What is Collagen?
We hear a lot about collagen being an ingredient in some dermal fillers such as Cosmoderm and Zyderm. It is also an ingredient in some skin lotions and creams. In past years it was used alone as an injection for treating wrinkles, but is not popular now, since other fillers such as Restylane give longer-lasting results.
Everyone has a great deal of collagen in the body, as it is the principal protein in connective tissue like tendons and supportive membranes around body organs. It is found in bones, teeth, muscles, cartilage and blood vessels, and is often used in skin and bone reconstruction after a severe burn injury and in other orthopedic and surgical procedures. It has tensile strength.
Medical collagen comes from young cattle or pigs which have been bred for the purpose and certified to be free of a condition called Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE; also called Mad Cow Disease). These cattle are kept separate in “closed herds”. Some countries such as Australia have never had any incidence of this disease and breed animals safely for collagen production.
Collagen in the Skin
Collagen makes up about 80 percent of the skin. In the skin’s middle layer, the dermis, collagen works with elastin, another fibrous protein which has elasticity, to support the skin with an interwoven matrix of fibers. Collagen also works with keratin, which is another strong protein found in hair, nails and teeth — also in animal hooves and horns.
Our skin’s outer layer, the epidermis, contains dead keratin, in the cells which will be discarded. They give the skin a toughness on the surface and some insulation, and protect the newer, living cells beneath. By moisturizing the skin surface you can prevent the keratin from splitting and cracking.
As we age, the body produces less collagen. This creates weakness and gaps in the skin’s supportive matrix, which is a contributing cause to wrinkles. Use of a lotion containing collagen will not help, as the lotion cannot penetrate to the deeper level where it is needed in the dermis. This is why it must be injected.
To learn more about the best ways of rejuvenating your skin, please contact our office for a personal consultation.