezing a pimple can damage the skin and lead to an increased chance of developing boxcar acne scars. These scars become more pronounced as skin loses elasticity with age, or if a person is a heavy smoker.
How do Boxcar Scars Go Away?
Boxcar acne treatment will depend on several factors, including the degree of redness, how deep the crater is, the location of the scarring, and an individual’s skin type. In most cases, combining treatments is the best plan for reducing the appearance of this atrophic scar. These treatments will typically address two problems: skin depression and discoloration.
In general, microdermabrasion and/or dermabrasion are the first steps for boxcar acne scar reduction, but any skin resurfacing procedure will help raise the depression. The procedures remove the top layers of skin using a motorized or manual handheld device. Chemical peels provide a similar treatment, using varied ingredients to destroy the top layers of skin. Deeper scars will need a more intensive treatment, like fillers, which are injected under the skin to raise the crater-like depression.
The second part of treatment is designed to address discoloration, and it often includes microneedling and/or laser therapy. These treatments are used to reduce hyperpigmentation that often appears when acne scars form. Less severe boxcar acne scars might not require a separate treatment for discoloration.
All options will require a dermatologist to administer boxcar acne treatment. These procedures, while outpatient and noninvasive, require an experienced hand and specialized tools. If you’re interested in exploring boxcar scar reduction, our Chesterfield office is a great place to start.
When to See a Doctor for Boxcar Acne Scars
Boxcar acne scars can fade with time, but reduced skin elasticity will make them more prominent. If you are an adult with boxcar acne scars, treatment can easily improve your skin’s appearance and bolster your confidence. Don’t let these common scars interfere with your ability to live your life. Getting a consultation at our Chesterfield office is the best way to determine a treatment plan that works for your scars, lifestyle, and skin type.
*Results may vary per patient.