Bellafill is a FDA-approved collagen-based dermal filler that’s injected into the face to smooth deep smile lines or indented acne scarring.
It’s formulated with microspheres of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), a resin that has been used in medical implants for decades and is proven to be effective in treating acne scars.
These microspheres provide a foundation for smoother skin, staying under your skin after the initial collagen gel has been absorbed to stimulate a boost in your own natural collagen production. This creates plumping effects that can last five years or more.
“Bellafill is injected under the dermis to counteract one of the hallmarks of aging: volume loss,” says Seattle-based plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Windle.
Formerly called Artefill, Bellafill is made by Suneva Medical. The FDA initially approved it for the correction of nasolabial folds and later for treating moderate to severe atrophic acne scars, also known as indented or distensible facial acne scars.
New York City dermatologist Dr. Michele Green says “Bellafill is very popular with patients who have significant acne scars. I treat many patients with atrophic scars, who need to have the lost collagen replaced. Bellafill offers them a longer correction for these depressions than traditional hyaluronic acid dermal fillers.”
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Bellafill stimulates your body to make its own tissue to replace volume that's been lost due to aging, according to Dr. Windel. “It usually feels and looks so natural that you can’t even tell it’s been done,” he says.
- It can last up to five years, the longest of any temporary filler currently on the market.
- More time between treatments can make it more economical than other injectable fillers, even though it costs more up-front.
- Because it stimulates your own collagen production, results can look very natural.
- Unlike some other acne scar treatments, Bellafill is safe for all skin types and tones.
- Bellafill contains bovine collagen, which comes from cows. This can be problematic for vegetarians and vegans, as well as people who are allergic to bovine collagen. Your provider should do a skin test to make sure you don’t react before they inject the filler. If they don’t, you could have an allergic reaction to the Bellafill injections that would last as long as the filler lasts—about five years.
- Because it’s not hyaluronic acid-based, it can’t be dissolved (as Juvéderm or Restylane can) if you’re dissatisfied with the results or have a complication. This makes it especially important to find an experienced provider.
- If you’re prone to keloid or hypertrophic scarring, Bellafill won’t be the best option for you.
RealSelf Tip: “Bellafill for acne scars needs to be meticulously placed,” says Dr. Green. “For most atrophic scars, Bellafill injections need to be performed in conjunction with subcision,” a procedure that breaks up the underlying tissue band with a needle and allows the area to lift.
- Average Cost:
- $800 - $6,000
The price you pay will depend largely on how much filler you have injected and how much your provider charges per syringe, based on their level of experience and practice location.
While this up-front cost is more expensive than HA fillers, Bellafill filler results last years longer, so it can actually be more economical over time.
You can finance your treatment with CareCredit.
See our complete guide to Bellfill costs
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Both Bellafill and Juvéderm fillers can smooth fine lines and wrinkles, contour the face, and restore lost volume.
These are the biggest differences between them.
- Juvéderm formulas last 6 to 18 months, while Bellafill results can last up to 5 years.
- The plumping and smoothing results of Juvéderm fillers rely on hyaluronic acid (HA), a naturally occuring substance that attracts and retains up to 1,000 times its weight in water, while Bellafill stimulates collagen production to plump skin over time.
- Both types of fillers provide an immediate improvement, but Bellafill results continue to improve for 3 to 6 months as new collagen forms.
- If you don’t like your results or have a complication, Juvéderm can be dissolved with hyaluronidase. Bellafill gone wrong can’t be easily fixed, so it’s critical to find a highly trained injector (like a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon).
- Bellafill is FDA-approved to treat nasolabial folds and indented acne scars, while Juvéderm fillers can be used in other areas of the face, including the lips and under-eye tear troughs.
Your provider will perform a skin test up to 30 days in advance to rule out a bovine allergy (0.5% of the population has it). They’ll also ask about any medications you’re taking, if you’re prone to scarring, and if you’re pregnant.
The injections can be done relatively quickly in your doctor’s office. They’ll start by mapping out the treatment areas. Bellafill contains a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort, but your doctor may also numb the area with a topical anesthetic or ice beforehand.
Your provider will then inject the filler under the dermis with a needle or cannula (an extremely thin tube that can help minimize bruising) in accordance with your treatment plan.
Afterward, they’ll apply ice to the injection sites to reduce the chance of bruising. You’ll be able to apply makeup immediately afterward, to cover any redness.
It’s common to have some bruising and swelling after your appointment.
- Swelling is usually minimal and lasts 3 to 10 days.
- Bruising can last anywhere from 5 to 21 days, but you’ll be able to cover it with makeup. You can mitigate it by avoiding alcohol for a few days before and after your treatment.
“Other than swelling and bruising, there’s no downtime,” says Dr. Windle. You can resume most of your normal activities immediately after your treatment, but hold off on intense workouts, high heat settings like saunas and hot tubs, and facials for a few days to help the swelling and bruising fade faster.
You’ll notice an immediate improvement in your skin texture from the collagen in the formula, and your results will continue to improve for three to six months, as the filler stimulates collagen production.
If your results after six months aren’t as dramatic as you hoped, talk with your doctor about additional injections or other filler options.
Bellafill lasts for about 5 years, making it a much longer-lasting option than fillers without PMMA microspheres. A clinical study found that 87% of patients who had the treatment for smile lines were still happy with their results after five years. The manufacturer also reports a similar percentage of patients who used it to smooth atrophic acne scars were satisfied with their results after one year.
“It is the perfect filler for the individual who is tired of continually refilling with other injectables,” says Dr. Windle. “Other types absorb and disappear in 12 to 24 months.”
Bellafill injections are considered safe in the hands of an experienced injector.
Common side effects include swelling, bruising, tenderness, redness, or slight bleeding at the injection site. It’s possible but rare to develop an infection at the injection site.
In rare cases, the microspheres can cause lumps, also known as granulomas, by forming scar tissue under the skin.
“Bellafill, like all the other fillers, can result in lumps in the area where it was injected, but this is an unusual complication,” says Dr. Windle. “The complication rate of Bellafill is 0.11%, while the complication rate of all the other fillers is 0.12%, year over year.” If granulomas do form, they usually respond well to steroid injections.
Some medications interact with Bellafill. “Individuals considering treatment with Bellafill should stop any medication that can potentially increase bleeding, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories,” says Dr. Windle.
It’s also not recommended for people who:
- Are under age 21
- Are susceptible to keloid or hypertrophic scarring (according to the FDA).
- Have a history of severe allergies or an allergy to bovine collagen or lidocaine
Anyone planning to get Bellafill is required to have a skin test to rule out an allergy to bovine collagen.
Unlike treatment options using hyaluronic acid–based fillers, which can be dissolved early with hyaluronidase injections, Bellafill filler is not reversible. Again, it’s vital to choose an experienced plastic or dermatologic surgeon or a highly trained esthetician under a doctor’s supervision, who can safely give you the results you want.
Related: Hyaluronic Acid vs. Biostimulatory Fillers: What to Know Before You Get Injected
There’s little research on the effects of Bellafill during pregnancy, and whether PMMA will harm a fetus. However, doctors usually recommend avoiding cosmetic procedures like this one during pregnancy.
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- Other hyaluronic acid–based fillers, like Juvéderm and Restylane, are popular options, especially for people who are new to fillers. They cost less up-front, they can be dissolved early with hyaluronidase if you aren’t satisfied with your results, and their range of formulas can be used in areas like the lips, where Bellafill isn’t recommended.
- Radiesse also stimulates collagen, and it doesn’t contain the bovine collagen in Bellafill that can trigger allergic reactions.
- Sculptra is a very popular alternative to hyaluronic acid fillers. It can be used on the face and body, and it lasts for two years.
- Botox isn’t a filler, but this injectable treatment can temporarily smooth facial wrinkles by temporarily blocking signals to the nerves that cause muscle movement.
If your primary concern is acne scars, explore all the top treatment options.
RealSelf Tip: Steer clear of Silikon-1000, a permanent silicone filler that’s FDA-approved for retinal surgery that’s sometimes used in the face. It has rare but significant risks, including the potential to block arteries and cause tissue death. It’s also nearly impossible to remove.
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Bruce S., Callender V., Cohen S., Eaton L., Grimes P., et al., Polymethylmethacrylate Collagen Gel-Injectable Dermal Filler for Full Face Atrophic Acne Scar Correction (2019)
Cohen S., Dover J., Karnik J., Monheit G., Narins R., et al., Five-Year Safety and Satisfaction Study of PMMA–Collagen in the Correction of Nasolabial Folds (2015)
U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Bellafill - Instructions for Use (n.d.)
Published November 11, 2020 Updated January 9, 2023