Collagen is a long, fibrous structural protein that makes up the extracellular matrix that supports most tissues and gives cells their external structure.  It's also found inside certain cells, also helping to support and bolster structure.  Collagen is a strong material and makes up parts like ligaments, tendons, and is even a part of our bones and teeth. It works with keratin to give skin it's strength and elasticity, which is what diminishes with aging.  At a molecular level, skin that has aged is characterized by the presence of abnormal, fragmented collagen fibers and diminished total collagen content.  Aside from chronological aging, solar ultraviolet irradiation is also known to reduce the production of new collagen and can cause additional breakdown of collagen in the extracellular matrix.  This is what causes the appearance of wrinkles.

The depth and frequency of wrinkles in correlated with the amount of aging and the level of damage sustained by the skin due to environmental factors like the sun.  Youthful skin tends to be taut, 'filled out', and has a higher level of elasticity than aged skin.  The purpose of using collagen as part of an anti-aging skin care system is to restore the level of new collagen in the skin to regain elasticity and reduce wrinkles and lines.

Collagen injections are designed to plump up the skin, diminishing wrinkles.  These injections deliver collagen directly to the bottom layers of the skin that are primarily composed of collagen.  When injected into areas where the collagen has broken down, it will help provide structural support for the skin, which translates in skin that looks fuller on the outside.Creams, lotions, gels, serums, masks, and other anti-aging skin care products that contain collagen are intended to apply the collagen topically to the skin, allowing the skin to use and absorb what it might.

Quality products that contain collagen tend to be effective in reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles - at least in the short term.  Some products and injection treatments use different types of fillers, or synthetic fillers.  Collagen injections can change the appearance of skin for a longer period of time since it is being delivered into the bottom layers of the skin.  In most cases, continued treatments are necessary to maintain the fullness or plumpness originally achieved.  And, just as it can help correct and restore areas where wrinkles have formed, it can also potentially help diminish scars. 


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