Do you ever wonder what goes on in our skin to keep it firm and youthful? In this article I’ll discuss exactly what is collagen and how it is they key reason for keeping our skin looking youthful. To put it into more technical terms, Collagen is a hard, insoluble and fibrous protein that makes up one-third of the protein in the human body. This protein is most commonly found in the skin, bones and connective tissue within the body and provides a structural support, strength and a degree of elasticity.
Aging is a crucial process on our bodies and our skin can get hit pretty hard by the aging process. As we get older the production of collagen in our skin tends to slow down. This means that our skin is going to be more prone to external damages that will result in wrinkles and fine lines, dark spots, puffiness, dry skin and so much more. The slow down of this process also tends to slow down the process of elastin, this is a protein found in connective tissues, but is different from collagen. It has the actual property of being elastic where it allows the body to “snap back” to it’s original shape after being stretched or contracted.
So What Does Collagen Do?
In the middle layer of skin or the dermis; collagen helps form a fibrous network upon which new cells can grow. It is also required for the replacement and restoration of dead skin cells. Some also function as protective coverings for delicate organs in the body such as the kidneys. It is often secreted by a variety of different cells, but primarily by connective tissue cells. When our skin is still young, the body consistently produces collagen, however, the collagen synthesis begins to decline around the age of 40.
Ultimately, the purpose of collagen is to help give strength to various structures of the body and also protects structures like the skin by preventing absorption and spreading of pathogenic substances, environmental toxins, micro-organisms and cancerous cells.
Facts About Collagen:
- Protein makes up about 20% of the body’s mass, and collagen makes up around 30% of the protein in the human body.
- There are at least 16 types of collagen, but 80-90% of the collagen in the body consists of types i, ii, and iii.
- Type i collagen fibrils are stronger than steel.
- It is most commonly found within the body in the skin, bones, and connective tissue.
- The word “collagen” is derived from the Greek “kolla”, meaning glue.
- It gives the skin its strength and structure, and also plays a role in the replacement of dead skin cells.
- Production declines in age and is reduced by exposure to ultraviolet light and other environmental factors.
- Collagen in medical products can be derived from human, bovine, porcine, and ovine sources.
- Dressing of collagen attract new skin cells to wound sites.
- Cosmetic products such as revitalizing lotions that claim to increase collagen levels are unlikely to do so, as collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin.
- The production of collagen can be stimulated through the use of laser therapy and the use of all-trans retinoic acid.
- Controllable factors that damage the production of collagen include sunlight, smoking, and high sugar consumption.