What is Collagen?
Collagen injection is a non-invasive cosmetic procedure which can rejuvenate the skin, plump up the thinning lips, create volume to a hollowed facial region such as the cheek, minimize frown lines between eyebrows, eliminate the nasolabial lines between the mouth and nose, reduce forehead creases, and correct pitted acne scars.
Collagen, which is naturally found in the dermis or the skin’s second layer, is a type of protein that makes the skin appear smooth and supple. But with advancing age and too much sun exposure, the body produces less of this which then results to leathery, dull skin and lack of facial volume.
Fortunately, doctors have found ways to harvest or create collagen in order to address signs of facial aging such as deep lines, wrinkles, and hollowed appearance.
Collagen Sources and Brand Names
Collagen filler may be derived from human skin or animals such as pigs (or porcine) and cows (bovine). But regardless of its source, the treatment can rejuvenate the skin and minimize or remove the signs of aging.
Cosmoplast and Cosmoderm are brand names which use collagen derived from human skin while Zyderm and Zyplast are sourced from bovine animals which means that allergy testing prior to their injection is required. Meanwhile, Artefill is also grafted from cows although it is combined with tiny plastic spheres which can encourage more collagen production. Evolence, which is derived from purified porcine collagen, also requires allergy test which is usually performed a month before its injection. This is done by introducing a small amount of collagen to the skin to determine if there is any sign of allergic reaction often manifested by redness, itching, and swelling.
For individuals who want to use their own collagen, Autologen is a good option in which their doctors will extract this protein from a skin removed during an operation such as tummy tuck and facelift (or anything that involves removing excess skin). The good thing about this process is that the collagen can be safely stored for five years for future use. Isolagen collagen is also derived from a patient’s own body, but unlike the Autologen, it only requires a small piece of skin in order to allow doctors to clone the protein and process it into a liquid form.
Another collagen source is the human cadaver skin which is sterilized and processed into a liquid form.
What to Expect During Collagen Procedures
In many cases, doctors use a topical anesthesia to numb the treated area, although some prefer mixing this to the collagen filler. And once the drug takes effect, they will inject the protein to the target area and the entire process often lasts for a few minutes or just several seconds per site. It is important to note that deep wrinkles such as marionette lines (below the corners of the mouth), nasolabial folds (between the nose and mouth), hollowed cheeks, and deep acne scars often require multiple injections to achieve the most desired result.
Perhaps an allergic reaction is the most common concern with collagen injections; consequently, a skin allergy test is mandatory especially if the procedure involves bovine or porcine collagen. Other side effects or risks, although very rare, include skin necrosis, swelling, skin peeing, uneven skin texture, reactivation of herpes, open sores, scarring, lumpiness, and infection.
Meanwhile, it is not uncommon to experience temporary bruising, redness, and swelling within the first several hours after collagen injection. These symptoms can be covered with makeup anytime, although it is important not to apply too much pressure or rub the treated area to avoid any complication.
Result of Collagen Fillers
The effects of collagen injection can last three months to two years, depending on how the body will reabsorb the protein and the natural effects of aging. While people can only enjoy a temporary result, it is relatively safe to repeat the treatment in case that they want to maintain their youthful appearance.