Collagen Injections for Facial Scars?

Can collagen injections work on facial scars such as chicken pox scars?  The old pock marks really bother me.

Doctor Answers 12

Only certain types of acne scars

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There are different types of acne scars. Some appear as little pits and some are bound down with scar tissue. These depressions CANNOT be elevated by collagen or any other type of filler. The filler will simply disperse around the scar tissue.

The way to tell if collagen will work is by placing your fingers on either side of the acne scar and "stretching" out the acne scar. If the depression resolves that gives you an idea of what the collagen will do. This type of acne scarring, called "rolled scars" can be improve with filler. Collagen works very well here but one should realize that Zyderm, Zyplast or Cosmoderm, Cosmoplast do not last very long in the skin.

Long Island Dermatologist

Combination of Several Procedures Works Best For Facial Scars

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Successful treatment of acne scars usually involves using several different techniques, layered on top of one another.

For instance, deep acne scars may require subcision (to raise the deepest part of the scar), filler (to further plump up the scar and return it to normal skin level), and light resurfacing, to smooth out any skin texture irregularities around the acne scar.

By using a combination treatment approach, I have been able to achieve results impossible to attain by using any one method alone.

For the final light resurfacing step, I have been particularly impressed by the results of the Deep Fx / Active Fx laser system. I have been using this laser in my office since it came on the market, and I find it to be an indispensable tool for management of acne scars.

After one treatment with a combination Deep Fx/ Active Fx laser, the texture of the skin is remarkably improved, and the acne scars are substantially diminished in appearance. I have been unable to match the results of this laser with any other alternative machine.

Ilya Reyter, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist

Yes, but there are several options for treatment of acne scars

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Yes, if the scar is one that can be raised up. Physicians who treat these scars should check before hand to ensure that the scar can be elevated by a simple examination in the office.

There are better fillers for facial scars than the old cow-hide collagen injections. There is human collagen (Cosmoderm and Cosmoplast) and hyaluronic acids such as Juvederm, Restylane and Perlane.

Isolagen is currently undergoing the last phase of United States FDA trials. If approved, this will allow physicians to treat your scars differently by “seeding” the dermis under the scar with your own cells that produce your collagen.

A tiny piece of skin is removed usually from behind the ear so no visible scars are seen, and this tissue is cultured in the company’s laboratory. The physician then receives a syringe of your fibroblasts which have been grown in number.

Once these are injected underneath the scars, new collagen will be produced by these special cells of yours. There is much promise with this technique as Isolagen was already used in the early 1990s prior to the FDA trials and good results had been seen for acne scarring.

Silicone injections are somewhat controversial and used off-label at this time. This means that it is not FDA approved yet for cosmetic use but as it is licensed for ophthalmic use, cosmetic dermatologists and surgeons can legally use it to build up acne scars.

When used with the appropriate micordroplet technique, the results can be outstanding and permanent with very little chance for migration or lump formation, but a thorough consultation with your physician is needed prior to embarking on such treatment.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

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Collagen can help but there are other options

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Hi Morgan,

Collagen can help, but it doesn't last very long and will need to be repeated every couple to few months. Restylane or Juvederm will last a bit longer. A long term fix is possible with laser resurfacing (fractional CO2, Fraxel restore, CO2), but this will be more expensive, may require multiple treatments, and will require some social downtime.
Take care, Dr. Groff

William Groff, DO
San Diego Dermatologist
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Collagen injections can help with scars

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Collagen or other filler injections can be very helpful with depressed scars. Without examining you or seeing a picture, it is hard to answer the question with specificity. However, anytime there is a depressed area, putting fillers underneath it can be very helpful.

The filler can be collagen, any of the HA products, Radiesse or even your own body fat. Find a good dermatologist or plastic surgeon in your area and they will be able to help you.

Acne Scar Treatment and options

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Depending on the depth and degree of scarring, there are a myriad of new fillers to use that are much better than old fashioned collagen injections.  Collagen injections are no longer available since there were many allergies and did not last that long.  Now, Restylane, Juvederm, Belotero, among others are available which do a much better job and last longer.  In addition, depending on your skin color, you can also have some Fraxel laser to your facial scars which will significantly improve the texture of your skin and minimize your scarring.  Please find a board certified dermatologist in your area who has a lot of experience in cosmetic dermatology.

Dermal Fillers for Chicken Pox Scars

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Injectable fillers are an excellent treatment option for many chicken pox or acne scars. The treatment is relatively simple; can be done in one appointment, and is relatively inexpensive compared to surgical alternatives. The downside is that the improvement is not permanent and may not work as well if the scars are "bound down." Regarding the "permanence" issue, the improvement following dermal fillers, like Restylane and Juvederm, tends to last longer than the improvement seen with wrinkles and furrows for these products. This is because acne and chicken pox scars are not caused or aggravated by movement like many wrinkles and furrows are. Less movement may result in less rapid breakdown of the product and therefore longer improvement in the scars. Talk to your doctor to see if dermal fillers might be a good alternative for your type of chickenpox scars.

Andrew Kaufman, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Atlanta - Acne Scar injections

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The answer is yes injectable fillers can help with the scaring but fillers are temporary. Laser resurfacing may be a better and more permanent solution to the problem.

You may need a combination of procedures for facial scars

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I see many patients with acne scarring, which is a similar process to chicken pox scarring. Pixel laser resurfacing works very well to smooth out these scars. I also use scar subscission, and injection of filler materials for the deepest scars. A new topical collagen treatment (Purigenex) also works well to help smooth out scars without injections.

Kevin Brenner, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Scar revision usually works better

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Soft tissue filler injections like Collagen can be useful, but are quite temporary. My preference is to revise scars if possible. Fillers need to be repeated every few months and therefore become more expensive in the long run. A good scar revision provides permanent improvement. 

Best Regards!

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.