As we age, we lose collagen in our skin, which causes it to become saggy and loose. There are many treatments designed to produce collagen stimulation in the skin. This can lead to an improvement in fine lines and wrinkles, volume loss and skin laxity. Some treatments are more invasive than others and some treatments work better than others do.
On the least invasive end of the scale are the topical treatments, like creams and serums. These will likely give you the subtlest improvements as well. Retinoic acid (tretinoin) is a great anti-aging cream that helps to produce collagen stimulation. It also helps to prevent the break down of elastin. Topical collagen creams do not generally work well. The collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed into the skin, so they essentially give you no benefit. The same can be said for ingested collagen, which does not reach the skin intact because it is broken down by the digestive system. Vitamins and antioxidants taken orally can give your body the building blocks it needs to make the collagen.
On the most invasive end would be the fractionated laser treatments (please refer to our previous blog “Benefits of Fractional Laser Treatment”). The lasers resurface the skin, producing collagen stimulation in the process. This can give amazing results, but does require some downtime *.
In between there is a myriad of treatments including radiofrequency, ultrasound treatments and injectables. RF treatments are generally somewhat painful and have limited results. Ultherapy is an ultrasound treatment, which is also somewhat painful (topical anesthesia and mild sedation are generally used). Results can last from one to three years *. After the procedure, you can have redness and some swelling for a few days. Sculptra is an injectable solution, which works to produce collagen stimulation. It is associated with some discomfort (like any injection), but it can be mixed with lidocaine to minimize the discomfort. A full course of Sculptra consists of 3 injection sessions, each 4-6 weeks apart. Sculptra will generally last for at least 2 years. As with any injection you can have some bruising.
With any treatment, there must be a discussion about realistic expectations. Any of these procedures will give you some improvement, but some work better than others do. Any collagen stimulation therapy will take a few months to reach full benefit (it takes a while to make the collagen). It is important to have a full examination and understanding of the risks and benefits of any medical procedure. If you would like to find out more about collagen stimulation therapies, we would be happy to see you in a complimentary consultation. You can Contact Us or call our office at 402-509-8473 to set up a time to come in and speak with one of our experienced physicians.Jennifer Tighe de Soto, MD is a cosmetic surgeon who is board certified through the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine. For more advice from Dr. de Soto on body sculpting and other aesthetic treatments please visit www.omahaliposuction.com where you can read her blog and see before and after photos of actual patients.