Collagen biostimulators are being sought-after to reverse signs of aging, but how do you know which type is right for you?

Dr. Nazelia Thibroni, Aesthetic Physician from Nazelia Clinic, Kuala Lumpur

Dr. Nazelia Thibroni, Aesthetic Physician from Nazelia Clinic, Kuala Lumpur

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, comprising 30% of our  total protein composition.

A fundamental component in vital structures such as the skin, muscles and bones, collagen plays key roles in not only keeping the bones and tissues healthy, but also maintaining youthful appearances such as firm, smooth, volumized and radiant skin.

The bad news is our bodies tend to produce less collagen with age. Studies show that our natural collagen production decreases by about 1 to 1.5% annually from the age of 20, with women losing an additional 30% in the first five years of menopause.

Given this progressive decline, it’s no wonder why many are turning to injectable collagen biostimulators to replenish collagen levels and reverse the signs of ageing. According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the popularity of collagen biostimulators have surged in recent years, with a 73.3% increase in treatments performed in 2021 compared to 2017.

However, with a myriad of options available, selecting the right type of collagen biostimulator can be overwhelming. Dr. Nazelia Thibroni, Aesthetic Physician from Nazelia Clinic in Kuala Lumpur, provides insights on collagen biostimulators and offers tips on how to select the most suitable one based on unique needs.

Q: What are the different types of collagen biostimulators in the market?

A: There are a few different types of collagen biostimulators, or injectable collagen stimulators, such as Hydroxylapatite, Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) and polycaprolactone (PCL). Of these, PLLA and PCL are the most common types.

PLLA is a gel-like substance formed by mixing high polymer powders with a liquid. This mixture is then injected into targeted areas including the face, hands and buttocks, where it’s absorbed by the body to produce more collagen fibres in the dermis layer of the skin. Over a period time, and as more collagen is stimulated, patients will start to see improvements in treated areas such as tighter, healthier looking skin, and improved elasticity.

On the other hand, PCL serves as a primary component in various procedures like threadlifts and collagen biostimulators, due to its excellent ability in inducing collagen production and volumising the skin [4]. However, most stimulators, including PCL, involve combining microparticles with a liquid, which increases the risk of lumps and nodules forming under the skin [5]. To overcome these limitations, Dexlevo Inc has recently introduced GOURI, the only fully liquified PCL collagen stimulator in the market currently. Not only does GOURI spread more evenly across the entire face, but it also prevents or minimises complications typically associated with the use of microparticles [5].

Q: Which of these treatments should patients choose?

A: Aging signs manifest differently based on the individual’s age. Patients in their 30s may experience dull skin, uneven texture, and fine lines starting to form around the eyes, mouth, and forehead. As patients progress into their 40s, they start to experience loss of skin elasticity, early signs of jowling, and deeper wrinkles forming in the lower third of the face. In patients who are 50 and older, we often see aggressive cheek drooping, jowling, and more pronounced facial creases.

The type of collagen biostimulators for each patient differs according to their aging signs and personal skin concerns or needs. I often recommend liquid PCL for younger patients who want to improve their skin quality, tone and texture, while also minimising fine lines and adding some volume to the central face. For older patients with more severe sagging and jowling, I usually suggest PLLA as it’s more effective in tightening the skin along the lateral face and jawline.

Q: Is there a difference in how quickly these treatments deliver the results?

A: Although patients may see superficial results such as brightening of the face immediately after a treatment, collagen biostimulators take about four to 12 weeks to deliver optimal results as they stimulate natural collagen regrowth in the skin, which is a gradual process. The good news is that results can last for up to two years.

Liquid PCL is the way to go for patients who are looking for quick results, especially if dull skin is a big concern. I have observed that GOURI is capable of delivering radiant complexions within about three days of treatment in some patients. Many of my patients have observed visible results just after one round of treatment, but to enjoy the full effects of the treatment I typically recommend three sessions spaced about a month apart, followed by maintenance treatments every once in two years. In general, patients enjoy brighter, smoother skin after the first session; reduced fine lines after the second; and firmer, more voluminous skin after the third.

PLLA, which offers more pronounced lifting and contouring effects, usually takes about four months to deliver discernible outcomes; or a minimum of two sessions. However, patients tend to experience continual improvements over the next 18 months, with lasting effects for up to two years or more.

Some patients are underwhelmed when they cannot see visible improvements to their skin after the first session and prefer a more fast-acting treatment, while others may desire more pronounced, longer-lasting results. Ultimately, the patient’s age, ageing signs and individual preferences dictate the type of collagen biostimulator that is right for them.


Featured photo by Dreamstime.
Dr Nazelia’s photo courtesy of Dr Nazelia.