Atrophic scars are by far the most common type of acne scars, appearing like craters in the skin and creating a serious dent in your self-confidence. To lift and smooth these depressions in the skin, cosmetic dermatologist and acne scarring specialist Dr. Jason Emer uses a range of devices, techniques, and injectable fillers, including Bellafill, the only FDA-approved dermal filler for both immediate and long-term improvement in acne scarring.
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What is Bellafill?
A semi-permanent injectable filler, Bellafill is most commonly used to treat rolling acne scars, or the soft-edged, miniature “hills and valleys” in your skin. By injecting micro-droplets of Bellafill into the indented acne scars, Dr. Emer is able to subtly and immediately plump the scars and provide short-term improvement in skin texture. At the same time, Bellafill works to restore the damaged tissue beneath the scars and triggers collagen production, adding volume over time and creating healthy, resilient skin long-term.
In his practice, Dr. Emer refers to Bellafill as the “spider web filler”: as the product leaves the syringe, it has a tendency to cling to the end of the needle. This same clinging effect occurs beneath the skin, as the filler binds with the skin tissue to build a “web” of collagen and a scaffold under the scars to plump and lift them. In addition to acne scarring, Bellafill can also improve:
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Nasolabial folds (smile lines)
- Facial volume loss / facial trauma
- Facial asymmetry or imbalance
- Facial sculpting and contouring, such as non-surgical Cheek Augmentation, Chin Projection, and Jawline Contouring
- Indentations and irregularities in the skin
- Muscular definition such as contouring the abdominals (“six pack”) or defining the shoulder / trapezius
- Penile enlargement
How does it work?
Made from a safe, biocompatible material, Bellafill is comprised of tiny polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) microspheres suspended within a smooth collagen gel. Once injected, the collagen gel immediately plumps the depressed skin while the PMMA microspheres bind to the tissue and create a scaffold beneath the skin, thereby promoting natural collagen production. The new collagen creates additional volume and reduces the appearance of scars, cellulite, lines, wrinkles, folds, furrows, and indentations, resulting in a smooth, subtle, and long-term outcome.
Acne scars often require a combination of Bellafill and subcision, in which a cannula or specialized sharp needle (Nokor) is inserted beneath the skin to release tethered scars (i.e. deeper, depressed scars that do not move when you smile due to scar tissue and tethered bands pulling down on the skin). The subcision treatment itself triggers collagen production and lifts the tissue, so the skin is smoother on the surface. Dr. Emer then uses fillers like Bellafill, Radiesse, and Sculptra as well as fat injections to plump the previously tethered area, prevent further indentation, and build collagen over time.
How does Bellafill improve muscle definition?
The subdermal scaffolding system created by the PMMA microspheres supports not only collagen development but also long-term muscle density. For patients seeking enhanced athletic contouring, Dr. Emer injects Bellafill directly into the muscle sheath and skin to improve volume, increase muscle density, and stimulate additional collagen production with no downtime. For those pursuing the perfect six-pack abs or defined shoulders, Bellafill can promote long-term definition and contouring over the course of 3 to 6 months.
How long do Bellafill improvements last?
Bellafill produces immediate volumization when injected into depressions and indentations in the skin. The results typically last up to 5 years for nasolabial folds and up to 12 months for acne scars.
How does Dr. Emer do it differently?
While many physicians shy away from semi-permanent fillers, Dr. Emer understands how to use Bellafill’s distinct advantages and collagen-building properties to treat a variety of conditions. A long-time pioneer of unique combination treatments, Dr. Emer complements Bellafill with other fillers, devices, and both surgical and non-surgical procedures to create dramatic, lasting improvements.
- To address small problem areas of cellulite and dimpling — when more aggressive treatments such as Cellfina are unwarranted — Dr. Emer combines Bellafill with subcision (as he does with tethered acne scars) to cut and release the fibrous connective bands that hold the skin down. Following the subcision procedure, Dr. Emer injects Bellafill directly into the treatment area to build collagen and prevent the recurrence of cellulite or dimpling.
- To improve textural issues and superficial acne scars, Dr. Emer combines Bellafill injections with chemical peels such as Cosmelan, laser skin resurfacing treatments — both non-ablative lasers (Fraxel or Sciton Halo) and ablative lasers (Erbium or CO2) — and deep microneedling radiofrequency treatments (InMode Fractora, Venus Viva, or EndyMed Intensif) to obtain superior acne scarring results. These combination treatments, which incorporate multiple techniques and state-of-the-art devices, are essential to achieving visible, lasting improvement with acne scars.
- When combined with aggressive procedures such as TCA CROSS and/or punch excision (above), Bellafill injections can also assist in the improvement of larger ice pick acne scars by plumping in the short-term and building collagen in the long-term. Bellafill is followed by laser or radiofrequency treatments to stimulate additional collagen production and accelerate healing.
- For acne scars on the back, Dr. Emer pairs Bellafill with fractional radiofrequency treatments (such as Venus Viva) or non-ablative lasers (like Fraxel) to create an immediate plumping effect. The filler will produce collagen long-term and further enhance the results.
- Dr. Emer’s newest combination is a blend of Bellafill and Juvederm Voluma, or “BellaLift,” which features the lifting properties of Voluma and the long-lasting, collagen-building benefits of Bellafill. This cleverly crafted combination approach is a more permanent solution to facial sculpting procedures, such as enhancing the chin, defining the jaw, and contouring the nose, and can even be used to improve scarring, facial asymmetries, facial trauma, or hollowing temples.
- For patients with severe facial volume loss, facial trauma, or botched procedures, Dr. Emer often uses fat grafting to make significant improvements in volume loss. He complements the fat injections with Sculptra and/or Bellafill to achieve an even more substantial outcome.
Am I a good candidate for Bellafill?
Bellafill is a versatile dermal filler that can be used to treat a range of skin conditions. To determine if you are an ideal candidate for Bellafill, schedule a formal evaluation with a board-certified dermatologist like Dr. Jason Emer — one with demonstrated experience in injectable fillers who can assess your unique needs and aesthetic goals and then develop a tailored treatment plan that works for you. Dr. Emer will also perform a Bellafill skin test to ensure that there are no long-term allergic reactions once the filler is injected.
Are there any risks involved with Bellafill?
Injectable filler treatments should always be performed by an expert. Because Bellafill is a semi-permanent, irreversible filler, patients can experience less than satisfactory results or long-lasting complications (such as biofilms, lumps or bumps, granulomas, or asymmetries) if the product is injected improperly. Technique is the key to success with Bellafill, so you’ll want to see a meticulous and experienced physician who can determine which filler, how much filler, and which technique will give you the subtle, natural-looking result you’re looking for.
What is the downtime?
Following Bellafill injections, patients can return to normal activities immediately. Some patients experience redness, bruising, swelling, irritation, lumps or bumps, and/or or discoloration in the treatment area. These symptoms are usually temporary and tend to resolve within 10 to 14 days.
How do I schedule a consultation with Dr. Emer?
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Emer in Beverly Hills / Los Angeles / West Hollywood, California, please reach out to our concierge to schedule an appointment. Call 424-800-4140 or email us at email@example.com.