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Collagen injections

A popular cosmetic treatment for many years, collagen fillers are being phased out in favor of hyaluronic acid fillers.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: June 26, 2012

Collagen is a natural protein that makes up 80% of the skin. Collagen keeps the cells hydrated and provides overall structural support. But with age, collagen production decreases. Collagen was the original filler in cosmetic dermatology, introduced as a way to restore the volume and firmness lost to age. But collagen injections are slowly being replaced by newer, more versatile, and longer lasting fillers, many which are made from hyaluronic acid.

There are two main forms of collagen injections. The first of its kind, bovine collagen, was introduced and approved by the FDA as a cosmetic product in 1982 and is derived from purified cow skin. The other option: collagen implants grown in a lab using human skin cells.

Until 2011, bovine collagen was used in products like Zyderm and Zyplast and lab-grown human cells were used in CosmoPlast and CosmoDerm. In early 2010, Allergan, the manufacturer of all four of these products, announced that at year's end, they would stop distributing all four of their collagen-based injections -- CosmoDerm, CosmoPlast, Zyderm, and Zyplast. If your practitioner still offers Zyderm, Zyplast, CosmoDerm, or CosmoPlast, it's probably old stock.

What It's Good For

Collagen injections can target facial lines along the forehead, mouth, and chin caused by frowning, squinting, scowling, worrying, speaking and aging. Collagen injections are also used for lip augmentation, cheek lifts, and to refill acne scar pitting.

Recommended Uses
Name Description Cost
Thinning lips Collagen is a natural protein found in the body. Collagen, like fat, tends to partially disappear immediately after injection. Up to 50 percent of the collagen will be reabsorbed into the...more One syringe of bovine collagen ranges from $300 to $500, while human collagen ranges from...more

Who it works for: If your wrinkles are caused by a loss of collagen due to age, then these injections may return what's rightfully yours.

Recommended age range: Collagen injections are best for people between 35 and 60.

When will I see results?: Final results should be evident within a week of your collagen injections, though you will see immediate results.

How long it lasts: Collagen injections can last two to six months.

Key benefits of collagen injections: Human collagen injections are better for people with food allergies. They are less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

Licensed uses: Bovine-based Zyderm I is approved for treating fine lines and shallow acne scars. Zyderm II and Zyplast may be used for moderate lines, deep acne scars, and deep dermal folds. Human skin-based CosmoDerm I can treat superficial wrinkles and shallow scars, and plump lips, while CosmoDerm II can treat pitted acne scars and crow's feet. CosmoPlast can also redefine the outline of your upper lip (vermilion border), raise the corners of your mouth, and correct nasal deformities, like a drooping tip.

Who's Done It?

Joanna Lumley of Absolutely Fabulous is an admitted user of collagen injections. Pouty starlet Megan Fox is widely rumored to be a fan as well.

Find experts who offer collagen injections near you