What are Dermal Fillers for acne scars?
Dermal Fillers are a type of injectable which is used to create volume under the skin, commonly around the nose or eyes. They are usually made from hyaluronic acid, a substance naturally produced by the human body. With its volume enhancing effects, Dermal Fillers can also be effectively used to treat acne scars by raising the scar tissue and evening out the skin.
Acne and acne scars
Acne occurs when the pores of the skin become blocked with oil secretion, dead skin, or bacteria remains. These will usually heal naturally if left undisturbed, but some individuals may experience severe outbreaks, which can become inflamed and cystic. In these severe cases, tissue in the skin may be damaged and heal irregularly, creating unsightly scars.
There are 3 common types of acne scars. Hypertrophic/keloid scars, atrophic scars and post-inflammatory pigmentation. Hypertrophic/keloid scars are raised spots above the skin, whereas Post-inflammatory pigmentation are small, darkened spots which appear after an inflamed acne outbreak. Both hypertrophic/keloid scars and post-inflammatory pigmentation cannot be effectively treated with Dermal Fillers.
On the other hand, atrophic acne scars are small depressions which are formed when acne-afflicted skin heal below the usual level, creating a dimpled, uneven skin surface. Atrophic scars can be further subdivided into:
- Ice Pick Scars: These look like small, deep punctures in the skin. The scars resemble the holes an ice pick makes in ice, hence the name.
- Boxcar Scars: Like Ice Pick Scars, Boxcar scars have steep, angled edges. They are essentially larger Ice Pick Scars with a crater like appearance.
- Rolling Scars: These scars have gentler, sloping edges as compared to Boxcar and Ice Pick scars. They may form long “valleys” and “rolling hills”, hence the name.
How do Dermal Fillers work to treat atrophic acne scars?
Most atrophic acne scars can be treated using Dermal Fillers. As atrophic scars are mainly depressions in the skin, replacing this lost volume using artificial fillers can effectively lift the scar tissue to be level with the surrounding skin. This helps alleviate the most prominent feature of acne scars, which is the uneven skin.
The doctor will first assess the condition of your scars and determine where and how much filler should be used. Before the filler is administered, a specialised needle may be used to “release” scarring tethers binding the skin downwards. After which, Dermal Filler is injected under the scars as required. The doctors may then massage the treatment area gently to distribute the filler evenly.
Local anaesthesia or numbing cream may be used to reduce discomfort during the procedure.
Is the procedure painful?
Numbing cream or local anaesthesia can be administered during the procedure so there will be minimal discomfort.
How long is the procedure?
The procedure may take 20 to 60 minutes or longer, depending on the number of injections required.
Are there any risks/side effects?
Hyaluronic acid is a substance naturally produced by the human body. This means that it is highly biocompatible and is very safe.
Patients may experience mild bruising and swelling after the procedure. This will usually subside in a few days
If the filler is injected into the blood vessels, it may cause necrosis (tissue death) and possibly blindness if the blood vessels supplying the eyes are affected. However, this is very rare and is usually a result of poor technique.
What is the downtime?
There is little to no downtime using Dermal Fillers for acne scars. Patients can typically resume work and other daily activities immediately after the treatment. Some may experience mild bruising or swelling, but these will usually subside in a few days.
When can I see the effects? Are the effects permanent?
Effects are visible immediately after the procedure and will continue to improve for several weeks as the skin produces more collagen. However, Dermal Fillers are usually non-permanent solutions as the human body can digest hyaluronic acid naturally. Patients typically require a top-up session once every 6 to 12 months, depending on the individual.
Alternatively, patients can try Infini Acne Scar Treatment for more long-term results.
Am I suitable for Dermal filler treatment for acne scars?
Most people afflicted by atrophic acne scars are suitable to be treated with Dermal Fillers. Some individuals however, may be allergic to some components in the fillers so it is best to consult our doctors before commencing treatment.