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What is Bovine Collagen?

By Nadia Miller
Updated May 21, 2024
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Bovine collagen is a naturally occurring protein that is found in the skin, bones, and muscles of cows. This collagen is so similar to human collagen that many people in the beauty industry have embraced its use as a cost-effective way to treat wrinkles and fine lines. Acting as a replacement to human collagen, it can be used to fill fine lines and correct scars.

The human body naturally produces collagen, which is the protein that makes hair shiny and keeps skin clear and taut. As the body ages, collagen production slows. The results of this decrease, along with other environmental factors, can contribute to frown lines, wrinkles in the face, and saggy skin.

People seeking non-surgical facial treatments to help restore their younger looking, blemish-free skin may want to include bovine collagen in their beauty regimen. The treatment is applied as an injection into the affected areas of the face. These areas typically include frown lines around the mouth and fine lines around the eyes. Bovine collagen can also be used to treat acne scars or other blemishes by acting as a filler to smooth skin.

Collagen injections can only be administered by a surgeon. The doctor will determine which treatment is appropriate and patients can expect to be given one of three branded bovine collagens. Zyderm I is used for the treatment of fine lines and lesser scars, while Zyderm II is meant for longer, deeper scars. Zyplast is used to obtain longer results where the affected skin is more damaged.

While the results can be favorable, they are not permanent. Since bovine collagen is a protein, it will break down in the body over time. Generally, the results last from six months to a year. Once the collagen fades, the treatment can be repeated. A plastic surgeon can help determine a course of treatment prior to starting.

Patients who have deep wrinkles or scars, or those who are looking for more dramatic results, may find that bovine collagen injections are not enough for them. In those cases, a more invasive procedure may be required. A trained plastic surgeon should be able to discuss the options and determine the proper course of action.

There are few instances of allergic reactions from collagen injections. Those reactions can include redness at the injection site, hives, and chest pain. During the consultation process, all possible results and outcomes are typically discussed.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By burcinc — On Feb 12, 2012

@ddljohn-- As far as I know, application and result wise, there is no difference between the two. The only differences are that bovine collagen is more affordable than human collage. And human collagen is hypoallergenic whereas bovine collagen has a risk of causing allergic reactions.

If you ask for my personal opinion, I would go for bovine collagen. Doctors are required to do allergic testing before they use bovine collagen anyway. So you will always know beforehand if you are allergic and the doctor won't continue with the treatment if you are.

So the question comes down to cost. Both of these will eventually get broken down in skin and disappear. And since most people get these injections on a regular basis, it's better to get the more affordable one which is bovine collagen.

By ddljohn — On Feb 11, 2012

I'm considering getting collagen injections for some facial wrinkles. I've learned that there are two types of collagen injections- bovine collagen and human collagen.

What is the difference between the two, aside from that one comes from cows and the other from humans? Is one better than the other. Are there any additional risks of bovine collagen that I should know about?

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