Acne scars are textural indentations and irregularities that occur as a result of damage to the skin following repeated inflammation from an acne outbreak.
There are 3 distinct categories of acne scars that can occur:
- Atrophic scars: depressions on the skin (ice-pick, rolling and boxcar scars)
- Hypertrophic/Keloid scars: raised spots on the skin
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: dark spots that fade naturally over time
The most common type of scars seen in patients are atrophic scars which happen as a result of the dermis being compromised during an acne outbreak where insufficient collagen is produced to repair and heal the skin as it normally would, resulting in an uneven skin texture.
Unfortunately, acne scars can be more difficult and complicated to treat than acne. The natural ageing process also causes us to lose collagen as we get older, causing atrophic scars to look even more depressed over time.
In the case of atrophic scars, the goal of treatment is to repair the skin and stimulate collagen production so that the skin is gradually raised.
While there are a plethora of treatments available that can achieve this, did you know that dermal fillers can play an important role in your acne scar removal treatment as well?
Let’s jump right in.
Understanding dermal fillers: how they work to treat acne scars
While dermal fillers are well-known for adding volume and shape to our lips, removing fine lines and wrinkles and sculpting the chin and jawline, they can also be effectively injected beneath the skin to help lift up and improve the appearance of depressed scars.
Its volumizing effect is what makes it effective for treating acne scars to help raise the scar tissue and even out the skin.
A 2015 scientific review looked at several studies of dermal fillers for acne scarring and noted that most fillers produced improvements in facial acne scars and attained a high patient satisfaction rate.
The most common fillers that you will find in the market are Bellafill (collagen + polymethylmethacrylate), Ellanse (polycaprolactone), Juvederm and Restylane (hyaluronic acid) and Radiesse (calcium hydroxylapatite) that can all be used to stimulate collagen to improve the elasticity and firmness of our skin.
However, the most common filler used to treat acne scars are hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers.
Since hyaluronic acid is naturally present in the skin, dermal fillers made from this substance are a safe and ideal choice for rejuvenating and replenishing collagen resources while simultaneously hydrating the skin.
HA fillers primarily work in two ways: attract moisture or water molecules to itself to give a filling effect immediately and inducing collagen production over time for further improvements and lifting of the scar.
Open trails conducted suggest a high treatment satisfaction rate of patients with minimal adverse effects with HA fillers. In addition, a 2013 study found that patients with acne scars experienced an “immediate visual improvement” after getting HA injections with no adverse effects other than pinpoint bleeding at the injection site.
It is important to note that not all dermal fillers are the same and that its component, longevity and density can affect your results.
A filler that has a higher density and viscosity tends to work better to provide a stronger underlying foundation to fill up depressed acne scars.
In summary, dermal fillers are generally safe for the majority of patients although some side effects like mild redness, bruising and swelling can be expected for the first 2 days. Although fillers can give you immediate results, they are a non-permanent and temporary solution that will only last you anywhere from 6-18 months.
Fillers also tend to work better for shallow and wide scars like rolling or some boxcar scars. Deep, ice-pick scars will require micro-needling radiofrequency treatments like INFINI RF or TCA Cross to see the best results. Fillers also do not work to treat hypertrophic scars or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
It is not uncommon for doctors to use fillers as part of a comprehensive acne scar treatment program that includes ablative and non-ablative laser treatment for acne scars like the Edge Fractional CO2 laser and subcision acne scars treatment.
Dermal fillers are also the perfect complement to subcision since they work as a spacer to prevent scar tissues from anchoring down the skin.
Profhilo: a better alternative to dermal fillers for treating acne scars?
Profhilo is a stabilized HA-based injectable that has been shown to be effective in bio-remodelling the skin. It is the first injectable that doesn’t use chemical additives or agents like BDDE or Lycodine which are a common cause for unsightly lumps forming after treatment.
Developed with thermal cross-linked NAHYCO hybrid technology to form a unique molecule called Hybrid Cooperative Complex (HCC). It contains both high and low molecular weight hyaluronic acid to help raise the scar tissue while allowing for a slower release of active ingredients for longer-lasting results.
The mechanism of action of Profhilo is ideal for dermal tissue repair such as in the case of acne scars. The high concentration of hyaluronic acid in each dose is also the highest in the market – enabling faster wound healing, tissue renewal and greater hydration to fill in scars and smoothen out the skin!
Injected under the skin via the 5 points BAP (bio-aesthetic points) technique, it is specifically designed to minimize the risk of bruising and improve the safety profile of the treatment, while also allowing for maximum diffusion of the HCC across the entire face and in all 3 layers of the skin.
Often compared to with Rejuran Healer, both treatments are NOT categorized as a dermal filler or skinbooster. However, their biocompatibility makes them extremely safe treatments as compared to traditional dermal fillers.
While both dermal fillers and Profhilo can be used to improve the appearance of acne scars, Profhilo requires fewer injections and fewer treatment sessions.
Lesser injection points = reduced discomfort and downtime!
Profhilo also offers more benefits to improve your overall skin health. Here is a summary of the benefits of Profhilo:
- Stimulates 4 types of collagen, elastin and fat tissue renewal to promote bio-remodelling of the skin.
- Improves skin laxity with tightening and lifting effects.
- The high concentration of hyaluronic acid (64mg / 2ml) for healthier, more radiant skin
- Kickstarts tissue repair process that is ideal for treating acne scars.
No-downtime acne scar treatment @ The Clifford Clinic
Instead of limiting yourself to just dermal fillers, there are a lot of other alternatives that are just as, if not more effective for treating all types of acne scars.
At The Clifford Clinic, our doctors have combined 2 innovative and potent procedures: Profhilo and Gold PTT to offer a no-downtime acne scar treatment for our patients!
While the Gold PTT treatment is primarily used for the treatment of active acne, it can also help address fine lines and wrinkles and acne scars because of its collagen stimulating effects.
As both Profhilo and Gold PTT work on similar principles to stimulate collagen production, using both produces synergistic effects to improve your skin’s natural healing abilities to smoothen out uneven skin and improve your overall skin quality!
The best part about our no-downtime acne scar treatment is that it can tackle all types of acne scars as it acts on the natural regenerative processes in the skin. And yes, no downtime means it’s perfect for individuals with hectic schedules!
Ultimately, the treatment that you choose should depend on the acne scars you have, the results that you desire and your specific skin type.
More important than choosing an appropriate treatment is working with an aesthetic doctor who is well-trained and experienced in treating all types of acne scars and can customize a holistic treatment program should you be experiencing active acne or other skin issues.
There is never a one-size-fits-all approach to treating acne and acne scarring, which is why our doctors believe in customizing your treatment using a combination of solutions like INFINI RF for very deep acne scars, acne laser treatment such as Pico + HEXA MLA and Fraxel Dual laser, deep chemical peels to manual techniques such as subcision and TCA cross.
If you have tried everything you can to improve your acne scars with zero results, don’t lose hope just yet – book your consultation with us today!
1) How is Profhilo administered?
After cleansing your skin, your doctor will proceed to mark five key points on each side of your cheek using the BAP technique. Profhilo is then carefully injected into all 10 points on the face.
The entire treatment takes roughly 30 minutes to complete (after topical anaesthesia is applied) and you might notice visible bumps, mild bruising and swelling which should naturally disappear and subside within 24-36 hours.
2) When will I see results?
It generally takes 3-6 months to see maximum results; however, immediate hydration and mild lifting effects can be seen as soon as the first session. Greater firming and skin tightening effects are seen after the second session where you will continue to see improvements over the next 2-3 months.
It is highly recommended that patients go through at least 2 sessions (1 month apart) and combine their treatment with other modalities depending on what they are looking to achieve.
Profhilo results usually last for about 6 months in which it is recommended to drop by for maintenance treatments every 6-9 months after you complete an entire treatment cycle.