Most surgical procedures, such as chemical peels and laser resurfacing are meant to remove the outer layers of skin, forcing new collagen growth which eventually fills in the wrinkles. The opposite approach is to fill in the wrinkles with an injectable substance such as collagen or fat. This fills in the defects giving the skin a smoother appearance. The most common filler is bovine collagen.
Since there is a risk of allergic reactions, a skin test is required before its use. There are now bioengineered collagen products that are non-allergic and do not require a skin test, as well as synthetic fillers. Another choice is a transplant of your own collagen or even fat removed by a mini-liposuction procedure just before injection. Usually you will receive a local anesthetic and the collagen product will be injected directly under the surface of the skin. There may be some bruising or swelling in the treated areas, as well as some residual discomfort.
However, it is short lived and you will be able to appear in public in a day or so. The collagen injection restores the skin's natural collagen and you skin will look younger as it fills out. Just like your own natural collagen, injected collagen will eventually start to break down and need to be replaced.
You might have to repeat the treatment several times a year. However, injected fat tends to last a lot longer and the results may be permanent, especially if it was injected into other areas in the face containing fat. Fortunately, in the realm of antiaging cosmetic procedures, collagen and fat injections are not overly expensive, so the cost of maintaining your new look will be affordable. According to a report issued by the Harvard Medical School, a new product is being developed that is designed to produce new collagen as needed. Called Isolagen, it uses a sample of your own skin to clone fibroblasts, the cells that produce collagen.
Since this is a new procedure, its long term effects are still unknown. If it works as designed, new collagen will be continually produced, reducing or even eliminating the need for further treatments. Anyone who watches movies or TV knows the results of overdoing these types of procedures. Many famous actresses wound up with lips reminiscent of Bozo the Clown from overzealous collagen injections. Make sure you use a doctor experienced in this procedure and be frank with him on the results you expect to receive. When properly done the results should be undetectable and natural looking, giving you another weapon against wrinkles and creases in your face.
This article is for informational purposes only. It does not purport to offer medical advice. Consult a qualified physician if you are interested in any of these procedures.
Jean Bowler was a ballet dancer and instructor, a teacher, a personal trainer and a cosmetics consultant. She is editor of Ageless Beauty