Facial Acne Scar FAQ
Have questions relating to acne scarring?
Below you will find answers to 21 common questions about facial acne scarring and treatment. Simply click the questions below to reveal the answers.
What is acne scarring?
Let’s first define what a scar is and how it’s formed. A scar is fibrous tissue that replaces normal tissue destroyed by injury or disease. In the normal healing process, cells undergo a repair process that includes breakdown of old tissue and production of new tissue. In most cases, this healing process results in a near perfect replication of the damaged tissue. Scars develop as a result of the body’s attempt to repair the surrounding tissue that has been wounded or injured where the healing process was unable to completely replace the lost or damaged tissue. Basically, acne scarring is the result of damage in excess of what the body can normally heal, giving depressed or raised, hard, thickened areas of skin.
How is inflammation involved in acne scarring?
When a scar forms as a result of acne, it’s due to inflammation associated with the acne itself. As the inflammation extends deeper into the skin’s surface, more tissue damage occurs and the chance for scarring is greater.
What treatment is best for facial acne scarring?
The choice of treatment and subsequent amount of time it will take to heal significantly depends on the type and severity the acne scarring. Learn more about various treatment options for different types of facial acne scars.
What is the acne scar treatment with the least amount of downtime for pitted acne scars?
There are three types of pitted acne scars — icepick, rolling, and boxcar. One new treatment that offers the least amount of downtime would be the use of dermal fillers, if you have rolling (wide) pitted acne scars. Learn more in questions below about dermal fillers.
What about laser resurfacing for treating acne scars?
One of the options available for treating acne scars is laser resurfacing, which can be done with ablative or non-ablative lasers. These procedures work by utilizing a specialized, high-energy form of light that passes through the skin and is absorbed by the water in the dermis, just beneath the outer surface of the skin. The laser is able to remove very minute portions of skin and/or stimulate collagen growth resulting in improved facial contours and textures. Learn more about laser resurfacing.
What about topical treatments for getting rid of acne scars?
Topical medication (lotions and creams) are a non-invasive option for treating acne scars. They are rarely 100% effective on their own, but can be used in combination with other treatments for optimal results. The most effective topical treatment are retinoids, a type of medication chemically similar to vitamin A. Retinoids work by increasing cell turnover and stimulating collagen. Learn more about topical options.
What is an acne scar treatment that is good for ice pick acne scars?
When they are deep and narrow, these types of scars are usually much deeper than they are wide, and are often referred to as “ice pick” scars. Pitted scars can be treated using a technique called “punch excision” or “punch grafting.” During this procedure, a small “punch” — usually one to two mm in diameter — is used to remove the pitted area. The skin is then sewn back together with a very small suture, or a tiny piece of skin, often taken from behind the ear, is put in place of the “punch.” While this may sound a bit aggressive or involved, it’s actually a fairly simple procedure. What’s ideal about this procedure is that several scars can be treated in one office visit, and the treated areas may begin to heal within one or two weeks. Occasionally, there is some bruising and redness but the overall downtime is modest. It’s important that you consult with a physician to determine what treatment option is best for you.
What are dermal fillers for facial acne?
Dermal fillers are synthetic or harvested substances that are placed under the scars via an injection to raise the depressed skin. The goal is to make the scarred skin to match the surrounding area. It’s important that you consult with a physician to determine what treatment option is best for you. For patients in U.S., Bellafill® is a dermal filler recently approved by the FDA for treating acne scars.
Why use dermal fillers for facial acne? Isn’t it for wrinkles?
Yes, for years dermal fillers have been used for wrinkles. Dermal fillers are injected into and underneath the skin to ‘plump’ up the area. They restore youthfulness to the face by softening facial creases, smoothing out wrinkles, and restoring volume. But fillers may now be used for treating facial acne scars. Fillers may be injected underneath atrophic scars to raise the bottom of the scar to the surface of the skin and give a smoother look. Fillers may also stimulate some collagen growth.
Are there multiple dermal fillers on the market with FDA approval to treat acne scars?
No, just one. Bellafill® is the only FDA-approved dermal filler, on the market, for the correction of atrophic (pitted), distensible facial acne scars on the cheek. No other dermal filler on the market is approved for the treatment of acne scars. Bellafill® is indicated to treat rolling scars.
What is Bellafill®?
Bellafill® is a smooth collagen-based dermal filler made up of bovine collagen gel and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) microspheres. The collagen gel in Bellafill® provides immediate volume and lift to correct the wrinkle and/or acne scar. The PMMA microspheres remain in place and create a base that provides structural support for smoother-looking skin.
What is bovine collagen gel and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)?
Bovine collagen gel and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) microspheres are considered to be the most widely used materials in medicine since 1949. The microspheres remain intact at the injection site and provide structural support to help keep scars from returning. The microspheres are not absorbed by the body, and instead provide a support matrix for lasting scar correction by working together with the body’s own collagen.
What is the difference between Bellafill® and ArteFill®?
Bellafill® is the new name for ArteFill® in North America. It is distributed under the trade name ArteFill® in South Korea and Singapore. ArteFill® was rebranded to Bellafill® in the U.S. to reflect the transformational outcomes this unique product can provide to patients seeking correction of their acne scars and nasolabial folds. In markets outside of the U.S., the product is only approved for nasolabial folds.
When did Bellafill® receive FDA approval for the treatment of acne scars?
Bellafill® received FDA approval for the correction of moderate to severe, atrophic, distensible facial acne scars on the cheek in patients over the age of 21 years in December 2014.
What makes Bellafill® unique and effective?
What makes Bellafill® unique is that it replaces lost volume below the acne scars for results that are immediate and lasting. For a highly effective result, the injectable gel is comprised of 80% purified collagen and 20% polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) microspheres. The collagen gel in Bellafill® provides immediate volume and lift and, over time, the collagen is absorbed by the body. Furthermore, the PMMA microspheres remain in place and create a matrix that provides structural support to the skin for lasting correction.
How does Bellafill® work?
A Bellafill® injection immediately adds volume below pitted acne scars to lift to the level of the surrounding skin for a smoother appearance.
Will I see results from Bellafill® quickly?
Bellafill® is a simple in-office treatment that offers immediate correction and lasting results.
How long has Bellafill® been on the market been available in the U.S.?
Bellafill® was FDA approved in October 2006 (under the name ArteFill®) for treating nasolabial folds (smile lines). In December 2014, Bellafill® was approved by the FDA for the correction of atrophic, distensible facial acne scars on the cheek in patients over the age of 21 years.
Is Bellafill® safe?
Yes, Bellafill® is FDA approved and has been proven safe and effective in rigorously conducted clinical studies. In clinical studies, treatment-related adverse events were infrequent and typically of mild to moderate severity when they occurred. Bellafill® has completed one of the largest and longest studies ever done on a dermal filler to prove safety.
As with many injectable fillers, you may experience bruising, itching, pain, swelling, redness, discoloration, lumpiness, bumps, acne or increased sensitivity at the treatment site. These side effects are usually transient. For more safety information, please visit www.bellafill.com.
Why consider Bellafill®?
With Bellafill®, physicians have a tremendous opportunity to correct acne scars and with visibly noticeable decreases in scar appearance, it can help patients overcome some of the negative emotional effects associated with facial acne scarring.
Should I try home remedies for acne scars I find online or have heard about from friends?
Home remedies have not been scientifically evaluated for effectiveness and could possibly be dangerous. We recommend consulting with your dermatologist to determine which type of treatment is best for you.