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It is helpful to understand the basic construction of facial skin in order to appreciate the various facial cosmetic treatments, including Collagen implantation. The skin is made up of two principal layers; the outer layer is called the epidermis and the inner layer is the dermis. The inner layer supports the surface skin and gives it shape, tone and texture. This inner layer contains an important network of interwoven fibres consisting of a protein substance called collagen. In the young skin these fibres are firm and elastic, and the skin looks smooth and soft and has the necessary resilience to recover from the lines and wrinkles created by facial expressions. With ageing, these supportive fibres lose some elasticity and lines and wrinkles start to become a permanent feature. Ageing is genetically controlled, but other factors can influence formation of these lines - smoking, exposure to sunlight and the frequency of your facial expressions of smiling, frowning etc., and also infection and disease.

Injectable Collagen treatment is a simple technique for reducing, often eliminating, specific facial lines, wrinkles and acne scars. Frown lines, laughter lines, "crows feet" , creases on the top and bottom lips can all be improved significantly by collagen implantation. It is suitable for both men and women of any age who have individual lines and wrinkles which need treatment, and where the general condition of the skin remains elastic and firm. Acne scarring can also be improved providing eruptions have ceased.

Once injected into the skin, collagen becomes part of the naturally present surrounding collagen and does not migrate or translocate to other parts of the body. However, it is eventually metabolised by the body so collagen implantation is not permanent - it varies from person to person as to how long the effects last but a guide is upwards of nine months. It can be "topped-up" as required, say every nine months to a year. It is normally estimated that for every three ampoules of collagen required for the initial treatment, only one will be required for follow up treatment.

The surgeon injects natural collagen just beneath the skin into the dermis at the site of the line or wrinkle to be treated. After one or more treatments the line or wrinkle is filled and smoothed out so it is no longer noticeable. The treatment is performed on an outpatient basis. A sensitivity test is required initially to assess any reaction to the highly purified form of bovine collagen which is used. This test involves a minute quantity of the collagen being injected into the skin on the forearm, and this area being assessed by the surgeon twenty eight days later for any adverse reaction. Only about 3% of people (i.e. 3 in 100) are found to be sensitive to collagen. Some medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis make treatment by this method unsuitable. Each procedure takes about an hour. One or more treatments may be required, each about two weeks apart. Results are immediate and there are really no adverse after effects. Some people have been known to experience temporary itching or burning or reactions such as redness, bruising or swelling, despite a response-free skin test, but this is rare. Most patients find the injections themselves are relatively painless, as the collagen is combined with a local anaesthetic. Some do report mild discomfort. Make-up may be used twenty four hours after treatment. It is advisable to avoid direct sunlight for a few days after collagen injections. Post-operative care instructions given by the surgeon should be closely followed.

Finally, collagen is a natural substance and can be used without surgery to eliminate or improve specific facial lines, wrinkles and scars, and as such it adds a whole new dimension to skin care. It has helped over 300,000 men and women to look their best since its development over ten years ago.