A nicer smile. Fewer wrinkles. A more attractive nose. These are just a few of the benefits of collagen injections. These injections have been used for years, usually without any serious problems. But a small group of people have found there’s a price to pay for improved appearance. They may have an allergic reaction to some forms of collagen. There also can be side effects to collagen injections. Fortunately, there are safe alternatives.
According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, injected collagen can help smooth facial wrinkles or creases. It can fill in skin depressions. It may reduce scarring. Collagen also can be injected to provide fuller lips or reshape the nose. The injections may not work on small deep wrinkles, like smile lines around the lips.
Swelling, redness and bruising can occur after injections. These are usually minor, and fade after a few days. Makeup can cover most of these side effects. A small percentage of patients are allergic to collagen derived from cows. These people may have a more serious reaction, including severe swelling.
Test doses should be taken before a full collagen injection, to determine if you have an allergy to bovine collagen. If you do, there are other injectable substances, such as acid fillers, and collagen derived from human or pig sources. Lipotransfer, which involves harvesting your body’s own fat cells and injecting them for cosmetic effects, may serve your needs just as well as collagen injections.
Most side effects fade after a few hours or a few days. The time frame varies among individuals. The beneficial effects of collagen treatments may last from 3 months to a year.
The Food and Drug Administration warns that people who get collage injections have a higher risk for conditions known as inflammatory myopathies. This group of diseases destroys muscle, and can lead to weakness and pain. The FDA now requires a warning label on collagen products. Discuss this risk with a qualified cosmetic surgeon or other health professional when considering collagen injections.