There are various injectable treatments to rejuvenate the skin; the more common treatments being hyaluronic acid (HA) dermal fillers and collagen biostimulators. But what are they and how do they differ?

The demand for aesthetic medicine procedures is on the rise, owing largely to a rapidly ageing population and considerable focus on personal grooming.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), hyaluronic acid (HA) dermal filler and collagen stimulating injectables have become increasingly popular in recent years, with over 7.3 million HA filler treatments, and 290,000 collagen stimulator treatments performed globally in 2021.

Not many people are aware of the differences between collagen stimulators and dermal fillers. We speak to two aesthetic physicians: Dr Nurul Ain Abdullah, founder of Alainn Clinic, and Dr Jason Yip, medical director and founder of Astute Clinic, to better understand these treatments, and what they do.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally occurring compound in the body, with the highest concentrations found in the joints, eyes and skin. “Injectable HA dermal fillers are temporary and come in varying viscosities to produce different effects. Less viscous fillers hydrate the dermis, while more viscous ones are used to lift the skin, replace volume and fill folds in the mid-face, and augment facial features like the nose bridge, chin and lips,” explains Dr Nurul.

Collagen-stimulating injections or collagen biostimulators, are designed to stimulate the body’s own natural collagen production, which tends to diminish with age.

Studies show that from the age of 20, our collagen production declines by about 1% to 1.5% a year, which means that our skin would lose about 20% of its total collagen when we turn 40. Women lose 30% more collagen in the first five years of menopause alone.

“As collagen is the primary building block for the skin, bones and connective tissues, the loss of collagen leads to the skin becoming thinner, more fragile and prone to roughness, dullness, sagging, dryness and wrinkles. This is where collagen-stimulating injections can help,” says Dr Yip.


Dr Nurul Ain Abdullah, founder of Alainn Clinic, and Dr Jason Yip, medical director and founder of Astute Clinic

Dr Nurul Ain Abdullah, founder of Alainn Clinic, and Dr Jason Yip, medical director and founder of Astute Clinic


Which treatment is right for you?

When it comes to aesthetic treatments, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, as different treatments are designed for different purposes, and administered according to each patient’s unique needs and wants.

“Typically, if patients want to enhance or augment facial features such as the lips, nose bridge or chin, we recommend HA fillers. Collagen biostimulators are not used to augment or enhance these features,” says Dr Nurul.

“Collagen biostimulators can be made of various compounds such as calcium hydroxylapatite, poly-l-lactic acid, and polycaprolactone, which unlike hyaluronic acid, are not naturally found in the body. Introducing collagen biostimulators into your skin can help regenerate and restore depleted collagen to produce younger, smoother, firmer, and more radiant skin,” adds Dr Yip.

HA filler treatments offer immediate results which can last anywhere between six to 24 months depending on the product’s viscosity. Generally speaking, the more viscous the HA filler, the longer the body would take to metabolise it, and the longer it lasts.

Collagen biostimulators take about four weeks to deliver results. As collagen regrowth is a gradual process, results tend to be longer-lasting as well, and can last up to two years.

“At the end of the day it is important for the aesthetic physician to properly assess the patient’s face and understand their needs in order to determine what type of treatment is right for each individual, whether used on its own or in combination, to deliver the desired outcome,” says Dr Yip.

Other minimally-invasive procedures aesthetic physicians may use to rejuvenate skin include botulinum toxin injections to relax dynamic wrinkles which form when we frown or smile, and energy-based devices such as High Frequency Intense Ultrasound (HIFU) and radiofrequency to lift and tighten sagging skin.


Featured photo by Dreamstime.
Doctor profiles courtesy of the respective doctors.