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What You Need to Know About Dermal Filler For Acne Scars

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Dr. Hardik Soni

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Dermal filler treatments are known for their anti-aging and skin rejuvenating benefits to make the skin appear tighter and plumper without the need for plastic surgery. It’s a fast solution offered in a minimally invasive and painless manner. What most people aren’t aware of is that dermal fillers can also be used for acne treatment.

So is dermal filler effective for acne scars? In the same way, as dermal fillers are effective in adding volume to hollow and sagging areas, they can also be used to plump up depressed acne scars. Among the different dermal fillers available, Bellafill is the only FDA-approved dermal filler treatment for acne scarring.

Dermal Fillers For Acne Scars: Why You Need It

Acne scars cause the rough texture of the skin, leading to pitted and hollowed areas in the treatment site. With dermal fillers for acne scars, the skin’s natural collagen production will be stimulated, smoothening the scarred area and rejuvenating the skin. 

In fact, dermal filler treatments were reported in some studies to have improved facial scars by over 50%. The following are the types of acne scars that can be treated with dermal fillers:

  • Ice Pick Acne Scars. There are several types of acne, of which ice pick acne is one of the most common. An ice pick scar is characterized by thin, narrow depressions in the skin.
  • Rolling Acne Scars. Rolling scars have wide indentations and shallow depth. So a rolling scar usually resembles waves on the skin.
  • Boxcar Acne Scars. A boxcar scar resembles chicken pox scars because it produces small indentations in the skin with clearly defined edges. In most cases, boxcar scars occur on the cheeks or temples.
  • Hypertonic Acne Scars. A hypertonic scar appears as a raised area, or bump, on the skin, usually located within the area where the wound originally occurred. Over time, hypertonic acne scars may lessen in appearance.
  • Keloid Acne Scars. The high spots on the skin caused by keloid scars (i.e, hypertrophic scars) are not contained within the original wound area. In addition to appearing larger than the blemish that caused it, keloid scars are often hard and rubbery.

Treatment Procedure Of Dermal Fillers For Acne Scars

The severity of the acne scars is what will determine the best treatment plan for a patient which includes the number of maintenance treatments. It’s also important to thoroughly discuss your medical and allergy history in extensive detail to ensure safety from detrimental allergic reactions.

The contents of the filler injection must also be discussed by your aesthetic provider. If you’re vegan, you may not be comfortable using Bellafill dermal fillers as it contains collagen sourced from cows.

During the treatment session, the fillers that may be injected most likely contain lidocaine which can reduce any pain or mild discomfort experienced during the session. However, a topical numbing cream may be available upon the discretion of the patient undergoing dermal filler treatment. The cosmetic procedure can take approximately 15 minutes to an hour. This depends on the severity, depth, and size of the scarring in the treatment area.

Who Can Have Dermal Fillers For Acne Scars

Acne scar dermal filler treatments can be helpful for people who have been conscious about the appearance of their acne scarring. However, there are certain limits to who can have dermal filler acne scar treatments.

Patients aged 21 and above can have dermal facial fillers for acne scars, particularly individuals who will pass the 3 S’s test:

  • Scars will be smooth when stretched
  • Soft shoulders are present in the scar area
  • Soft shoulders will be saucer-like

Individuals who are allergic to bovine collagen may want to consider alternative acne scar treatment options. Furthermore, it’s essential to consult with your aesthetic provider. In cases where the scarring is too severe, other alternative procedures such as cosmetic surgery may be a more recommended solution.

Target Areas: Where Are Dermal Fillers Applicable For Acne Scars?

This dermal filler is usually used to correct atrophic acne scars on the neck and cheeks ranging from moderate to severe. However, this may also be applicable in the acne scar tissue in the forehead, chin, cheeks, around the mouth, and wherever scarring is possibly noticeable.

If necessary, you may need multiple injections and treatment sessions to experience effective results from your dermal filler treatment.

Best Dermal Fillers For Acne Scars

There are many kinds of dermal facial fillers that can be used for acne scarring. They differ in longevity, effectiveness, and approved usage. These dermal fillers for acne scar treatment are the following:

Bellafill Dermal Fillers For Acne Scars

Bellafill is a polymethyl methacrylate microspheres with collagen filler, which lasts longer than other dermal fillers such as hyaluronic acid, poly-L-lactic acid, and autologous fat transfer. Bellafill is the only FDA-approved dermal filler for acne scar treatment that works by using collagen to provide immediate volume below the atrophic scar. 

This may be effective for the acne scar treatment of both men and women of different skin types and skin tones. In this treatment option, the scarring is lifted into the same level of the surrounding skin. 

This dermal filler for acne treatment is made up of collagen from cows. However, it doesn’t simply provide collagen, it establishes a PMMA microsphere matrix to support the stimulation of new collagen production. 

The collagen may eventually be metabolized by the body, but the PMMA structure remains to support the development of more collagen underneath the skin. This is why Bellafill lasts longer than other dermal facial fillers.

The effects of Bellafill injection are permanent. Although Bellafill is effective and long-lasting, some doctors recommend against it due to the fact that its permanent effects entail that any adverse effect may also be irreversible. If you prefer permanent results, then choosing a qualified and experienced aesthetic provider is essential to ensure the safety of the injectable treatment procedure.

Other Dermal Fillers For Acne Scars

If you’re looking for an option that guarantees more safety, other dermal fillers may be used for off-label use. This means that they are FDA-approved, just not for use in that specific target area. The dermal fillers under this section are usually used as facial fillers for the nasolabial fold.

Although the results of other dermal filler injections are temporary, they are safer for acne scar treatment. Some of the dermal fillers for acne scarring treatment are:

  • Hyaluronic Acid Fillers. The most natural and safest dermal fillers are hyaluronic acid fillers (HA fillers) which are Restylane and Juvederm. Because the results are temporary, regular maintenance treatments and touch-ups are required to sustain its effects.
  • Poly-L-Lactic Acid Fillers. This component is present in Sculptra fillers. Unlike other injectable fillers, results gradually develop with Sculptra so no effect is visible after the treatment session. It involves the stimulation of collagen production to improve acne scar appearance over time.
  • Autologous Fat Transfer. Instead of collagen and collagen-stimulating ingredients, this filler injection involves fat harvested from an individual’s own body into the acne scars. This fat replaces other dermal filler ingredients as the component that makes the skin appear plumper. However, this treatment requires multiple sessions and its effectiveness is less guaranteed compared to other dermal filler treatments.

How Long Do Dermal Fillers Last For Acne Scars

Results are usually visible within a few days of the first treatment. The results usually depend on the expertise of the aesthetic provider. The way the filler is placed in the injection site matters. Additionally, the kind of dermal filler used for the acne scar treatment can also have an effect.

  • Bellafill Dermal Fillers. Compared to other dermal fillers which usually last for up to 2 years, the results expected of Bellafill injection treatments are permanent. Most patients report satisfaction with the results of their Bellafill dermal filler treatment for acne scarring even after 5 years after their last treatment session.
  • Hyaluronic Acid. Results for this dermal filler injection may not last as long as Bellafill. These dermal fillers are expected to last for up to 2 years.
  • Poly-L Lactic Acid. Like Bellafill, results from Sculptra filler treatments are also semi-permanent, although there’s still a likelihood that touch-ups may be required to maintain its effectiveness.
  • Autologous Fat Transfer. This dermal filler injection treatment requires multiple procedures to achieve the desired look and there is no guarantee when it will be achieved.

Risks And Side Effects Of Dermal Fillers For Acne Scars

Dermal filler treatments are usually safe, however, if you have allergies then you may want to have a skin test first before proceeding with the treatment. Moreover, allergic reactions to dermal fillers are rare as it’s mostly made up of components that naturally occur in the body.

Additionally, the expected side effects of the treatment include:

  • Swelling and bruising
  • Itching and redness
  • Discoloration of the treatment site
  • Lumping at the treatment site
  • Allergic reaction to injectable filler components (e.g, bovine collagen, lidocaine, and other numbing agent)

The side effects mentioned are expected to last for up to 2 weeks following your treatment session. If adverse effects persist or worsen, it may be best to consult with your aesthetic provider.

In addition, a rare risk of having dermal filler treatment is blood vessel occlusion which occurs when the blood vessel is blocked, which causes the skin to break down. But since dermal fillers are usually placed in the superficial layers of the skin, it’s unlikely to result in this rare side effect.

Care Instructions To Minimize Adverse Effects Of Dermal Fillers For Acne Scars

The aftercare instructions for post-treatment dermal fillers for acne scars are similar to any other dermal filler treatments. Make sure to keep in mind the following if you want to speed up your recovery from dermal filler treatments:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Diligently apply skin care products recommended by your aesthetic provider
  • Treat signs of bruising with a cold compress and then a hot compress as directed by your provider
  • Take arnica supplements to reduce bruising
  • Don’t take alcohol and blood thinners to reduce the likelihood of adverse effects
  • Don’t apply makeup for the first 24 hours after your dermal filler treatment for acne scars
  • Don’t expose yourself to extreme temperatures
  • Don’t exert too much effort on strenuous exercises

Eliminate Acne Scars With Dermal Fillers At Ethos Spa

Acne scarring may negatively affect an individual’s self-confidence, so it’s essential to have them treated. Cosmetic surgery methods aren’t the only solution to scarring issues in the face. Over time, dermal filler treatments have proven themselves to be a safer and more effective minimally invasive counterpart of cosmetic surgery in acne scar treatment.

When it comes to effective cosmetic treatments, premium facial fillers, and safe skin care in New Jersey and New York, Ethos Spa is your trusted partner. We also offer acne treatment solutions, laser treatment (e.g, laser hair removal), breast augmentation, lip filler, lip injections, and chemical peel. As always, we strive to provide you with a dermal filler experience that is tailored to meet your cosmetic goals.

Get the results you’ve always wanted with dermal fillers for acne scars today by booking your first appointment

Dr. Hardik Soni

MD, Founder/Lead Physician

About Dr. Hardik Soni

Dr. Hardik Soni is the founder and Medical Director of Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness. His primary focus is on minimally invasive and non-invasive cosmetic procedures including botulinum injection (Botox and Dysport), dermal fillers (Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse), laser hair removal, chemical peels, and laser skin rejuvenation. Dr. Soni believes in a more conservative approach and his first goal is education. Clients are able to determine the ideal treatments after discussion with Dr. Soni regarding the expected outcomes, cost, as well as risks.

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