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When it comes to beauty, and especially skin beauty, two substances in particular are the most frequently mentioned, collagen and hyaluronic acid, which, not surprisingly, are the most widely used ones among the most diverse cosmetic products but also food supplements.

In the various formulations on the market, they are very often used in synergy to enhance each other’s effects.

Creams, serums and supplements are not the only ways one can exploit the benefits of collagen and hyaluronic acid.

If you want to smooth out wrinkles, redefine facial volumes or correct imperfections that compromise self-esteem, you may wish to undergo treatments that guarantee more immediate, visible and lasting results: fillers, meaning ‘filling’ substances that are injected through very fine needles by doctors specialised in aesthetic medicine.

This calls for the fundamental choice of the injectant to be used.

Biological (or reabsorbable) fillers are preferable to permanent ones because they are safer, less prone to side effects and if the result is not exactly as desired, they allow you to go back to the way you were before and to intervene again.

Collagen and hyaluronic acid fillers are among the resorbable ones. However, which one should you choose?

In this article we will try to answer the question collagen or hyaluronic acid? comprehensively.

In particular, we will look at the following:

What is collagen used for?

Collagen is a main protein present in connective tissue, naturally produced by the body.

Like hyaluronic acid, it derives from fibroblasts in the dermis meaning small cells that produce valuable substances for the skin.

Its role is to give structure, to support bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments and also the skin.

In particular, as far as the skin is concerned, collagen provides tone, elasticity and firmness to it.

With the physiological ageing process, the body’s production of collagen decreases and the molecules already present degrade faster with advancing age.

The consequence is that the skin loses firmness and tone, thus wrinkles appear.

Already from the age of thirty, but especially after fifty, one must handle the problem of how to contrast facial wrinkles.

What is hyaluronic acid used for?

Hyaluronic acid is another key element that bestows youthfulness to connective tissues.

Like collagen, hyaluronic acid is also produced by fibroblasts and it is naturally present in the body.

The difference between collagen and hyaluronic acid is that, while the former is a protein, hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide (meaning a carbohydrate) found, in particular, in the dermis, the synovial fluid of the knee and the vitreous body of the eye.

Not surprisingly, the characteristics and properties of hyaluronic acid make it widely used not only in aesthetic medicine but also in the orthopaedics and ophthalmology fields.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) leads to the tissue’s ability to bind and retain water.

Hyaluronic acid is the supporting structure of our connective tissues. It keeps the skin hydrated, elastic and firm.

In addition, HA also stimulates fibroblasts to increase the production of collagen, which is a key protein for skin structure, thus acting on two fronts.

In the case of hyaluronic acid, too, there is a decrease in its concentration in the body with advancing age.

We notice this because skin tissues begin to sag. The skin, thus, gradually loses its elasticity and radiance.

Wrinkles appear on the face, the eye contour becomes duller and more wrinkled and it may worsen the problem of thin lips.

Both hyaluronic acid and collagen are often present in dermocosmetic products and supplements.

Things are different, however, when it comes to choosing between collagen fillers or hyaluronic acid fillers. It is fundamental to bear in mind that, in both cases, one should only refer to doctors specialised in aesthetic medicine.

Filler: the difference between collagen and hyaluronic acid

As stated, and as the term suggests, fillers are substances injected into the dermis through very fine needles. The goal is to fill in areas of the face that have emptied out due to age (e.g. wrinkles or the loss of natural volumes) or are genetically unfilled (such as lips and cheekbones).

So let’s see how to choose between collagen or hyaluronic acid.

What is collagen good for?

Collagen injections are used in aesthetic medicine for:

  • Smoothing out wrinkles
  • Giving volume and reshaping thin lips 
  • Coping with the loss of facial volume
  • Correcting a scars (e.g. caused by acne, but not only).

There are two main types of injectable collagen:

1. Bovine collagen

The first to be used as a filler. Although it is similar to a human filler, is not perfectly equal to it.

This means that this type of filler may cause allergic reactions and side effects.

For this reason, before performing the filling operation, the physician will perform a preliminary intradermal test, injecting a small amount of collagen into the forearm to monitor the reaction over 24-72 hours. If the skin does not show any allergic reactions, the same test will be repeated on the other forearm.

The filler will only be injected into the patient’s face if no side effects occur in either test. Otherwise, the treatment cannot be carried out.

2. Human collagen

This type of collagen is obtained in the lab from human dermis cells and is certainly safer than previous one.

Despite the fact that human collagen fillers are newer and safer, the use of this type of treatment is less and less frequent.

Both because of the risk of side effects and because many dermatologists claim that, once injected, collagen does not organise itself in the same way as that produced naturally by our cells, but merely acts by restoring tissue density.

What is hyaluronic acid good for?

At this time, HA is the most widely used molecule as a filler in aesthetic medicine, not only because of its high tolerability, but also because it allows natural results to be achieved. This allows the patients to look their best at their age without distorting their features.

Let’s review which are the effects ofhyaluronic acid on the face:

  1. Deeply moisturises the skin.
  2. It eliminates free radicals responsible for skin ageing and prevents the appearance of wrinkles.
  3. It stimulates fibroblasts to increase collagen production.
  4. It restores volume to the skin, making even the most mature skin supple and turgid.
  5. Promotes the regeneration and natural freshness of the skin.
  6. It fills and smooths out even the deepest wrinkles.
  7. It allows thin lips to be plumped up without creating an unsightly ‘balloon effect’.
  8. Corrects puffiness and sunken eyes.
  9. Allows correcting the nose with a hump.

Instead of resorting to surgery and invasive treatments, the skin’s natural beauty can be restored through hyaluronic acid injections.

HA regenerates the dermis structure components, visibly improving its hydration and elasticity, with natural and long-lasting results (up to 12 months depending on the type of treatment used and individual reaction).

Furthermore, the best hyaluronic acid fillers, such as those produced by Foliage by Phitogen, are not animal-derived but obtained through a bacterial biofermentation process free from the risk of contamination by antigenic proteins and residual solvents.

The result is an ultra-pure molecule of superior quality, biocompatible and resorbable, with reduced allergenic risk. This ensures a natural and long-lasting anti-ageing effect.

Collagen or hyaluronic acid: which one to choose?

We have seen the characteristics, application possibilities and safety level of collagen and hyaluronic acid.

Thus, what to choose between collagen or hyaluronic acid?

From our analysis and from what emerges from the most current trends in aesthetic medicine, hyaluronic acid undoubtedly proves to be the best solution if one wants to use fillers that can effectively correct aesthetic problems of the face and that can guarantee immediate, natural and long lasting results.

However, it is important to remember that hyaluronic acid fillers are not all the same.

Therefore, before undergoing a treatment, it is essential to find out about the type of product that will be injected and the company that manufactures it, so as to be certain that the doctor uses only the best hyaluronic acid.

Only in this case can one be guaranteed that there will be no undesirable effects (except absolutely transient and minor ones that will tend to disappear within a few days). This will also ensure that the result will be immediately visible and long-lasting, to improve one’s appearance in a natural way and to feel better about oneself without undermining one’s uniqueness with standardised beauty.

Foliage is the result of 20 years' experience of Phitogen Beauty Labs - a leading group in the production of hyaluronic acid-based injectables. Foliage distributes a complete range of high-performing intradermal products.

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