Facial collagen injections and other injectable fillers as anti-aging treatments

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Facial Collagen Injections

Collagen is the most abundant structural protein or building block in mammals making up about 40% of the total of the body. It is made of long fibrous proteins whose functions are quite different from those of globular proteins which are mostly functional proteins such as enzymes. Because it is tough and inextensible and has great tensile strength, it is responsible for the strength and elasticity of the skin, it accounts for around 75 percent of skin. It is the main component of cartilage, ligaments and tendons and a key component of bone and even teeth. It strengthens blood vessels and plays a role in tissue development and is the protein that that binds the whole body together. In its crystalline form it is also present in the cornea and lens of the eye.

The need for collagen injections

The degradation of collagen protein in the skin results in formation of the wrinkles in aged skin. As such, this important protein also has major role to play in the cosmetic surgery and the re-constructive surgery.

The advances in cosmetic surgery have made it possible to transport whole collagen molecules directly to the skin with the help of facial collagen injections. These collagen injectable fillers are effective wrinkle reducers; facial collagen injections are especially formulated to make the skin look brighter and smoother.

The collagen injectable fillers

Small amounts of the collagen provided through facial collagen injections (each containing about 3000 peptides) are injected directly into areas of the face where the body's own collagen has been damaged. These facial collagen injections help fill in the depressions and wrinkles on the face to raise the overlying skin so that it reaches a level with the surrounding skin. The injectable fillers help to minimize fine wrinkles lines and scars, improving texture, and creating a softer more even tone to the skin.

The changes brought about by these collagen injections are quite noticeable and can even be quantified. The changes caused by these injectable fillers can be marked as below:

  • 45% reduction in the area occupied by deep wrinkles
  • 15% reduction in the mean depth of the main wrinkle
  • 18% reduction in complexity
The effects of collagen injections last three to five months so the injections need to be repeated to maintain an improved look. After repeated injections less collagen may be required to maintain the effect.

Collagen lip injections

Collagen injections are one of several "injectable fillers" that are used to erase wrinkles between the lips and the cheeks (nasolabial fold) and above the upper lip. This can correct the droop around the mouth corners. It is also used to "plump" the lips and create a fuller, poutier look.

Types of collagen injections

There are several different types of collagen available. Which one is right for you depends in part on the nature of the skin damage involved, but also on the personal preference of the cosmetic surgeon providing the collagen injections.

Bovine derived collagen

Bovine collagen is the simplest and least expensive injectable filler. But many people are allergic to it, so a skin test prior to its injection is required.

There are two forms of bovine collagen that may be used in treatment, Zyderm® and Zyplast®, both of which are FDA approved. They may be used alone or in conjunction with one another. Zyderm can effectively treat small or surface problems such as frown lines, creases at the corners of the eyes, creases above or below the lips, and shallow scars. Zyplast is used to treat deeper depressions requiring a stronger material. It works well on more severe scars, lines, and furrows, such as those often appearing in the corners of the mouth.

Facial Collagen Injection Procedures

The treatment procedure with Zyderm and Zyplast collagen implants or injections consists of an initial consultation with a physician, a skin test (given four weeks prior to treatment) and a simple in-office procedure that can be completed quickly and conveniently, even during a lunch hour. The procedure takes just 5-15 minutes and can be performed with our without the use of local anesthetic or a nerve block. Some surgeons prefer to use nerve block during the collagen implant with injectable fillers. But the procedure is very simple and safer to use than botox injections. Most patients return to their normal routine immediately following the procedure.

Human Derived Collagen

CosmoDerm® or CosmoPlast® (FDA-approved for cosmetic corrective use) is human-derived collagen and is considered to be safer than bovine-derived collagen. Cosmoderm is used for minor skin defects. CosmoPlast is used for defects that are more serious. Overcorrection (injecting more of the dermal filler substance than what is typically needed to produce a positive outcome) is needed to achieve ideal results. These injectable fillers are quite expensive, but there results are better than bovine collagen and last up to 3-9 months. The procedure is just the same but an allergic test may not be required.

Other Injectable Fillers

There are also several non collagen injectable fillers available as described below.

Restylane and Perlane

The newest and most exciting additions to the line-up of temporary, injectable fillers are Restylane® and it’s thicker counterpart, Perlane® both of which made from hyaluronic acid, a natural substance that creates volume in the skin.

Restylane is derived from bacteria and is used for more superficial wrinkling. Perlane is meant for use on deeper wrinkles. Overcorrection (injecting more of the dermal filler substance than what is typically needed to produce a positive outcome) is generally not needed with these substances, as it is for collagen or fat injections.

Restylane and Perlane injections can last from six months to one year.

One of the main advantages of hyaluronic acid fillers is that they do not pose an allergy risk.

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