Comparison of Collagen & Botox
Aging of the skin is a gradual process that begins in the mid-20s, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It involves decreased production of collagen, a major protein that makes up 80 percent of the bulk of the skin. The skin also becomes less elastic with age, and production of new skin cells slows. These changes make the skin thinner and more transparent. Fine wrinkles appear and the skin begins to sag over the underlying bones. Some external factors such as poor nutrition or exposure to the sun can speed the process of skin aging.
Cosmetic Injections for Wrinkles
One of the ways to minimize wrinkles or furrows in aging skin is to inject the area with a substance that fills out the skin and minimizes wrinkles, or to inject Botox, a drug that can also smooth wrinkles. All of the injectable fillers including collagen are considered medical devices. They have been evaluated and approved by the Food and Drug Administration for certain uses such as correcting moderate to severe wrinkles. Like all drugs, Botox has also been studied extensively by the FDA, and its use on the face is only approved for treating wrinkles between the eyebrows.
The goal of collagen injections is to rebuild the skin's supply of natural collagen, filling out furrows in the skin and minimizing wrinkles. Several types of collagen are available for use as injectable fillers, according to The Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery. Some are made from human collagen and others contain bovine collagen. Collagen injections are usually done in a doctor's office with local anesthesia. The doctor makes several injections with a small needle, usually taking no more than one hour. Recovery is rapid, and swelling disappears in about one week. Results appear quickly and the effect may last for two to three months.
Possible Complications From Collagen
Serious complications from collagen injections are rare. However, according to the FDA, there is a risk of infection, allergic reaction to the collagen or raised bumps on the skin. Most side effects appear a short time after the injection and usually subside within one week. People who have a known allergy to cow collagen, eggs or the local anesthetic lidocaine should avoid these injections, as should anyone with a bleeding disorder or an active infection of the skin.
In addition to skin aging, contraction of the muscles under the skin may also contribute to wrinkles and skin furrows. Botox is a drug that blocks the release of a neurotransmitter by nerves in these muscles and paralyzes them, stopping their contractions. Botox usually reduces wrinkles by about 80 percent, according to the Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery. It is injected into areas of crow's feet, frown lines or furrows on the forehead. The injection is done in the doctor's office after the skin is numbed with a cream. The procedure is quick, the result is obvious within one week and the effect usually lasts three to five months.
Possible Complications From Botox
Botox injections sometimes cause headache, nausea, flu-like symptoms or irritation of the injection sites. Occasionally, muscle weakness or eyelid drooping occurs, but this usually resolves within days. The FDA warns of rare but possible serious complications if the Botox spreads too far from the injection site. However, it indicates that these complications have only occurred when Botox was used for non-cosmetic reasons and states that cosmetic use of Botox is generally safe.
Finding a Doctor
The Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery recommends that you always review a dermatologist's or plastic surgeon's credentials before deciding on a procedure. You should also request information about the type of filler or the Botox to be injected, and ask to see before and after photos of previous patients. You should discuss risks and possible complications with the doctor and ask for an estimate of the number of injections needed and the length of the procedure.
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