Why Is Collagen Important?
Last updated on September 17th, 2019
Collagen is a natural type of protein in the body, made up of amino acids, that forms the connective tissues that hold skin, bone, tendons, muscle and cartilage together. Collagen is important in the way our skin looks and feels because it is the main structural component providing firmness and shape. Collagen comprises approximately 25 percent of all the protein found in the body and supports and strengthens bones, teeth, tendons, skin and internal organs. Beneath the surface layer of the skin is the dermis. Here, bundles of collagen molecules are packed together to form the “scaffolding” that supports the shape of the skin. These elongated fibrils are strong and tall when we are in our youth, but as we age they start to change. Unfortunately, the breakdown of proteins like collagen is an unavoidable part of the aging process. Loss of elasticity and strength results in sagging skin and wrinkles. Collagen is much more than a beauty aid. While many things have been called “building blocks of the body,” collagen is the real deal. The most abundant protein found in mammals, it makes up nearly 30 percent of total body protein. Our bodies would be unable to move or even maintain their form without the help of collagen in several systems. Loss of collagen structure in the vascular system is even associated with sudden death
Like many systems in the body, our production of collagen starts to decline at middle age. We produce less of it, and what remains becomes weaker and degraded. As that collagen weakens, we see the following results:
- Fine lines
- Nasiolabial folds
- Hooded eyelids
- Turkey neck
- Dark circles under the eyes
Causes of Collagen Degradation
- UV Light
- Poor Nutrition
All of these elements contribute to loss of collagen, leading to sagging and crepy looking skin. Elastin is a protein found in the skin and tissue of the body. It helps to keep skin flexible but tight, providing a bounce-back reaction if skin is pulled. Enough elastin in the skin means that the skin will return to its normal shape after a pull. It also helps keep skin smooth as it stretches to accommodate normal activities like flexing a muscle or opening and closing the mouth to talk or eat.
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