Collagen is a protein that makes up skin, bone, and cartilage in the body. As a person ages, the body's collagen supply decreases and changes in form, causing skin to become less firm and to lose its elasticity. Many people, particularly women, chose to undergo a collagen filler treatment in order to try to reverse the signs of aging and to make skin appear younger. Generally, the term "collagen filler" refers to an injectable procedure in which a collagen substance is injected directly beneath the skin. In order to choose the best collagen filler, you will need to consult with a dermatologist or physician to determine the type of collagen that is recommended and that is most compatible with your body.
The quality and quantity of collagen in your body is what determines the condition of your skin. Collagen breaks down with age, as well as with exposure to sun and to lifestyle choices like smoking. It is this break down that leads to wrinkles, furrows, and sagging skin.
The collagen used as a filler can come from various sources. Cow, or bovine, skin is one of the more common sources; pig, or porcine, skin is another. The collagen can also come from a patient's own skin or from that of a deceased donor. It is also possible for collagen to be synthetically produced in a laboratory.
The prices can vary depending on the collagen source, with that produced from your own skin usually being the most expensive. That taken from donors is usually a little less expensive, and collagen from animal sources often costs the least. How much money you can afford to spend may, therefore, influence your decision about the best collagen filler for you.
All of these methods are thought to be safe, but if you have allergies, it may influence your choice. Patients must be tested for allergies prior to injection of animal-derived collagen or that which comes from another donor source. There is a higher risk of allergy with collagen that comes from a deceased donor or from an animal source. Collagen grown in a laboratory does not require testing, nor does that from a patient's own body.
The results of any collagen filler, regardless of type, is only temporary. Most last only about six months. The collagen is reabsorbed into the skin over time, and the effects fade.
As with any medical procedure, possible health risks may be associated with collagen injection. The material could be rejected by the patient's body or infection could occur. Patients can anticipate some redness and swelling, but it should subside within 24 hours.
If you are considering injection with a collagen filler, you should do some research. It is important to consult a physician trained in such procedures and to feel comfortable with the information received. Getting a second, or even a third, opinion may be a good idea.