Getting rid of acne is complex, but when you are finally free from the inflammations, another undesired problem appears as post-acne scars. Acne is a common skin inflammatory disorder affecting nearly 650 million of the world’s population, and 95% of the people with acne suffer certain degrees of residual scarring [1, 2].
It’s necessary to treat acne scars as society negatively perceives people with spots on the face, resulting in severe psychological disturbance . Back in the seventies, treatment of acne scars was challenging. All thanks to dermal fillers that now the specialist can effectively treat acne scars . In this post, I will describe to you how to use dermal filler to remove acne scar.
What Are Acne Scars?
Acne scarring is a result of the healing process of skin inflammation (acne). When your skin undergoes acne penetration, the pores swell, which prompts the break of follicle walls. If the crack is deep, it affects the dermal layer of the skin. The sensors on the skin detect all the activities and stimulate new Collagen fibers production to fix the inflammation. Unfortunately, the skin produces a disproportionate amount of Collagen, resulting in scars’ appearance .
What Are Dermal Fillers?
Dermal fillers are gel similar substances injected inside the skin tissues to fill the depressions and restore the lost volume. In case you want to attain an effective result that involves minimum risk and pain in a short period, fillers are by far the most effective process. Since it’s a superlative process, more than 1 million people undergo filler treatment annually .
Types of Dermal Fillers for the Treatment of Acne
Fillers are classified into three main classes based on their efficacy:
- Temporary fillers
- Semi-permanent filler
- Permanent filler
Though temporary and semi-permanent fillers are biodegradable, permanent fillers are non-biodegradable in nature. Have a look over the below table:
|Filler class||Approx Clinical Efficacy||Filler names|
|Temporary||3-18 months||Hyaluronic Acid (HA) and Collagen|
|Semi-permanent||Nearly 2 years||Poly-L-lactic (PPL) acid and Calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA)|
|Permanent||Long-lasting||Silicon, and Polymethacrylate (PMMA)|
Dermal fillers are used to augment soft tissues under the skin that make acne scars less noticeable. However, strong augmentation effects are visible using semi-permanent fillers such as Poly-L-lactic (PPL) acid, but these fillers require repeating therapy after a few intervals .
How Dermal Fillers Treat Acne Scars
According to 2018 recent published stats, a 2% increase in dermal fillers’ use is observed in one year, resulting in the spread of fillers market size . However, several types of fillers have variant features that are effective in the treatment of acne scars. Since each filler has a set of compositions, it reacts differently to the wounds.
Hyaluronic Acid (HA) befalls naturally in the skin cells, responsible for keeping the tissues hydrated and plump. Injecting HA fillers in the skin immediately plumps the skin to decrease the pit caused by acne. However, short-term results last for 6 to 12 months until the skin completely absorbs the HA particles [9, 10].
Bellafill is an FDA-approved dermal filler for the treatment of acne scars with long-lasting effects. Unlike HA, Bellafill adds volume to the scar area that lasts longer and sets you free from frequent follow-ups.
Bellafill contains Collagen and beads of Polymethacrylate (PMMA). Collagen is the primary structural component of skin that exists naturally. After injecting Bellafill underneath the skin, your tissues absorb the Collagen, resulting in scars lifting to the skin surface level. On the other side, the remains of microspheres stimulate the production of new Collagen that sustains the look.
Poly-L-Lactic Acid is a semi-permanent filler that is compatible with skin tissues. Being semi-permanent, it requires touch-ups every month for the first three months of treatments. Afterward, you will get fixed appointment dates for the re-injecting process. Unlike Bellafill and Hyaluronic acid, it doesn’t show immediate results. Instead, it acts slowly by stimulating Collagen fibers’ production under skin tissues, which gradually fills the depressions.
Calcium Hydroxylapatite (CaHA)
Calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA) is a carrier-based gel injecting substance occurring naturally in human bones. It belongs to the class of semi-permanent and sustains effects till 12 months. CaHA promotes collagen production, skin plums-ups, and radiates, enhancing texture.
Autologous Fat Fillers
Autologous fat filler treatment is also known as facial fat grafting. It is different from other fillers as it involves the surgery process. The term “Autologous” stands for “from the same person.” A surgeon collects the injectable fat from your body through the process of liposuction. After the purification of fat, the surgeon will inject it into your affected areas. Since fat adds volume to the area, it plumps the scars that make it less visible. Performing a fat grafting surgery is a complex treatment that involves certain risks. Hence, I recommend you opt for a board-certified, experienced surgeon to avoid permanent damage [10, 11].
Dermal Fillers Side Effects for Acne Scars
After fuller treatment, minor side effects occur temporarily that last up to 7 to 14 days. These side effects are common in most cases :
- Mild pain
- Temperate swelling
- Occasional bruising
Treatment under the prevalence of a person with inadequate information and experience can cause severe permanent side effects on your body. These side effects include;
- Severe infection
- Change of skin color
- Overfilled acne scars
- The appearance of lumps and ridges
- Formation of nodules around the injected area
- Blockage of blood flow that may relate to the death of tissues, and blindness
Who Are the Suitable Candidates for Dermal Filler Treatment?
Dermal filler is suitable for any individual whose age is 21 or above. However, if you are going through the phases of pregnancy or breastfeeding, you are prohibited from taking the treatment. Dermatologists recommend prohibiting filler treatment as, during pregnancy, the body undergoes severe hormonal disbalance that ultimately results in tons of skin issues, but none of the scientific proof is available to date. Also, one should avoid fillers in case of the following:
- Suffering from inflammation
- Patient of heart or bleeding disorder
- Allergic to ingredients of fillers (present on the label)
Cost of Dermal Filler Treatment for Acne Scars
The cost for filler treatment varies based on the type of filler, amount of filler, and aesthetician’s treatment fees. Statistics of the year 2019 by the American Society of Plastics Surgeons have shown the following average cost for dermal fillers: 
|Filler||Popular FDA approved brand||Average Cost per syringe|
|Hyaluronic acid (HA)||Juvederm and Restylane||$652|
|Calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA)||Radiesse||$690|
|Autologous fat fillers||/||$2163|
Ensure your dermatologist or a licensed aesthetician about all the precautions before you set yourself for the treatment. Here are a few instructions that you should follow prior to the treatment:
- Keep your medical history and list of undergoing medication documents.
- Avoid any parlor service or skin treatment for at least two weeks prior to the session.
- Abstain applying home remedies to your face earlier to the treatment.
By the time of booking, aestheticians will evaluate your targeted area for any pre-existing skin condition such as active acne or inflammation. Depending upon the conditions, the dermatologist may prescribe a test and medication.
What’s the Process for Dermal Filler Treatment?
Dermal filler treatment involves multiple steps that result in the plumping of acne scars. The most advanced way to perform the procedure is in five stages:
- Medical History
- Skin examination
- Allergic Test
- Anesthesia & Injection
The process begins with a detailed interview session where your specialist tries to understand the reason behind your problem. Also, the specialist describes the overall mechanism in simple language to get enough knowledge to make your final decision regarding the treatment .
Your specialist will ask to provide a detailed medication history, including allergies, disease, undergoing drugs, and past aesthetic treatments. It is critical to provide your proper medical history as certain drugs may react to the fillers resulting in severe disorders. Apart from this, bruising risk increases in case of bleeding disorders. Specially mention if you are under doses of Aspirin, Warfarin, tablet of vitamin E, Ibuprofen, ginger, or garlic supplement .
If you came out to be a suitable candidate after studying your medication history, your skin examination procedure begins. During this process, the specialist performs a proper diagnosis of your skin to evaluate your tissues’ condition and predict any future complications due to the treatment. Further, this step is essential to finalize the type of filler and dosages for your skin.
After finalizing the filler type, the aesthetician will test your skin by injecting a small amount of filler. If the filler turns out to be suitable for your skin, it won’t show any allergic symptoms within 10-15 minutes of getting the injection.
Anesthesia & Injection
Once the above steps are clear, your specialist will provide adequate anesthesia to refrain from any pain or discomfort associated with injections. Afterward, the dermatologist will start injecting to the target areas.
After the filler sensation, your skin may become sensitive. The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) advises following specific instructions after the filler treatment on your acne, such as:
- Restrict yourself from sun exposure.
- Avoid any exercise or major physical work for a day.
- Deny any other aesthetic or parlor treatment until a dermatologist suggests.
- Keep off your hand from the treated area until the aesthetician advises you to massage it.
Dermal filler is an effective treatment if you desire to treat your acne scar and achieve your glowing skin. With fillers, you obtain volume skin with lesser scars without any pain and negligible chances of side effects . You will gradually see the benefits and differences in your skin texture, scars, and wrinkles due to stimulation in Collagen production.