Causes and Best Treatments for Skin Indentations

Indented skin or pockmarks

Table Of Contents

It is possible to wake up with sudden skin indentations on face, chest, back or anywhere. Some of them especially those on the face may be temporary while others may be permanent. Long lasting indentations can, at times, be very stressful. What causes them and what can be done about them?


When your skin is indented, some areas appear to be swollen or normal while others appear to be sunken. The dents can appear on both men and women, but more profound in women. Some skin conditions, such as acne, can leave some depressed marks on your face, back or other body parts.

Indented skin or pockmarks


On the appearance, they may be having even shape, such circular indentation or have an uneven shape. All this depends on what caused them.

In extreme cases, the indent may look like deep pits on the skin. Everyone, including you, wants to have a smooth skin whereas these pits or indentation makes your skin feel bumpy. Apart from causing you emotional stress, they affect your overall self-esteem.

Why is my skin indented?

Indentation in legs, face, arms, back and thighs signify many things. It may be due to indented scars, commonly known as icepick and pockmarks. Indentation indicates that the skin’s underlying structures have been damaged. These support structures are the ones that keep the skin elastic.

Due to infections, such as acne and smallpox, the formation of skin tissues is significantly altered. The affected area, therefore, cannot be restored and look normal due. This explains why indented scars are usually more conspicuous than other scars on the body.

What causes them?

These indentations can occur without even a scar. However, it can also take the form of an indented skin scar. notes that indentations are usually attributed to the following three factors:

Healed acne

If you spent years battling with cystic acne, when it finally heals, it may leave behind a scar. Those who still have acne will also see these scars.

In most cases, these scars are never flat. Some may appear raised while others will appear depressed. They sink leaving some holes on your skin. However, these dents are usually small.


Chickenpox is common not only among children but can also affect adult who has never had it before. The disease results in a severe skin rash characterized with itchy blisters all over the body.

When smallpox heals, the blisters dry and fall off. A scar is left behind that may be indented, flat or raised. If the resultant scars appear depressed or sunken. One may take a long time to achieve a flat skin surface again.


This is the temporary cause of indentation from pressure. The dents may appear all over the body, including the face, back, thighs, legs, and abdomen.

Edema makes the skin appear swollen due to the accumulation of fluids. When the swollen area is pressed, it forms dents. These dents, however, last for a short time.

Sudden weight loss

Weight loss resulting from an illness manifests in the form of decreased fat, body fluid, and muscle mass. If one used to be obese, mass weight loss results in these indentations.

There are other temporary causes such as sleeping on an object as well as that caused by wrinkles, some diseases, and conditions among other causes. 

5 Effective ways of managing skin indentation

Are dents on your skin giving you a hectic life? You don’t have to worry anymore. As highlights, these indentations area a manageable condition.

Below are procedures that can be used to rectify any indentations:

Laser resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is the most effective method of getting rid of an indented skin. With this procedure, you not only lose the dents but also acquire a younger and healthier skin. It involves removal of affected layers so as new one grow. The new skin cells that grow are always tighter and younger.

This procedure is usually done by a plastic surgeon or a reputable dermatologist. It’s a simple procedure. Thus, no need to be admitted. The doctor may use a local anesthetic or even sedate you.

Some of the adverse effects of laser resurfacing include:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Stinging
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Scarring
  • Bacterial infections

However, these side effects last for a few days. After 10 days, your skin may be partially or fully healed. One is advised to wear sunscreen to protect the treated regions from sunburns.


Is your skin bumpy because of dents? You can try dermabrasion. This is an exfoliation technique that helps in fixing dents. It removes the outer layer of the skin, thus making the remaining smooth.

Apart from depressions, this procedure can also treat fine lines, acne scars and even sun damage. It is a simple procedure that requires a dermatologist.

When the outer layer is removed, a new one grows, making it even. You can trust dermabrasion in treating various conditions such as:

  • Tattoos
  • Age spots
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Scars from surgery
  • Scars from injury
  • Acne scars
  • Skin patches

After the procedure, the affected area may take a few weeks to months to heal. Just like other procedures, Dermabrasion comes along with a few risks.

These include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Rash
  • Changes in skin tone
  • Loss of freckles
  • Acne breakouts

The dermatologist should advise you on proper home care instructions on how you can be taking care of your skin at home following the procedure.

Use chemical peel treatment

Minor dents on your legs, face, back or anywhere including indented acne scars on your face and forehead skin can be treated through chemical peel treatment. A chemical peel is a common form of resurfacing, especially when one has an indentation.

Chemical peeling removes the top layer. After the procedure, one grows a new skin, that will be smooth and younger thus closing the dents. If your skin looks bumpy, or if you are having wrinkles or scars, just try chemical peels.

Depending on the severity of the dents, as well as where they are located, your dermatologist will recommend one of the following chemical peels:

  • Deep chemical peel – It focuses on damaged skin cells in the dermis.
  • Medium chemical peel – It focuses on damaged cells the upper layer or epidermis.
  • Light chemical peel – Focuses only on the upper layer.

After the procedure, normal skin tone is restored. Indentation disappears, and the skin looks smooth. However, you should expect some of the following side effects following the procedure:

  • It may become scaly
  • You may develop a mild infection
  • It becomes red
  • The treated part may become darker than the rest of the body
  • The carbolic acid produced during deep chemical peels may cause liver, heart or even kidney complications. However, this has not been proven scientifically.

However, you can trust the procedure in restoring your once smooth skin. The cost of the procedure is quite pocket-friendly.

Collagen injections

If these indentations are minor skin deformities. Then, you can opt for collagen injections to correct these deformities. Dents on face, chest, back, thighs, and neck can be rectified using these injections.

Collagens come in the form of creams and proteins. They are injected to help the skin regain lost material, thus fill the dents. People suffering from indentations, scars, wrinkles, and acne can always go for these injections.

In case you are opting for collagen injections, you should be aware of the following side effects:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Allergic reactions – They manifest itself in the form of swelling, redness, itching and even bruising.
  • The skin may become bumpy – Instead of becoming even, one may get irregular bums.

In this case, collagen injections should only be done by qualified and reputable dermatologists. Proper aftercare is essential in preventing allergic and bacterial infections.

Surgical procedures

When all the above procedures don’t work, you can always go for a surgical procedure. However, this method only applies to huge dents. Shallow dents may not be rectified through surgical means. Surgical procedures, nevertheless, will always leave scars behind. Therefore, this should be your last option.


  1. How to Remove an Indented Scar
  2. How to Smooth Out Indented Acne Scars
  3. Enhance Your Appearance with Treatment for Indented Scars
  4. Cystic Acne: What Is It and How Do You Treat It?
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