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What are Collagen Fillers Used For? Types and Side Effects

Jan 11, 2018

What are collagen fillers?

Collagen is a type of protein found abundantly in the human body. It exists with diverse levels of mechanical strength to provide structure and shape to various organs. Skin is supple to touch, all thanks to the vast network of collagen fibres interconnected with each other to form a firm skin structure. In the beauty industry, collagen is a permanent fixture, as it helps to turn back time on aging skin. Soft tissue fillers made from collagen replenish lost or damaged collagen. Usually, collagen fillers are made from bovine sources or human cells for best performance. Their excellent bioresorbability makes them to have short residence time, with effects lasting between an average of 3 to 4 months.

What are collagen fillers used for?

Like most dermal fillers, collagen implants are used to correct facial imperfections (e.g. scars, wrinkles, and creases) and define and enhance facial contours and features. All in all, with appropriate treatment, skin looks plumper, smoother and resplendent.

How do these fillers work?

Most often than not, skin depressions like pitted acne scars, wrinkles, and lines happen when the skin collapses in areas where collagen fibres are weakest. This usually occurs as a result of biological aging exacerbated by external aggressors. Aging collagen fibres are further weakened by free radical attacks contributed by extensive sun exposure, smoking, pollution, and poor lifestyle. Furthermore, habitual facial expressions like smiling and pouting put more stress on weak collagen fibres and contribute to forming skin depressions. Over time, the skin structure loses its firm network of fibres, which renders very pronounced skin imperfections. Collagen fillers then function by replenishing any lost or damaged naturally-existing collagen. The filler gel acts as a substitute scaffold for the skin structure via filling and lifting actions. Lines and wrinkles are then erased delicately, while facial features like the lips and cheekbones are defined for an overall polished look.

What are the side effects?

An aesthetic filler treatment carries a risk of undesirable side effects. A common risk faced by patients undergoing minimally invasive filler injections is infection. Hence, it is extremely important to carry out the procedure under strict aseptic standards. As for side effects, some usual side effects are localized inflammatory responses such as:

Common side effects:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Itchiness

These reactions develop as the skin is repairing itself from minor trauma of getting injected. Inflammatory reactions tend to clear up within a couple of days or weeks, depending on the severity. Injections from inexpert hands might result in poor filling effects, unsightly discolouration and lumps. On the other hand, patients might even exhibit adverse reactions.

Severe side effects:

  • Infections
  • Abscess (Pus)
  • Necrosis (Tissue death)
  • Allergic reactions (swollen oral cavity, difficulty breathing and swallowing, nausea, headache, fever, body aches)

Those reactions require medical attention. Explain these possibilities in detail to your patients for quick symptom identification and treatment.