Ice pick scars: Causes and treatment

Ice pick scars: Causes and treatment

Deep, narrow scars that may result from extreme acne outbreaks are ice pick scars. As over-the-counter and natural treatments are typically unsuccessful, people trying to minimize the appearance of these scars usually need to see a dermatologist.

Deep V-shaped scars that are usually less than 2 millimeters wide are ice pick scars. They sometimes appear as if a sharp object has punctured a hole in the skin, such as an ice pick. The presence of a very dilated pore is present in certain ice pick scars.

Medical insurance normally does not cover medication for ice pick scars in the United States, which may hinder the willingness of a person to treat them. Multiple sessions or a combination of treatments can also include treatment of ice pick scars.

We address some of the available treatment options for reducing the appearance of ice pick scars in this article. We also represent causes and tips for preventing ice pick scars.

Punch excision

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Punch excision is a procedure in which the top few layers of skin covering an ice pick scar are removed. This is done by dermatologists using a punch instrument which is similar in size to the scar. Usually, they also use a local anesthetic to numb the skin of the person.

The dermatologist will use stitches to close the resulting wound after removing the skin above the scar. A thin scar tends to be left behind by punch excision, although this is normally less visible than the initial ice pick scar.

Punch grafting

Punch grafting for deeper ice pick scars is usually advised by dermatologists. The procedure involves removing and replacing the skin with a skin graft from the scar.

This skin is taken by the dermatologist from another part of the body of the individual, such as from behind the ear.


TCA CROSS is a process that requires using trichloroacetic acid (TCA) for the chemical reconstruction of skin scars (CROSS) (CROSS).

A dermatologist stretches the infected skin throughout the operation, then adds a small amount of high-concentration TCA to the scar, which damages the epithelial skin layer.

New collagen fibers develop within the scar as the wound heals, helping to reduce its appearance.

A moderate, transient burning sensation can be caused by TCA CROSS, but anesthesia is typically not required.

A single session of TCA CROSS can boost the appearance of ice pick scars by about 25 percent, according to a 2015 study. People can also undergo two or three additional sessions at intervals of 2–4 weeks.

Radiofrequency therapy

Radiofrequency therapy is a comparatively recent technique for treating ice pick scars and is safe and effective for all skin types and colors.

The treatment involves tightening and smoothing the skin of a person by using high-frequency radio waves, which may help minimize the appearance of scars.


Microneedling is a technique that seeks to facilitate the development of collagen.

Microneedling is a practice that requires damaging the skin to facilitate the development of collagen, and is also called collagen-induction therapy.

A dermatologist gently applicates a needle-studded device over the acne scars during this procedure. The system generates tiny holes in the skin, which when they heal, develop new collagen fibers. This formation of collagen helps reduce the appearance of the scars of the ice pick.

After the procedure, several individuals experience some swelling or bruises and this can continue for many days.

Resurfacing therapies

A dermatologist can also prescribe resurfacing procedures after other therapies to further reduce the appearance of ice pick scars.

To stimulate the development of new, healthier skin cells, resurfacing therapies include removing the skin over and around the scars.

One of the most prevalent resurfacing methods that dermatologists use to treat ice pick scars is laser skin resurfacing. The treatment involves using monochromatic light, which promotes the production of collagen and elastin, to transmit thermal energy to the scar.


According to a 2015 review, scarring may occur in around 95 percent of people with acne. Although any type of acne may cause scarring, it is generally more likely to occur in people who develop severe acne.

Risk factors for acne scarring include:

  • having inflammatory acne lesions, such as cysts and nodules
  • delaying or not receiving treatment for inflammatory acne
  • picking, popping, or scratching acne pimples and lesions
  • having a close relative who has acne scars

The skin may be deeply penetrated by extreme or inflammatory acne, which can affect the skin and the underlying tissues. By producing collagen and elastin, the body heals this harm.

It can cause scarring if the body creates too much or too little collagen. Pitted scars, such as ice pick scars, may grow when not enough collagen is developed by the body. If there is too much collagen created by the body, raised scars may form.

Prevention tips

Acne scarring can not always be prevented. However, treating all acne outbreaks and taking measures to avoid potential outbreaks is the best way to reduce the risk of scarring.

Using over-the-counter products and drugs, a person may also treat mild acne. People with more serious acne should consult with a dermatologist about treatment options.

Measures that will help to stop potential acne outbreaks include:

  • avoiding picking, popping, scratching, or touching acne lesions
  • continuing treatment even after acne clears
  • cleaning the skin gently by avoiding vigorous scrubbing and harsh soaps or cleansers
  • Wash your hair regularly with shampoo, especially if the hair is oily.
  • using oil-free and noncomedogenic skin care products and cosmetics


Ice pick scars are small, deep scars that can grow following severe outbreaks of acne. Generally, over-the-counter products and natural remedies are not successful treatments.

A variety of specialist therapies, however, may help decrease the severity of ice pick scars.

Through promptly treating acne outbreaks and avoiding picking or popping acne lesions, the best way to reduce the likelihood of ice pick scars is. Good skin hygiene practice will help avoid potential acne outbreaks, and also decreases the risk of acne scarring.