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Do you want to grow old gracefully or glamorously? Lying about your age won’t cover up your scars and wrinkles, but collagen treatments can even out your skin for a smoother, more youthful appearance.
Collagen is a natural protein that forms a large part of the fabric of your skin, muscles and bones – it’s like the raw cotton that goes into a pair of jeans. With wear and tear, the collagen underlying your skin can break down, meaning that your skin is not properly supported and begins to wrinkle. Collagen treatments work a bit like ironing on a knee-patch – injecting more collagen directly into the damaged area to plump up dips in the skin and even out the surface.
Unfortunately, collagen is not the elixir of eternal youth; the treatments are only temporary, lasting from as little as two months up to a year.
There are two types of collagen treatment – Zyderm and Zyplast. Which one you need could depend on how many years you have to hide; Zyderm is designed for finer lines or shallow scarring and Zyplast is for deeper scars, furrows and wrinkles in mobile areas such as around your mouth.
Before anyone starts probing your crevasses and crow's feet, you’ll have a detailed consultation to discuss what you want from the treatment, your medical history and any known allergies. There is a standard sensitivity test, which involves two injections over a four-week period. On average, two percent of people treated have an allergic reaction. If you are allergic, you could find you get red, tender lumps in the treated area, which have been known to leave scars. Collagen treatments have also been associated with autoimmune disease, though there is no conclusive evidence to support the link.
The treatment itself can take as little as a few minutes and because the injections contain local anaesthetic they are relatively painless. There is also virtually no recovery time. You can carry on as normal immediately after your treatment, though you might find you get a slight bruising around the treated area.
Collagen in humans is very similar to collagen found in certain animals. In fact, animal collagen has been used in sutures for over a century and heart valves used in modern surgery are made of collagen too.