Acne Scars

I'm in my mid-20s, I've worked in finance and now working in tech.  I used to have clear skin but had severe acne the past few years.  I've cleared it but I'm now left with deep boxscar and icepick scars.

It's now settling in that the trajectory of my life has been severely damaged because of these scars.  I can get treatment but improvement will be marginal and they will never go away.  They're going to affect my career (interviews, job opportunities, competing with others at work), social circles, dating life, etc. as compared to when my skin was clear.

I have to look at my scars everyday when I do my skincare routine so I'm always reminded, and the pain and realization is crippling / paralyzing me.

For those with acne scars, how do you deal with the emotional fallout, and not let it affect your career especially as you progress to more senior and competitive roles?  

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Comments (23)

Jul 12, 2021 - 1:17am

Personal (maybe unpopular) opinion that slightly touching up your face should be normalized for guys. Maybe you could look into it and learn how to add just a little to cover up blemishes and scars but not enough to look obvious that you put makeup on.

Most Helpful
Jul 12, 2021 - 9:50am

Just remember that it's gonna look worse to you than it does to other people.

  • 10
Jul 12, 2021 - 10:22am


Just remember that it's gonna look worse to you than it does to other people.

Yeeees. This is so right. 


  • 1
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  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 12, 2021 - 11:09am

Good call but for scar treatment I think laser might be the most effective. You can't laser while using retin A so maybe do a series of laser treatments first, then start retin A for maintenance. Don't forget sun protection as well to protect against further discoloration

Jul 13, 2021 - 9:10am

so I had bad acne around the time I was 13 or 14 or so. like commercial tier bad. and I picked at it all the time. so yeah now I have scars all over my chest and my face that will never go away pretty much but tbh I don't find it to be that big of a deal. I just think back on how bad I looked and how shitty it was when I had the terrible acne and it doesn't really bother me that I have some scars now. not that big of a deal bro. it's not going to crush you in job interviews or in dating to have some acne scars. I think that something like this is only a big deal because you are choosing to make it a big deal. it's not a big deal bro, stop worrying about it.

Jul 13, 2021 - 9:32am

You're caring way too much about this. I've had horrible acne scars on both my temples since my early teens and it's caused me 0 issues professionally or personally. It has quite literally never been brought up unless I'm the one who initiated the topic. Almost no one cares about this type of stuff and most will not notice unless you're actively being self-conscious or apologizing for it. So don't.  


  • 1
Nov 18, 2021 - 8:11am

I understand you in this respect. I've been bullied since I was a kid because I had acne on my face. I didn't realize at the time that touching my face with my hands would only make my skin worse. But I don't understand to this day why my parents didn't send me to for skin treatment sooner. I don't deny that maybe they didn't have the money at the time to pay for these services. But I think if I were them, I'd have done everything I could to keep my child from getting hurt at school. Because I'm sure, I told them that many times, but they didn't take any action.

  • VP in PE - Other
Nov 18, 2021 - 10:17am

Sorry to hear about your experience. I also recently dealt with acne/ residual scars (got acne during pandemic from masking) so completely understand that it can cause psychological harm and alter the way you live your life socially.

As someone said, you will be your harshest critic and see them a lot easier than others. That being said, if you're still struggling with them - have you visited a dermatologist to explore routes you can take to reduce the appearance of the scars? There are a lot of different things available that could be an option for you (microneedling, Fraxel, CO2, subcision, etc.). A legit dermatology clinic (not a medical spa) should have different modalities to treat and reduce the appearance of scars.

Nov 18, 2021 - 10:46am

The comments saying, "it looks worse to you" or "you're caring too much" are overly dismissive imo. If it bothers you (which seems to be the case as you described it as "crippling"), then it doesn't matter if it is or isn't brought up by peers.

I similarly had deep acne scarring and can say that subcision and fraxl laser treatments made a substantial difference. I highly recommend seeing a dermatologist to understand the best course for you, but these treatments can make a material improvement to your scarring.

Nov 18, 2021 - 4:47pm

I had 1 treatment of subcision and 3 treatments with the fraxl.

I started to notice a difference after 1 subcision and 1 fraxl. That said, scarring was still somewhat noticeable, but after 3 total fraxl treatments the amount of scarring is almost night and day when looking at old photos. 

  • Associate 1 in ER
Nov 18, 2021 - 3:51pm

I've had one interviewer subtly mention it, but he was a fucking weirdo anyway so FUCK HIM. Anyways, I've had success with women and have decent N count, and in LTR now which helps me give less fucks, also a bit older now as well. 

It is what it is.. i think people are more.. non judgey about it these days, especially since wearing these stupid fucking masks is like an instant break out 

a couple product recs that I've used recently -

azelaic acid - anti inflammatory topical, helps post-acne redness fade quicker

adapalene - retinoid topical, helps skin cell turnover be quicker 

sunscreen - makes marks not get darker. Liking eltaMD uv clear so far 

Physical exfoliant - use 2-3x a week, but don't scrub hard. Just enough to get the flakes off . I use a salylicic acid scrub 

try to avoid shiny moisturizers.. I stopped daily moisturizing during the day,  now only as needed (and at night ofc)

I definitely need some type of laser resurfacing or whatever but have to focus on clearing up skin first. It comes and goes. I'll be pimple free for a couple weeks, then have to wear a mask at the airport, then cycle just repeats over and over 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Nov 18, 2021 - 5:28pm

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Nov 18, 2021 - 6:03pm

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