Is It Really Bye Bye Collagen?

Lorna Jackson
By Lorna Jackson

Lorna was Editor of Consulting Room (, the UK's largest aesthetic information website, from 2003 to 2021.

Allergan, which took over Inamed Aesthetics in 2006 and acquired their human-derived collagen dermal filler products - CosmoDerm® and CosmoPlast® and their bovine-derived products - Zyderm® and Zyplast®, has announced that it will be discontinuing them at the end of 2010.

The company, according to its Manager of Corporate Communications, Kelly Lao, had already halted production of the products in 2009 but had manufactured sufficient inventory to meet the estimated market demand which remained for these collagen fillers through to the end of this year.

Add to this the announcement from Johnson & Johnson a year ago, in November 2009 that it would be discontinuing the porcine collagen product, Evolence® that it had recently acquired from Colbar Life Sciences and it seems that collagen has finally lost its popularity in the filler market.

So does this really spell the death knell for collagen? With no products currently available to practitioners from 2011, it would seem so.

The real use of injectable cosmetic treatments started with the launch of collagen injections in the U.S. in the 1980s, the era of Dynasty and Dallas and big shoulder pads!

These quickly found acceptance amongst mainstream practitioners as a treatment for lines and wrinkles or scars and to produce the famed “Paris Lip” effect.

In fact, collagen injections could probably be credited with kicking off the so-called “lunchtime treatment” boom where people could have a cosmetic procedure and return to work the same day.

what is collagen?

Times move on and the hyaluronic acids were the new kids on the block. With no requirement for pre-testing in case of allergic reactions, the HA’s offered a somewhat more natural, non-animal alternative (i.e. collagen derived from cows versus HA derived from bacterial fermentation) which many patients and practitioners alike preferred the sound of. The other attraction of HA’s of course is that they can be easily reversed if the practitioner incorrectly places the product as the hyaluronic acid can be dissolved with the use of hyaluronidase – a Godsend for some!

Founding member of the British Association of Cosmetic Nurses, Liz Bardolph RGN said;

“Collagen was a great product and was the gold standard for years – it was like injecting liquid gold. Not all patients like or can tolerate the HA’s and for this group, it was reassuring to have a product that was a tried and tested alternative. However, skin testing and longevity was a problem for many.”

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the use of collagen in the United States, among its members, has been on the decline for many years as illustrated in the chart below, with significant rises in the use of other products including hyaluronic acids and poly-l-lactic acid.

ASAPS Member Statistics Year on Year Comparisons for Dermal Filler Products

  2009 vs 2008 2008 vs 2007 2006 vs 2007 2005 vs 2006 2004 vs 2005 
Collagen +1% -8% -60% -27%  -72%
Hyaluronic Acids +4% -13% -9% +33%  +35%
Calcium Hydroxylapatite (Radiesse®) -4% +3% +55% +90%  -42%
Poly-l-lactic Acid (Sculptra®) +24% -9% -22% +28% +319%


Unfortunately, no similar statistics exist for the UK marketplace but one expects them to very much mirror the USA.

Fellow BACN Founder Lou Sommereux also noted;

“As a newcomer to the industry back then, it was a great product to gain experience on; soft, pliable and very forgiving. However, lack of longevity and the 28-day wait for the skin patch test result were contributory factors to its downfall. I don’t mourn its demise.”

Will you be sad to see the demise of collagen? Do you have fond memories of using it regularly in your practice? As a patient do you still wish it was widely available?

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