Everyone has heard of collagen but few of us actually understand exactly what it is and why it’s so important to great looking skin. Learning a little bit about the background of collagen can help you to better understand its role in the appearance, feel and general health of your skin.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein that forms a major part of the mammalian body, growing naturally and making up most of our connective tissues. Unlike the bulk of our body’s proteins, collagen is a fibre rather than a grouping of molecules and forms networks of fibres as it matures in the body. These fibres are extremely important to the composition and health of our skin and are responsible for giving it the ability to resist strain.
There are several different types of collagen that work together to give the body the ability to perform important natural tasks like repairing or healing wounds. The most common varieties of collagen in the skin are Type I and Type III (but smaller amounts of Type V, VI and XII can also be found in the skin). It’s important that these different types of collagen are properly arranged and being produced in the right amount.
Collagen is such a powerful protein that it’s used extensively in cosmetic medicine and is able to help patients with problems that vary in severity from wrinkled skin to severe burns (it’s often a primary ingredient in the construction of artificial skin). It’s importance in skin composition has also lead to collagen’s widespread use by aesthetic medical clinics. The introduction of the protein can allow collagen to be used as a dermal filler for age-related treatments.
How Does Collagen Help the Skin?
Collagen allows our skin to rebound from the routine damage it takes throughout our lives and, without it, wrinkles, creases and a general “hollowed-out” look become noticeable. Unfortunately, collagen dissipates naturally with time and can become disorganized, leading to common signs of aging. Properly organized, sufficient amounts of collagen represent one of the most important aspects of youthful skin.
Collagen, simply put, helps the skin by maintaining its structure and ability to regulate itself. When collagen has decreased in a person’s skin it takes away those traits that we associate with a healthy and young appearance.