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Medically Reviewed by Dr. Eva Simmons-O’Brien

Dr. Eva Simmons O’Brien received her MD from Yale University and is a board-certified dermatologist. With over 30 years of experience, she has worked for hospitals, established her own private practice, and consulted for organizations such as the FDA. Today, Dr. Eva runs her own practice in addition to serving as our Chief Science Officer.

Acne Marks vs Acne Scars: What To Do for Each

Acne Marks vs Acne Scars: What To Do for Each

Acne Marks vs Acne Scars: What To Do for Each



As if having acne wasn’t bad enough, once your bumps heal, you’re usually left with a nice little tattoo to remember them by. Whether you have a mark or a scar, the visual reminder is unwanted and can almost be as bad as having the bump itself. 

There’s a big difference between acne marks and acne scars. You may have one or both. Either way, you just want them gone. We’ll talk about what causes acne to happen, why they leave marks and scars, and how you can get rid of them fast. 

Why Acne, Why Me?

Unless you’re about 12, you probably wonder why you’re still getting pimples. Acne can happen at any age and stage in life, although we generally associate it with hormonal teenage years. 

Especially as an adult, acne can be frustrating. At the age of 40, you’d rather be focusing on eye cream instead of figuring out why your skin breaks out every couple of weeks. 

Acne has numerous causes, and literal volumes have been written about what causes it and what to do about it. Here are some of the most prevalent causes of acne.


Much of how our skin works is dependent on our DNA. If one or both of your parents had acne, you’ll be that much more likely to develop it yourself. You can even inherit your pimply skin from your grandparents (along with their collection of state quarters). 

If your acne is genetic, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to get clear skin, it just means you’re predisposed to dealing with excess oil production and clogged pores. There are plenty (and we mean plenty) of products available to help you overcome pimples. 


Your hormones don’t just stop working when you reach adulthood. They’re still firing on all cylinders and causing your skin to break out even in your fifties and sixties. Androgens, like testosterone, make your skin’s natural oil (sebum) thicker and stickier. 

That thicker, stickier oil is more likely to bond with dead skin cells and dirt and clog your pores to form bumps. 

Bad Skin Care

You might have great skin...if you’d wash it once in a while. Seriously if you aren’t taking care of your skin, that’s a huge red flag. Acne breakouts can be caused by poor hygiene and just lack of skin care. 

A basic skin care routine is easy to set up, takes maybe five minutes of your day, and can help you prevent breakouts of whiteheads and blackheads. We’ll even give you pointers on how to get started if you’re completely lost. 

What’s the Difference Between Acne Marks and Acne Scars?

Once the pimple is gone, there’s usually a mark to remind you of your short-lived relationship. It’s like a bad hangover, only completely undeserved. 

There are two different types of skin issues that can form after a pimple; an acne mark or an acne scar. 

Acne Marks

Acne marks are areas of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that are left behind once your bump is gone. They’re usually flat but at least several shades darker than your normal skin pigment. They may be misshapen, brown, or red. Some even look like birthmarks. 

Acne marks usually happen because you either pick or poke your pimples or because the abscess itself healed in a way that left dark spots. Acne marks usually go away on their own, but it can take months for that to happen. Some marks will be visible for years. 

Acne Scars

Acne scars are more severe than acne marks. Scars happen a lot with cystic blemishes and can happen without you poking, picking, or popping. Scar tissue can be raised or flat, can be hyperpigmented or flesh-colored and may be more visible on darker skin tones. 

There are different types of acne scars, such as ice-pick scars, boxcar scars, and hypertrophic scars. Some are concave and form crater-like areas of skin damage where the cyst used to live. Acne scars change your skin’s texture from smooth to rough, or pocked. 

It’s possible to get rid of acne scars, but the treatment is much more invasive than getting rid of marks. While most acne scars happen naturally, you can make them worse by picking and causing more irritation on your skin. So pro tip: don’t do it. 

How To Deal With Acne Marks and Scars

Treatment options are available for both acne marks and scars. It will be easier for you to get rid of acne marks than it will be to get rid of acne scars. 

Acne Marks

While acne marks will eventually fade on their own, it probably won’t happen on your preferred timeline. Thankfully, you can speed up the process with a few key skincare ingredients and processes. 

First and foremost, if you aren’t using a daily skin care regimen, start now. Skin care ingredients work when they are used consistently. Effects are cumulative. 

Disco makes skin care easy by giving you products that are formulated to work perfectly with the pH balance of a man’s skin. 

Acne marks affect the top layers of your skin, so the best way to get rid of them is to encourage your skin to make new skin faster. You can do this by using an exfoliating product, like Disco’s Exfoliating Face Scrub.

Designed to be used a couple of times a week, or face scrub exfoliates two ways:

  • Physically. Our scrub contains apricot seed powder, a fine, sand-like ingredient that gently removes dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. 
  • Chemical. We use papain, an enzyme extracted from papaya, to gently break the bond between dead skin cells and living skin so that the dead skin naturally sloughs away. 

Exfoliating with our scrub encourages skin cell rejuvenation, which can help fade acne marks more quickly. Our scrub also contains apricot oil and aloe to hydrate skin and soothe areas of irritation. 

It’s also a smart idea to use products that include anti-aging ingredients. Anti-aging ingredients work by helping your skin build more collagen, which is the foundational protein needed to make new skin. 

Disco’s Hydrating Moisturizer contains vitamin C, a natural skin brightener and booster of collagen production that even works to reduce the appearance of dark areas on your skin.  

Acne Scars

Acne scars are more serious, and the best remedy is probably to see your dermatologist. If you’ve got cystic acne-deep, inflamed, red acne bumps that leave significant scars on your face, treatment options are available that can help heal your skin and get you back in the game. 

Chemical peels using glycolic acid, laser resurfacing, dermal fillers, and microneedling are just a few of the options that can reduce scars left by acne lesions.

Let’s Disco

Whether you’re getting acne scars or acne marks, there are solutions to get rid of them. The first step is always taking good care of your skin. If you aren’t, you can start now. 

Disco’s line of skin care makes it easy for guys to get the right products that work for their skin. Our products were designed by a dude for dudes.

Don’t let scars or marks live rent-free on your face. Get the products to get your skin in shape and start making your way to more clarified skin and an even skin tone. 



Acne clinical guideline|American Academy of Dermatology 

Acne Scars: Pathogenesis, Classification, and Treatment|NCBI

Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation|NCBI  


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