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What Is Collagen Replacement?

A pot of collagen cream.
A diagram of younger and older skin showing the decrease in collagen in older skin. Many collagen-based products are designed to replace or boost the production of this protein.
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  • Written By: Nadia Miller
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2014
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Collagen replacement is a medical treatment that can help reduce or eliminate the appearance of fine lines and scars in the face. The treatment is a non-surgical way to replace some of the skin's naturally occurring collagen that breaks down with age. Reintroducing collagen into the skin comes in numerous forms with varying results. Understanding the layers of skin and how they work in the body can be helpful in the research of collagen replacement.

The top layer of skin is called the epidermis, which is comprised of cells, water, and tissue that regulate the amount of hydration in the body. Collagen is found in the second layer of the skin called the dermis. Along with blood vessels and muscles, collagen, a protein, makes up the majority of the dermis. As skin ages, the natural collagen begins to break down and get absorbed, thereby resulting in wrinkles and fine lines.

There are several types of collagen available to treat aging skin. Collagen creams are a topical ointment that can restore water to the top layer of the skin. This gives a softer and suppler appearance to the face, but won't solve the problem of lines or scars.

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Collagen capsules are also a form of collagen replacement therapy. These pills are a natural supplement that claims to increase the collagen in the body. While they may be a healthy dietary supplement, it is impossible to target a specific part of the body with this type of treatment. An overall improvement of the skin may be a result of collagen capsules.

To eliminate or reduce the appearance of fine lines or scars in the face, many people turn to targeted collagen replacement. The process involves the injection of collagen directly into the lower layer of the problem areas of the skin. These injections are set up on a maintenance schedule. While the results are instant, they aren't permanent. In order to maintain the results, the treatment will have to be repeated within six months to a year.

The process of collagen replacement generally involves a consultation with a trained doctor. Medical history typically will be discussed to help rule out any adverse affects of the treatment. A skin test may also be performed to rule out an allergic reaction. Only 3 percent of people are allergic to the treatment. In addition to allergies, some medical conditions could exclude a candidate from collagen replacement.

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