People tend to think of acne as something only teenagers struggle with. They assume that once you reach adulthood, blemishes and acne scar correction just (magically) happens, leaving you with better, flawless skin. Anyone in the skincare industry knows just how false this can be!
The truth about acne is that it can happen at any age. And while some people do see improvement as they age, many are left with permanent scars that constantly remind them of their struggles. If that’s the case for you, know that you aren’t alone – and there’s no reason to be ashamed. Your experience is incredibly common.
But that doesn’t mean you need to just accept it, either. New advancements in filler technologies can help with long-term acne scar correction. In some cases, may even erase acne scars entirely! Here’s what you need to know about the use of dermal fillers for long-term acne scar correction.
WHAT ARE DERMAL FILLERS?
Dermal fillers are injectable solutions that add volume to tissue just under the first few layers of skin. They are most often formulated as a gel with a variety of ingredients known to be safe for the human body, such as:
Exactly which formula or product your provider suggests depends on what you’re trying to achieve. For example, hyaluronic acid is often better for achieving subtle results (such as acne scar correction) than, say, PMMA. On the other hand, PMMA tends to produce stronger, longer-lasting results.
HOW DO THEY HELP WITH ACNE SCARS?
The exact mechanism behind this magic depends on the product used. But in most cases, the effect is functional. Fillers add volume from underneath pitting or scarring, which flattens it out and makes it line up with healthy surrounding skin.
Formulas that contain certain ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid or PMMA, may also boost your body’s own natural collagen production. This helps skin heal and turn over new cells faster. But not every person who has fillers will see this effect, so it’s usually considered an added bonus of sorts rather than a sure thing.
There is evidence to show that early treatment with fillers may be more effective where acne scars are concerned. This is probably a result of the fact that skin “heals” the most in the first six to 12 months after experiencing some kind of damage (in this case, acne breakouts). But fillers can still help even if you’re years away from your last breakout, so all is not lost if you don’t get in right away.
CAN FILLERS REALLY PRODUCE LONG-TERM RESULTS?
The answer to this question depends on your natural body chemistry, the level of scarring being treated, and even which product is used to treat your scars. Every patient will be different. Still, there is proof that regular use of certain fillers can help to boost collagen production and even break up scar tissue. That’s good news for people who struggle with acne scarring who want long-term results.
In the next few sections, we’ll tell you about a few of the most commonly-used products and how long you can expect them to last. Just keep in mind that every person’s experience is unique. If you have questions, ask your medical spa injector!
HA-only formulas (such as Restylane) are more temporary in nature. Results typically last between six and 12 months. However, results stick around far longer for some, and a small number of people do see permanent improvements. There is also a tendency to see more permanent results if treatments occur at regular intervals.
PMMA fillers (such as Bellafill) are technically the only option FDA-approved for acne scar correction. They produce the most stable, durable results, lasting up to five years. A small number of patients see permanent improvements and stop needing treatments altogether, especially with repeated treatments over time.
Calcium hydroxyapatite fillers (including Radiesse) stimulate collagen production, and for this reason, it’s difficult to pinpoint exact longevity in every patient. Most people enjoy results for approximately one to two years. But if your skin reacts positively to the product, and begins to produce enough collagen, you might even notice a permanent shift in texture and tone.
FILLER COMBINATION THERAPY
Sometimes, providers suggest a combination of multiple injectable fillers rather than a single product. This may be better for people who have several contributing issues or multiple concerns (e.g., fine lines and acne scars).
However, fillers are rarely actually mixed directly; instead, they’re used individually in areas that might be close to one another within the skin. For this reason, it’s harder to predict exact durability in these cases. This is why it’s so important to work with a skilled injector.
ARE FILLERS RIGHT FOR EVERYONE?
Fillers are appropriate for most reasonably healthy patients. In fact, the risk of side effects is extremely low provided that a skilled injector handles the treatment process. Still, there are a few reasons they might not be right for your acne scars, for example:
Immunocompromisation: People who are on immunosuppressants or who have a condition that suppresses the immune system may have a higher risk for infection. Thus, injectables may not be suitable for them. That said, it is sometimes possible to modify treatment to better suit their needs. So if you fall into this category, talk to your provider before you write them off entirely.