Collagen injections have been used for years to provide a plumper, smoother appearance to targeted areas of the skin. Collagen is administered as an injectable filler and is the most commonly used and time-tested filler used today, despite the wide range of other products currently available.
Collagen is a protein that is found naturally in the skin within the second layer, known as the dermis. This protein acts as a support structure for the skin and provides the basis for growth of new cells and blood vessels. As we age, our collagen support structure begins to weaken and skin loses its elasticity, causing it to gradually sag and fold. This may be further affected by the repetitive use of muscles in the face, which are used every time we smile, frown or squint.
Many of these aging effects can be reversed through collagen injections, which act just like the skin’s natural collagen and restore the skin’s support structure. Collagen can offer patients:
- Smoother skin
- Younger appearance
- Fewer lines and wrinkles
- Fuller lips
- Defined lip lines
- Improved appearance of scars
- Enhanced shallow contours
Collagen injections can be administered in your doctor’s office and usually take 30 to 60 minutes to perform. Your doctor may perform a skin test before treatment to determine any allergies to the substance, although most people do not experience any allergic reaction to collagen.
During the procedure, a small amount of local anesthesia may be injected to help numb the area and minimize pain from the collagen injection. The collagen is then injected into the targeted area as decided upon during a previous consultation with the doctor.
Although mild swelling and bruising may occur, there is usually no downtime after collagen injections, and patients are able to return to work and other normal activities immediately after treatment. Collagen treatments are often considered a “lunchtime” procedure, because it can often be completed in less than an hour.
After collagen injections, results are visible almost immediately, although minor swelling and bruising may occur for a short time. The results of collagen injections may vary depending on which product is used and the overall condition of your skin. Most patients see effective results from their treatment, but may seek further enhancement. Collagen injections can be combined with other procedures to achieve optimal, long-lasting results.
Like natural collagen, collagen injections are not immune to the effects of aging, and may continue to weaken and produce loose, wrinkled skin. The results of collagen injections may last two to four months, depending on the individual patient. It is often recommended that patients undergo two to four collagen treatments each year in order to maintain a youthful, restored appearance.
Collagen injections are FDA approved and are considered to be a safe treatment with minimal risks or complications. Although rare, some patients may experience infection, reactions to anesthesia, allergic reactions, swelling, bruising, itching and other mild side effects from this procedure. Scarring at the injection site may occur in some patients, although these scars usually fade with time. Collagen treatments are not recommended for pregnant women, or people with allergies or autoimmune diseases.