Does Collagen Really Work?

Article Details
  • Written By: Britt Archer
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 December 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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Collagen is a naturally occurring protein of the human body, and there are 27 different types that, over time, can begin to deteriorate and cause the skin to wrinkle. The various types differ from each other only slightly in chemical composition, based upon the part of the body in which they are located. The main reason cited for seeking collagen treatment is cosmetic — people wish to reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging. Collagen can also be used to plump up certain areas of the body such as the lips or cheeks. Injections with this protein are considered cosmetic in nature and very few insurance providers will cover them unless there is an underlying health reason to do so.


Costs for collagen treatments are relatively low compared to other types of cosmetic surgeries. Treatments are touted as being quick and relatively painless, taking between a half hour and an hour to complete in an outpatient procedure performed by a licensed cosmetic surgeon. Collagen of human or bovine origin is injected into the problem site and restores the natural suppleness of the skin by creating a pocket of the protein beneath the skin, effectively filling in any wrinkles or areas of deflated appearance. Collagen treatments are not without their risks, however, and collagen will continue to break down over time, making it very likely that a person who seeks treatment will need to do so again. This does not mean that the treatments aren't effective, just that they are of a temporary nature.

The benefits of this type of treatment may not be immediately apparent. The human body needs several days to adapt to the injections and assimilate with the proteins. Many people begin to see the results of the procedure between two and four days later, around the time that any bruising, tenderness or pain begins to subside. It is also around this time that people will be able to see any problems related to the procedure. Should any problem occur, it is best to seek advice from a medical professional.

The risks of this procedure are minimal if performed correctly by a licensed cosmetic medical professional. Common side effects include uneven skin tone, allergic reaction to cow-derived injection material and bruising around the injection site. Slightly more rare, but also possible, are bacterial infections, scarring, reaction to local anesthetics used to numb the area, abscesses and open sores. The ideal candidate for treatment with collagen is between the age of 35 and 60, although it can vary depending upon the individual and the natural elasticity of a person's skin. People with prior health conditions, as well as women who are pregnant or nursing, should speak to their doctors before seeking cosmetic surgical treatment.



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