Acne can be a frustrating and confidence-damaging skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While many acne treatments focus on clearing active breakouts, the aftermath of acne can leave behind unsightly scars. These scars can serve as a constant reminder and negatively impact a person’s self-esteem and overall appearance. However, there is hope for those looking to reduce the appearance of acne scars. Dermal fillers, a popular choice for non-surgical cosmetic treatments, have shown promising results in improving the appearance of acne scars. In this article, we will explore how dermal fillers work, their effectiveness, and other treatment options available.

Understanding Acne Scars

Before delving into the effectiveness of dermal fillers, it’s essential to understand the different types of acne scars. Acne scars can be broadly categorized into two main types: depressed scars and raised scars. Depressed scars occur when the skin fails to produce enough collagen to repair the damage caused by acne. These scars can manifest as “ice pick” scars, which are small holes in the skin, or “boxcar” scars, which are round or oval-shaped scars with steep sides. Raised scars, on the other hand, result from an overproduction of collagen during the skin’s healing process, creating a mass of raised tissue on the skin.

How Dermal Fillers Work for Acne Scars

Dermal fillers are a type of cosmetic injection that adds volume under the skin. While they are commonly used for smoothing out lines and wrinkles, they have also shown effectiveness in improving the appearance of depressed acne scars. One of the most widely used dermal fillers for acne scars is Bellafill®. Bellafill® is the only long-term filler that has received FDA approval for the treatment of distensible acne scars. It contains a collagen gel that instantly adds volume to the depressed acne scar, along with polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) microspheres. Unlike other fillers, the PMMA microspheres remain in the skin after the collagen is absorbed, stimulating the production of natural collagen and providing a longer-lasting effect.

When injected into the depressed acne scar, dermal fillers like Bellafill® help to raise the scar to the level of the surrounding skin, resulting in a smoother and more even skin texture. The procedure is performed by a board-certified dermatologist and involves injecting the filler directly into the targeted area. The amount of filler used will depend on the severity and size of the scars being treated.

The Effectiveness of Dermal Fillers for Acne Scars

The effectiveness of dermal fillers for acne scars can vary depending on various factors, including the type of scar, the depth of the scar, and individual skin characteristics. However, many patients have reported significant improvement in the appearance of their acne scars after receiving dermal filler treatments. Studies have shown that fillers can improve the appearance of cheek scars by over 50 percent. The results are visible immediately after the procedure, with continued improvement over time as the skin naturally produces more collagen. The duration of the results can vary from a few months to a year, depending on factors such as the type of filler used and individual skin characteristics.

Other Treatment Options for Acne Scars

While dermal fillers have shown promising results, they are not the only treatment option available for acne scars. Depending on the type and severity of the scars, your dermatologist may recommend other treatments, either in combination with dermal fillers or as standalone options. Some of these treatments include:


Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, is a procedure that involves using a device with tiny needles to create controlled micro-injuries in the skin. This process stimulates the skin’s natural healing response, promoting the production of collagen and elastin. Microneedling can help break up scar tissue and improve the appearance of depressed acne scars. It is typically performed in a dermatologist’s office and may require multiple sessions for optimal results.

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing is another option for treating acne scars, particularly raised scars. This procedure uses laser technology to remove the outer layer of damaged skin, allowing new, healthier skin to grow in its place. Laser resurfacing can help smooth out the texture of the skin and reduce the visibility of scars. One commonly used laser for acne scar treatment is the Fraxel® laser. It works by delivering microscopic laser columns to the skin, stimulating collagen production and improving the overall appearance of the skin.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels involve applying a chemical solution to the skin, which causes the top layer to peel off, revealing smoother, more even-toned skin underneath. Chemical peels can help improve the appearance of mild to moderate acne scars by promoting skin cell turnover and collagen production. The depth and strength of the peel used will depend on the severity of the scars and individual skin characteristics.


Subcision is a minor surgical procedure that involves using a needle to break up the fibrous bands that tether the scarred skin to the underlying tissue. By releasing these bands, subcision helps to elevate depressed acne scars and promote the production of collagen. It is often performed in conjunction with other treatments, such as dermal fillers or microneedling, to enhance the overall results.

Choosing the Right Treatment for You

When it comes to treating acne scars, it’s essential to consult with a board-certified dermatologist who can assess your individual needs and recommend the most suitable treatment options. The choice of treatment will depend on various factors, including the type and severity of your scars, your skin type, and your overall goals and expectations. Your dermatologist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation and discuss the potential benefits and risks of each treatment option to help you make an informed decision.


Acne scars can be a source of frustration and self-consciousness for many individuals. However, advancements in cosmetic treatments have made it possible to improve the appearance of acne scars and restore confidence. Dermal fillers, such as Bellafill®, have shown promising results in reducing the visibility of depressed acne scars. By injecting the filler into the scar, dermatologists can raise the depressed area to the level of the surrounding skin, resulting in a smoother and more even skin texture. Other treatment options, including microneedling, laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, and subcision, can also be effective in reducing the appearance of acne scars. Consulting with a qualified dermatologist will help determine the most appropriate treatment for your specific needs. Don’t let acne scars hold you back – explore the available options and take the first step towards smoother, more confident skin.

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