Collagen and other injectable wrinkle fillers give skin a plumper, smoother appearance. Although collagen is the best known wrinkle filler, there are many other substances doctors can use to plump up your skin, including fat from your own body and synthetic materials. Take a look at how collagen and other injectable wrinkle fillers your doctor may recommend work.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a key part of your skin's structure. It forms a network of fibers within your skin that acts like a framework.
In young skin, the collagen framework is intact and the skin remains moisturized and elastic. Over time, the support structure weakens and the skin loses its elasticity. The skin begins to lose its tone as the collagen support wears down.
Using your facial muscles -- smiling, frowning, or squinting, for instance -- is part of expressing yourself. That's normal, but it does stress the collagen in your skin. Over time, that stress adds up and contributes to facial lines and wrinkles.
Can Collagen Creams Smooth Wrinkles?
Collagen creams work only on the skin surface and, like other moisturizers, mainly slow the rate of water loss from the skin and help keep the skin supple. A moisturizer with or without collagen cannot penetrate the skin and is not designed to be absorbed. No moisturizer can undo the effect of collagen loss and make wrinkles disappear.
How Do Collagen Injections Fight Wrinkles?
Collagen injections replenish the skin's natural collagen. By supplementing your skin's own collagen, injections help smooth facial lines and some types of scars. The natural beauty of your skin is enhanced as the contour of the support structure is restored.
Zyderm and Zyplast are collagen products. Made from cow skin, they are injected into the skin and replace the collagen your skin loses over time. .
CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast are lab-made human collagen products that are used like Zyderm and Zyplast. Other human-based collagen products include Autologen, Cymetra, and Fascian.
Are There Other Injectable Wrinkle Fillers?
Yes. They include:
- Botulinum toxin (Botox, Botox Cosmetic, Myobloc) is not an actual wrinkle filler. Rather, botulinum toxin is injected into facial muscles to immobilize the underlying cause of lines and wrinkles. Botulinum toxin may improve eyebrow furrows, crow's feet, and forehead creases.
- Calcium hydroxyapatite (Radiesse) is a semi-permanent wrinkle filler that's suspended in an aqueous gel and used to increase soft tissue.
- Fascia injections use a specific type of connective tissue harvested either from your own body or from a human donor that's died. This wrinkle filler can be implanted surgically or injected. The main drawback is that within a year of injection, your body will reabsorb the fascia.
- Fat from your own thighs or abdomen can be also be injected. There's no risk of allergic reaction, and most people achieve permanent results. Several injections may be required to get the most benefit.
- Hyaluronic acid (AcHyal, Captique, Dermalive, HylaForm, Juvederm, Perlane, Restylane, Rolifan) is a substance normally made by the body that gives your skin its volume and fullness. Hyaluronic acid injections fill the space between collagen and elastin fibers within the skin, which replenishes the natural volume lost with aging. There's no risk of infection, but you will need repeated treatments to maintain the result. Hyaluronic acid also attracts and binds water, which helps maintain fullness where it's injected. Some hyaluronic acid materials are thicker and can add significant volume and structure. Others are smoother and thinner and have the ability to flow more consistently. Juvederm may last longer, maintaining the appearance for up to 12 months with less tissue injury and inflammation.
- Poly-L-lactic acid (Sculptra) is injectable filler used to replace lost facial fat. This synthetic polymer has been used for many years in dissolvable stitches and bone screws.
- Polymethylmethacrylate beads (PMMA microspheres) are tiny round, smooth plastic particles. Your body doesn't absorb them. PMMA microspheres in natural sources are used to add volume. Synthetic PMMA microspheres collagen made from cows (ArteFill) are used to improve skin folds such as those around the nose and lips.