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What Replaced Collagen Fillers?

Why did the once-popular collagen fade out?

dermal fillers

Today, dermal fillers are a great way to give your skin a little lift, however, it wasn’t too long ago that men and women were turning to collagen in order to accomplish this. Collagen is a structural protein that’s found in connective tissues and used to “plump up” the skin from below the surface. While it worked well for years, it only lasted a maximum of four months; once aestheticians began discovering longer-lasting options, collagen was phased out and new fillers were introduced.

So what exactly replaced the ever-so-popular collagen? At Medical Cosmetics, we use one of four fillers to help you correct lines, wrinkles, areas of depression, and regions of volume loss in the face:

Calcium Hydroxylapetite

Also known as Radiesse, this naturally occurring mineral that can be found in various areas of the body. When used as a filler, it can not only lift your skin, but it can also cause a secondary stimulating effect that results in a long-term skin thickening improvement. Because of this, we commonly use Radiesse for cheek bones, cheeks, temples, noses, and chins (but not for the lips or the region between the eyebrows). On average and under ideal circumstances, Radiesse can last anywhere from 10-12 months, making it unnecessary for frequent treatments.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan that can be found in the body’s connective tissues. As a filler, hyaluronic acid goes by many different product names, including Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm Ultra, Juvederm Ultra Plus, Juvederm Voluma, and Belotero.   These products are highly popular because they last much longer than regular collagen (around 6-12 months for most and up to two years for Juvederm Voluma). They can also be molded while they’re underneath your skin and can even be dissolved after they’ve been injected. Many people find this “reversible” effect advantageous.

Poly-L-Lactic-Acid (PLLA)

If you’ve ever heard of Sculptra, then you’ve heard of PLLA as a filler. This biodegradable thermoplastic can be found in a variety of renewable resources and is a common treatment for skin that is thin or has lost its elasticity. Because it’s biodegradable, it gets absorbed by the body over time and works to replace lost collagen. Once injected, it can last over two years and can be “boosted” every one to three years after that to remain effective.


Perhaps the most natural way to administer a dermal filler is by using the body’s own fat. While the use of fat isn’t a new concept, it’s not as popular as it once was. One of the biggest advantages of using fat as a filler is the possibility of it becoming a lasting filler. Because your body is already used to it, there’s a good chance that it can become a permanent part of its new location. However, it’s difficult to predict the percentage of fat that will survive the process of relocating. The percentage can vary from between 20-80%, making some people hesitant to choose the treatment.

If you’re interested in reducing your fine lines and wrinkles and giving your face that youthful glow, contact us today to learn more about our dermal fillers.