Allergan Inc., was issued approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 2003, for their collagen dermal filler products CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast. Both products are derived from human skin tissue, which is grown under carefully monitored laboratory conditions. CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast are injected into the dermis (lower layer of skin) to fill places in the skin, where the collagen has become thin, which creates facial wrinkles. CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast are the first dermal fillers, which do not require pre-testing for allergic reactions, therefore it can be a same-day, single-visit dermal filler.
How CosmoDerm And CosmoPlast Are Made
Collagen fibers, are like the fibers in material, which are woven together in order to provide a structure where new cells can grow. Collagen provides the texture and shape to skin, and due to aging, over-exposure to sunlight, disease, injury, lifestyle or heredity, the collagen in the skin diminishes, and thins. CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast are injections to fill the void or the thinning collagen levels in the skin, plumping it, and temporarily reducing wrinkles caused by the depleted collagen.
Human dermal fibroblasts, or cells in the lower layer of the skin (dermis), make collagen. These human cell cultures are grown in a controlled laboratory setting. As the cells grow, they will produce natural collagen used in CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast. When the cells growth is complete, the natural collagen grown, is separated from the tissue around it, tested for viruses, and purified to be used for injections.
What Areas Can be Treated?
CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast are both collagen fillers, which are used by injection, but CosmoDerm targets the fine wrinkles or scars that are not very deep within the skin. CosmoPlast is designed to treat the more pronounced, or deeper wrinkles or scars. Both products may be used simultaneously, if your doctor or plastic surgeon recommends this. Some common uses of these products are to treat:
- Frown lines located between the eyes
- Acne scars
- Cheek depressions
- “Smoker’s lines” above the mouth
- “Worry lines” across the forehead
- “Crow’s feet” around the sides of the eyes
- Smile lines
- Undefined lip borders
Am I a Good Candidate?
It is recommended that you be between the ages of 30-65, without any history of serious allergic, or anaphylactic reaction to lidocaine, a local anesthetic. Injections are also not suggested if you are pregnant, or breast-feeding. These products should also be used with caution, or not at all, if you have specific facial areas of inflammation (pimples, rash, hives), or you are taking blood thinning medications such as aspirin, or ibuprofen or prescribed blood thinners. Injections are not recommended for those with autoimmune diseases, or if you are taking prescribed drugs for the immune system.
The Injection Procedure
The collagen treatment involves three steps. The first step is consultation with your doctor in his or her office, or in a clinical setting. One size does not fit all with collagen injections, so ask questions. The doctor’s level of experience with the products, and examining pictures of injection results, are very important. Your doctor should ask you for a medical history, and any medications you are, or have been taking as well. If you need more time to consider treatment after discussing expectations and possible risks, schedule a second visit.
Step two is the actual injection administered. Your doctor may “score”or mark points on your face, indicating injection points. The injection point will be swabbed with antiseptic, and the injection will then be administered into the dermal, or second layer of skin, at the scored point. Cosmoderm and CosmoPlast both contain lidocaine as an anesthetic, so additional anesthetics are not necessary. A slight discomfort may be felt as the very thin needle penetrates the skin. The procedure takes approximately 15 minutes, the results are immediate, and there is usually no downtime.
You may experience puffiness, blushing or reddening, slight bruising and tenderness of the areas injected, but this should disappear in a few days. For the first 24 hours, there should be limited strenuous activity, and extensive sun or heat exposure, and any alcohol consumption should be avoided. If any redness or swelling is visible for more than a few days, your doctor should be contacted, because this may be a sign of a serious allergic reaction.
Step three is the follow-up, or periodic touch-up. Because these products last only 3-6 months, it will be necessary to have periodic injections. The collagen eventually becomes absorbed by the body, and your facial wrinkles will begin to appear once again. The average cost is from $300-600 per dose, but will also be affected by the doctor that you choose, the location, and how many injections will be required. The advantages of CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast are that because it is derived from human cells, there is no pre-testing for allergic tendencies required, which usually takes 28 days for results, meaning that injections can be done immediately.
Possible Risks And Complications
CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast are tested in its growing process, for viruses, and then are highly purified in a controlled laboratory, before marketing. This safety feature is conducted by Allergan, in order to produce the best results, without causing needless infection and negative reactions. There are however, risks involved with its use, and results depend primarily on the skill and knowledge of the doctor performing the injections.
It is possible for the injection needle to be placed accidentally through a blood vessel during injection. This could result in temporary discoloration of the treated area, or possibly tissue death, leading to a scab or scar forming. If the collagen is injected directly into the blood vessel, it could cause blockage of flow, and loss of circulation in surrounding areas, possibly resulting in permanent loss of vision, and/or local necrosis (tissue damage). This is rare, but has been observed in studies. The safety and effectiveness for collagen injections in lip augmentation has not yet been established.
CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast Reviews
The reviews are very mixed. Most reviewers liked the convenience of these products, and did not have any major side effects, but did not like the outcome of their injections. Eye injections remained puffy or baggy, and lip injections developed nodules that were in some cases very painful. From reading the reviews, it seemed as though it was more to do with the placement of the injections, rather than the product itself. It is crucial to do research beforehand, to find a doctor that specializes in dermal injections, and knows each products strengths and weaknesses. Too much of a good thing, is not always a good thing, and also placement of the injection is very important to the result achieved.
CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast seem to work for more superficial wrinkles, yet results depend on how the injections are administered. They are much less expensive than invasive cosmetic surgery, and seem to work better than the alternatives of laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, and light-based therapies. These injections are very similar to other dermal fillers, except that you will probably experience fewer side-effects resulting from allergic reactions. It is worth consulting with your doctor, to see if CosmoDerm and/or CosmoPlast will work for you.