We are often asked about collagen by patients who want to know its role in the aging process. Over the years, as people lose collagen, hyaluronic acid, and other beneficial components from their skin, the expressions they make each day etch lines into their faces. While this might show the world how often they’ve smiled or enjoyed a good laugh, it might not be their ideal for expressing themselves.
Treat Lines, Wrinkles & Volume Loss with Fillers
Collagen's Role in the Skin
If you have firm, smooth skin, you can thank collagen for it. The protein works to support a variety of organs throughout the body, providing both structure and flexibility. The same component that helps to give bones their strength keeps your face looking youthful and healthy.
While everyone’s bodies generate collagen naturally, production of the vital protein begins to slow over time. UV radiation from sunlight and other factors can damage collagen, changing it from a pliant element in the skin to a brittle one. People in their 20s may find that their skin is beginning to show signs of wear as damaged collagen is replaced by new collagen at ever-slowing rates. Collagen production typically stops in a person’s 40s.
A reduction in healthy collagen creates two problems.
- Once-resilient skin now lacks the ability to fully smooth out again after being pushed into folds, leading to the formation of wrinkles. Think of skin full of healthy collagen as a soft cloth. If you push it into folds, then pull it flat again, it will look the same as it did before. Now, consider skin with lowered collagen levels to be a piece of paper. If you push it into folds, then pull it flat again, you will still be able to see lines where the folds happened. Repeated folds will eventually turn faint lines into creases.
- Areas of the face that once enjoyed a vital volume begin to flatten and sag, creating hollow areas that can make a face appear sunken or gaunt. This change due to collagen loss is especially apparent in the cheeks.
Hyaluronic Acid's Role in the Skin
Collagen isn’t the only component of healthy skin. Hyaluronic acid also serves to keep wrinkles at bay by ensuring the skin stays properly hydrated. Similar to collagen, the production of hyaluronic acid diminishes over time, so skin gradually loses its moisture-retaining abilities and dries out. The resulting wrinkles and other aesthetic issues can be hastened by sun damage and a lack of proper skin care.
Dermal fillers that contain hyaluronic acid can quite literally “fill” the skin to boost volume and smooth out lines, wrinkles, and folds. There has also been some research that demonstrates that the addition of hyaluronic acid through dermal fillers into the skin may also trigger an acceleration in the production of collagen.
What to Expect from Dermal Filler Treatment
Depending on your individual concerns, one or more of these dermal fillers may be used on specific parts of the face. The treatment protocol for dermal filler treatment can be discussed in detail during a consultation.
Typically, your injector will administer the first unit dermal filler, then wait to allow sensation in the rest of the treatment area to fade before proceeding with the remaining injections. Patients concerned about potential pain can also request a topical numbing agent to help reduce sensation in the targeted area.
Some slight massaging by your injector may ensure that the dermal filler is evenly distributed throughout the face to restore the appearance of natural collagen.
Results from dermal fillers are instantaneous. Patients will immediately see a difference in the treated areas. Most patients can return to their normal daily activities within 24 hours. Makeup can normally be used after a dermal filler session to cover up any bruising. Other temporary (between a few days to four weeks) side effects may include tenderness, firmness, swelling, bumps, lumps, and/or pain in the treated areas.
Some patients find that follow-up dermal filler treatments after their initial session help to better achieve the results they’re looking for, as well as for maintenance treatments to preserve them long-term.
How Long Do the Effects of Botox® Last?
Patients should begin to see a reduction in the appearance of their wrinkles within 24 to 48 hours of receiving their Botox® injection. Allergan, the cosmetic’s manufacturer, states that results can last up to four months, though some patients have reported enjoying its benefits for longer. Its exact duration depends on a variety of factors, but anyone who receives the injections can expect several months minimum of smoothed-out lines and a refreshed appearance.
As the effects fade and wrinkles gradually return, patients can discuss a new round of injections so that they can maintain their unlined look.
What Else Can Botox® Do?
As noted above, Botox® is effective at combatting hyperhidrosis in addition to serving as a popular cosmetic. The injectable is also routinely used by medical doctors in relieving neck pain from a condition known as cervical dystonia, managing migraine symptoms, controlling eyelid spasms, treating overactive bladders, and helping strabismus sufferers’ eyes to align.