Collagen is an important protein in your body that strengthens tissues and organs. Although it comprises almost 80 percent of your skin, the collagen can break down as you age, a process increased by excessive sun exposure [source: Zelickson].
As you age, a lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles and visible signs of distress for skin. The best method to prevent collagen from breaking down is to avoid sun exposure and use a high SPF sunscreen [source: Bernstein]. However, for people who already have sun-aged skin, wrinkles or thinning lips, collagen injections may be the answer. Compared with a facelift or more invasive surgical procedures, collagen injections require minimal time away from daily activities. But the effects of collagen-based fillers can wear off after three to six months, making it a procedure that patients may need to repeat throughout the year to maintain the skin's smooth appearance. This is especially true for softer fillers, which are popular lip-injection products. [source: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery].
Collagen and other injectable fillers plump and smooth the skin's appearance. A variety of products, including human, bovine (cow) and porcine (pig) collagen, as well as and synthetic substances, are available for people interested in collagen injections. Most collagens are biodegradable, naturally breaking down after several months, but other collagens are intended as a permanent fix. Collagen injections are commonly used on facial wrinkles, especially those between the nose and mouth. The procedure also can be used to fill hollow cheeks, repair facial imperfections, improve scarring and minimize deep folds [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
Collagen injections are fairly common cosmetic procedures. Read on to learn about the benefits of collagen injections and to find out if they're right for you.