The skin is the largest organ with a surface area of approximately 2 square metres, serving multiple functions – including encasing all your other internal organs. It is also the skin on your face which gives people a first impression of your health and age!
The skin is made up of 3 layers: the epidermis (top most layer), dermis (middle layer) and hypodermis (third layer). We will be focusing on the dermis, which consists of fibres (mainly collagen and elastin) and a gel-like material.
This is the soldier behind the scenes and is the major cell in the dermis layer. The fibroblast is responsible for synthesising the collagen, elastin and Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) for your skin. These products are crucial for the integrity of your skin and healing of wounds. The fibroblasts need essential amino acids to function properly. If you want younger skin, it is important to feed these fibroblasts well to maintain your collagen and elastin production!
As from the name, you can guess that elastin is the elastic protein which your fibroblasts produce. It allows the tissues of your skin to resume their shape after stretching or contracting. For this reason, it is often compared to a rubber band and like a rubber band, it can lose its resilience with age and this results in sagging of the skin.
Coming from the Greek word kollawhich, meaning “glue”, collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. Making up to 35% of the whole body’s protein content, collagen is composed primarily of the amino acids Glycine and Proline, also contains sugar groups and is synthesised by fibroblasts.
So far, 28 types of collagen have been identified and described. The five most common types are:
- Type I:The most common type found mainly in skin
- Type II: Cartilage (main collagenous component of cartilage)
- Type III: Commonly found alongside type I.
- Type IV: Found mainly under epithelial cells to support them
- Type V: cell surfaces, hair and nails
Collagen fibres have enormous tensile strength, which provides the skin with strength and durability. Vitamin C is an essential factor in the synthesis of collagen, where a deficiency would cause the skin to literally fall apart and this disease is otherwise known as Scurvy.
This is a family of sugars that are linked with your elastin and collagen to help maintain and support these proteins. Together with water, they create the fluid which fills the space between the collagen and elastin fibres in the dermis, giving it turgidity and are important to help repair wrinkles and scars of the epidermis and dermis layers. It also helps the fibres to retain moisture and thus, keeping the skin hydrated. The water content in this substance is dependent on your water intake, which is why one is encouraged to drink more water for younger looking skin. This is also why a lot of skincare products contain GAGs to help maintain epidermal and dermal cell metabolism, keeping the collagen and elastin of the skin in good condition.
Collagen and Beauty
Since collagen makes up 75% of our skin, the smooth appearance of young healthy skin is due in large part to the presence of healthy collagen levels. That’s why many beauty seekers around the globe are on the constant search for new ways to boost collagen levels and repair collagen damage – going as far as to inject collagen proteins into the skin in order to plump up wrinkles or add volume to the lips.
The breakdown of collagen happens during ageing, where collagen production also declines and this leads to the development of unwanted wrinkles and the appearance of aged skin. This is why it is important to feed your fibroblasts well in order to ensure healthy collagen production and lessen the effects of ageing.
Men vs Women
Ever noticed that women appear to age faster than men of the same age?
This is because of collagen! Men have higher collagen density than women because they have thicker skin. Of course, skin ageing has many factors, with sun exposure being one of the most pervasive. Which is why wearing sunblock or sunscreen is important to prevent ageing of the epidermis and dermis layers, regardless of sex!
Taking care of your skin
Of course your skin has other functions such as temperature control and even releasing of pheromones. Nonetheless, your skin is important for your health and it is the major organ that reflects your current state of health! With your skin working so hard for you, it is important to take care of it too by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and providing the essential amino acids it needs through foods such as our Collagen Bliss Berry.
Photo credits: Pixabay and Wikipedia