Collagen injections can be a natural approach to anti aging.  Collagen is a natural substance in skin, and when we are young this substance makes our skin feel smooth and helps with elasticity.  As we age, however, we have less of this chemical. Thus collagen injections have been used to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles of the face.  Some people use collagen lip injections to plump up their lips, though this is not an anti-aging treatment.

Collagen shots are a popular anti-aging treatment, so we cover it here with a Q&A.  These are some of the more common questions about collagen shots.  The answer in your specific case may be slightly different, and nothing here should take the place of consulting with your own healthcare provider before looking into collagen injections.  The following should provide a general idea and starting point however as you begin to look into this type of cosmetic procedure.

Collagen Injections Process

Collagen injections have been used for many years to help correct certain blemishes and imperfections, most notably:

  • Smile and laugh lines
  • Small wrinkles
  • Crow’s feet
  • Acne scars
  • Thin lips
  • Other imperfections that involve skin smoothness

Collagen is actually a blanket term that covers many different chemicals that naturally occur in the body.  Natural collagen production slows as we age, leading to wrinkling and sagginess and general loss of elasticity.  While collagen injections may not completely make up for these losses, they may help in very particular areas.

Types of Collagen Shots

There are two main types of collagen fillers used today.  The first is less expensive and while it is usually safe and effective, this type actually uses bovine-based ingredients.  Given that this chemistry is relatively foreign, there is a higher chance of side effects and some would say the effects wear off more quickly.  Human-based collagen fillers are more expensive, but they are derived from your own skin, harvested externally.  Synthetic, or at least bovine/synthetic mixes are also available, and some would say that they last almost as long as the human-based chemicals.

Collagen Shots Process

You should plan to be at the doctor’s office for about an hour when getting simple collagen treatment.  It could be less if you are covering a small area, and more if you are doing a lot.  It may also be longer your first time, or if you have any potential for side effects because the doctor may want to make sure everything is okay before you go home.  The doctor may also do a small injection first and watch for any side effects your first time, and in this case you’d have to come back a few days later.  That collagen shot is often done in an out of the way place.

Depending on the amount of collagen used or the number of injections, and perhaps also on your tolerance for pain, the doctor can give you a local anesthetic.  In fact, she or he can even add an anesthetic into your collagen shots themselves.

Directly After Collagen Injections

Directly after your collagen shots your face may be puffy and slightly bruised.  This goes away quickly for most people, and after that you should notice a difference.  We would suggest taking before and after pictures in the same position and same lighting.  You will likely be able to resume all of your normal activities right after collagen shots, though some people choose to take a day or two off if there is bruising or swelling.

Next Round of Collagen Shots

While your collagen shots might last up to 6 months, some people decide to get a touch up – smaller and fewer shots in areas where the effect has faded.

Collagen Injections side effects and cautions

If you are generally in good health and 60 years old or under you are a good candidate for collagen treatment, though you will respond better if your skin is still a bit tight.  Sometimes people enter this type of therapy with expectations that are unreasonably high – keep in mind that collagen injections will make your skin look one or two steps younger, so if you are starting with very deep wrinkles you may only see a slight, though noticeable improvement.

Even though your doctor will perform a short test to see whether you might have an adverse reaction to collagen injections, you might still experience side effects.  People can develop or respond to a previously unknown allergy to this substance, for example.  Those with sensitive skin might find that the area become red, swollen, or painful.  Other possible side effects include

  • Bacterial infection can occur if you do not take good care of the injection site
  • A reaction to the anesthesia
  • Allergic reaction to the collagen itself, especially if bovine collagen is used
  • Redness or bruising that is temporary
  • Mild Swelling
  • Itching of the area
  • Mild Scarring

Even if these side effects seem mild you should amke sure your doctor is well aware of them.  If any of these effects is more than mild, call his or her office immediately.

Collagen Injections Q&A

Q: How quickly will I be able to get back to normal activities after collagen injections?

A: After the first day, collagen injections recovery is all about tolerance for discomfort, and even that discomfort should fade fairly quickly.

Q: Can anything undo the effects of collagen shots?

A: If you choose collagen shots you will experience a small undoing as time goes on as the substance used spreads and dissipates.  This takes a while though, and for some people the mere addition of more substance is all they are after anyway.

Q: How about facial exercises instead of a collagen injection?

A: There are many exercises that are purported to provide a face lift or a general tightening of the facial skin.  However, these exercises only work when the area is merely lacking muscle tone.  They do not work to either spot reduce areas of fat or reduce wrinkles.

Q: How can I decide between laser therapy and fat treatment?

A: Laser therapy is better for a more global effect or for fixing a very specific Blemish.  Collagen injections are better for reducing wrinkles and fine lines.  Both can actually “wear off” with time.  Of course collagen injections are more expensive.

Q: How much will collagen injections cost?

A: It is hard to estimate the cost of any cosmetic procedure because every person and every surgery is unique.  However, as a ballpark figure, a collagen injection session will run between $500-1000.  Your cost may differ depending on what area of the country you live in, how extensive the procedure will be, and whether you have other health considerations.

Q: How painful are collagen shots?

A: There is a little pain involved with collagen injections, and afterwards there may be some discomfort, but generally this is a procedure that is reasonably easy to tolerate.

Q: How do I find the best provider for my collagen injections or butt implant?

A: Reputation and results are the main ways to find the best practitioner for your collagen injections. Word of mouth or reports from primary care MDs are a start.  Then finding out how happy actual patients of that provider have been with their own collagen injections will tell you the whole story.

Q: Do you “get what you pay for” with collagen injections?

A: This is a complicated question.  Oftentimes the cheapest provider is not the best provider.  Yet at other times the practitioner who charges the most is not necessarily better than others.  Our advice is to search for good providers without considering the cost, and then when you have all the information compare costs among those providers who pass the initial test.

Q: What are the steps toward recovery after a collagen treatment?

The recovery from collagen injections is actually quite simple. You may have periods of discomfort after your collagen injections, but in general there is not generally a painful or lengthy recovery.  How quickly you will be able to return to normal activities will depend on a variety of factors, from your pain tolerance, the extent of the procedure, and the type of activities in question.  Collagen injections or collagen injections are relatively simple, and so is the recovery!

Collagen Shots Overview

These are just a few of the more common questions about collagen injections and we hope you find them helpful if you are considering this type of cosmetic surgery.  Of course we cannot cover questions that may be unique to you or more specific than the above, and a consultation with a doctor is absolutely vital.  In some cases they can even show you computer generated before-and-after pictures, or at least the same type of visual from people who have similar surgeries as you.  Make sure you ask all the questions you need, and even repeat the above questions so you can get a specific answer about your own presentation.

The community at RealSelf does a great job answering whether collagen shots are worth it, and there are some before and after pictures as well.  Medicnenet also provides a well-rounded look at these treatments

If you find that there are questions that we did not cover above please let us know, and if you already asked those questions about collagen shots to a qualified provider and got an answer, feel free to provide it.  We aim to give as much information about collagen shots  as we can on this page and others, but at the same time we welcome suggestions for anything we overlooked about the process of collagen injections.

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