Artefill for Acne Scars
If you had severe acne, you most likely have scars. Bad acne, especially nodularcystic acne, very often leaves behind depressed scars that look like pock marks or saucer-shaped holes in the skin. Dermatologists offer several procedures to treat these scars, including surgery, but these procedures often don't completely level the skin. Facial fillers can help, but they're generally temporary. However, a new dermatological facial filler called Artefill shows promise for filling these depressed scars for up to 10 years.
It's not clear why some acne sufferers develop bad scars while others with similar cases of acne do not. According to the AAD, severe acne tends to leave behind scars more often than mild or moderate acne. Heredity also plays a distinct role, since acne sufferers whose parents or older siblings developed scars are more likely to get scars themselves. Depressed scars develop most often, although some acne patients can develop raised scars or skin discoloration.
Artefill, a collagen filler designed to be injected under the skin, received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in 2006 to treat facial lines and wrinkles. Since Artefill's approval, many physicians also have used it to raise and fill acne scars as well as wrinkles. Unlike temporary fillers that last only a few months, Artefill combines collagen with microspheres designed to support the collagen. While your body eventually absorbs the collagen, the microspheres continue to support the skin. Artefill's manufacturer reports that results will last for at least one year, but some physicians who have tested the product over time say its effects can last up to 10 years.
Dermatologists can inject Artefill into your acne scars as part of an in-office procedure, according to the product's manufacturer. Your physician likely will numb the treatment area first, and Artefill itself contains an anesthetic. You probably won't be able to feel the filler after the procedure, but you might experience swelling, redness and potentially some bruising for about a day afterward. Some patients also get a rash or itching after treatment.
If you have bad depressed acne scars, your dermatologist might recommend acne scar surgery in addition to Artefill. In acne scar surgery, the surgeon can remove your acne scars with a small circular punch-type tool, or raise the skin above the scars by separating the skin from the underlying scar tissue with a scalpel, according to the AAD. In either case, you'd then receive Artefill injections once your skin heals from surgery. Surgery plus facial filler injections can improve your skin's appearance more than either procedure would alone.
Prior to its approval by the FDA, Artefill's manufacturer studied the product in wrinkle correction, not acne scar correction. Although many physicians now use Artefill to fill depressed acne scars, it's not clear how long the effects will last. In addition, a few patients who receive Artefill injections will develop lumps or granulomas at the injection site, which can be removed by a physician. If you think Artefill injections might help improve your depressed acne scars' appearance, discuss the procedure with your dermatologist.
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