Study Finds Liquid Silicone Safe, Effective for Acne Scars

DENVER – Highly purified liquid injectable silicone is a safe and effective permanent treatment for acne scarring in all skin types, including darker skin types, results from a recent study showed.

“Acne is pervasive, and acne scarring disproportionately affects darker skin types,” lead study author Nicole Salame, MD, told this news organization in advance of the annual meeting of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, where she presented the results of the study. “Treatment of acne scarring in darker skin is also particularly challenging since resurfacing can be problematic. Numerous treatment options exist but vary in effectiveness, sustainability, and side-effect profile, especially for patients with darker skin.”

Highly purified liquid injectable silicone (also known as LIS) is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating intraocular tamponade of retinal detachment, and has been used off label for skin augmentation. A 2005 study of LIS for five patients with acne scarring, with up to 30 years of follow-up, showed efficacy and preservation of product without complications for depressed, broad-based acne scars .

“Use of LIS as a permanent treatment for acne scarring in darker skin types has yet to be evaluated,” said Salame, a 4th-year dermatology resident at Emory University, Atlanta. “Our study is the first to retrospectively evaluate the safety and efficacy of highly purified LIS for the treatment of acne scars in all skin types.”

Salame and coauthor Harold J. Brody, MD, evaluated the charts of 96 patients with a mean age of 51 years who received highly purified LIS for the treatment of acne scars at Brody’s Atlanta-based private dermatology practice between July 2010 and March 2021. Of the 96 patients, 31 had darker skin types (20 were Fitzpatrick skin type IV and 11 were Fitzpatrick skin type V). Brody performed all treatments: a total of 206 in the 96 patients.

The average time of follow-up was 6.31 years; 19 patients had a follow-up of 1-3 years, 25 had a follow-up of 3-5 years, and 52 had a follow-up of greater than 5 years. The researchers did not observe any complications along the course of the patients’ treatments, and no patients reported complications or dissatisfaction with treatment.

“Among the most impressive findings of our study was the permanence of effectiveness of LIS for acne scarring in patients who had treatment over a decade before,” Salame said. “Our longest follow up was 12 years. These patients continued to show improvement in their acne scarring years after treatment with LIS, even as they lost collagen and volume in their face with advancing age.”

In addition, she said, none of the patients experienced complications of granulomatous reactions, migration, or extrusion of product, which were previously documented with the use of macrodroplet injectable silicone techniques. “This is likely due to the consistent use of the microdroplet injection technique in our study – less than 0.01 cc per injection at minimum 6- to 8-week intervals or more,” Salame said.

Lawrence J. Green, MD, of the department of dermatology at George Washington University, Washington, who was asked to comment on the study, said that the findings “show safety and durability of highly purified microdroplet liquid silicone to treat acne scars. The numbers of patients reviewed are small and selective (one highly skilled dermatologist), but with the right material (highly purified liquid silicone) and in a qualified and experienced physician’s hand, this treatment seems like a great option.”

Salame acknowledged certain limitations of the study, including its single-center, retrospective design. “Future prospective studies with larger patient populations of all skin types recruited from multiple centers may be needed,” she said.

The researchers reported having no relevant conflicts of interest or funding sources to disclose. Green disclosed that he is a speaker, consultant, or investigator for numerous pharmaceutical companies.

This article originally appeared on, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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