Axolotl Shot™:  the regenerative filler

Q&A Blog by Sarah Burchett, PA-C

November 2019

 

How is Axolotl used and what skin conditions can it improve?

Axolotl was originally developed for orthopedic problems such as fractures, ligament tears and strains, as well as wound healing for burns and chronic ulcerations.  Its tissue regeneration benefits were so impressive that it was natural to expand into cosmetic use.  Anyone with aging concerns would benefit from Axolotl topically and injected.  It can be used like a filler to generate collagen and elastin growth.  It is also an excellent option for correcting acne scarring and surgical scars in conjunction with microneedling or laser.  Axolotl can also be used aesthetically for hair restoration. 

We have been especially pleased with the results of using Axolotl to improve the undereye tear trough.  The tear trough is a very common complaint among patients, and the problem is typically a combination of hollowness, dark shadowing, and thin, lax skin that looks crepey.  Hyaluronic acid fillers mostly address the hollowness of the tear trough, whereas Axolotl improves the thickness and quality of the skin, thereby diminishing dark shadowing, and builds more collagen to diminish crepiness.  Axolotl will also not cause any puffiness, lumpiness, or Tyndall effect like you sometimes see with hyaluronic acid filler.

Axolotl also works wonderfully when applied topically with microneedling or laser resurfacing to speed up recovery time and stimulate collagen production.  Each channel created with microneedling or laser resurfacing is a gateway for the Axolotl to penetrate closer to the dermis, where collagen and elastin fibers are found, and stimulate dermal thickening and strengthening, which results in smoother skin that glows. 

What is Axolotl and where does it come from?

Axolotl is a watery fluid that contains growth factors and anti-inflammatory cytokines that are taken from mesenchymal stem cells and epithelial cells from donated placental tissue.  There are no actual cells in Axolotl, only human growth factors found inside those cells.

This sounds kind of like PRP (platelet rich plasma).  What is the difference?

Platelet-rich plasma has been utilized cosmetically in the same ways- via injection and topical application over open skin- with the goal of creating tissue growth and regeneration.  It has the same ability to encourage collagen growth, hair growth, and tissue repair.  The differences start by how each product is made.  With PRP, your own blood is drawn the day of the appointment.  Since each patient is using her own blood to make the PRP, there is greater variability in the quality of the PRP based on the patient’s age and overall health.  A patient in her 30’s who has never smoked, exercises regularly, and eats a healthy diet will have more growth factors available than a patient in her 60’s who is inactive and poorly nourished. Since Axolotl is taken from donors 35 years or younger, and there is a standardized production process, the product quality is consistent and has a higher concentration of growth factors. 

Is it safe?

Axolotl Biologix was founded in 2016, so it is a novel product for cosmetic use.  Since it is new, there is no long-term data or long-term clinical studies.  However, there have not been reported side effects to date.  Since the material is subcellular, risk of allergic reaction is very low.  During production, it is tested twice for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Syphilis, and West Nile Virus.  In the final stages of production, it is irradiated for sterility.  

Is it FDA approved?

No, there is not an FDA approved use for Axolotl.  It is considered part of regenerative medicine and “minimally processed human tissue.”  For comparison’s sake, PRP (platelet rich plasma) is not FDA approved for cosmetic use either.  Axolotl Biologix does collect and process all tissue according to FDA guidelines in a controlled environment.     

What are the risks and side effects?

Injection site bruising is possible as with any filler.  Temporary redness and swelling for the first 3 days may occur.  Allergic reaction is very unlikely, but possible.  Vascular occlusions are not a known risk due to the liquid consistency of the product.

How long do the results last?

Results will vary between patients, but since you are growing your own collagen, results should last 18 months or more.  The better you protect your skin with mineral sunscreen every day, antioxidants like Vitamin C, and collagen-supporting ingredients like retinol, the longer your results will sustain.

What is the cost of this procedure?

The cost of Axolotl is comparable to other fillers.  You may add Axolotl topically to microneedling or laser resurfacing for $600.  Injection of Axolotl starts at $800 for a single area such as the tear troughs, and goes up to $2000 for hair restoration treatment, which requires more product.  (Pricing as of November 2019)

Where did they get the name Axolotl?

An axolotl is actually a Mexican salamander that has an incredible ability to regenerate body parts when injured!  The axolotl can regrow a leg multiple times without any scarring or deformity.  The product is named for this regenerative property, NOT because there are any axolotl animal parts in the product.  For all of you science nerds, check out this video from Animalogic about axolotls. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo50ctoOTWs


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