Collagen: A Natural Protein
Summary: Collagen is the significant structural component of all connective tissue.
As we age, we notice lines on our forehead, at the sides of our mouth; wrinkles and laugh lines, which are one of the things we don’t want on our face. Also, we feel aches and pains especially in our joints. It is not about we want to hide our age, it’s just that these make us feel not so good about ourselves. Aging is inevitable; all of us will go through the same process. However, there are ways and means to slow down this process, but first we should understand the aging process and its mechanism.
Starting at the age of 25, our body tends to produce lesser amount of collagen – about 15 % less every year. Collagen is a natural protein that is the main component of cartilage, ligaments, and tendons, and the main protein component of bones and teeth. Along with soft keratin, it is accountable for skin potency and elasticity, and the dilapidation of skin which leads to wrinkles that come with aging. The way our skin looks is directly related to the way our skin is supported. In the mid layer of skin, called dermis, collagen is made by fibroblast cells; it forms a fibrous network on which new cells can grow. It strengthens blood vessels and plays a role in tissue development. This is why broken bones can regenerate and wounds can heal. It is present in the cornea and lens of the eye in crystalline form. This is also used in cosmetic surgery and burns surgery.
Collagen treatment or Replacement Therapy efficiently takes away most signs of aging and brings back your youthful face once again. The natural appearance of your skin maybe enhanced as the curve of the support structure is restored. Depending on the amount of sun damage, age, and skin condition, the treatment program will be tailored to incorporate your individual needs.
The collagen in human skin is very much alike to the one found in certain animals. As a result, animal collagen has many medical applications. Heat valves used during surgery are also made of collagen. Injectable bovine collagen is made of sterile, purified collagen from cow’s skin. Human collagen implants are highly purified and isolated from human skin grown in a laboratory. Skin cells are grown primarily to manufacture living skin-equivalents needed for treating burns and ulcers.
Collagen has been extensively used in cosmetic surgery and certain skin substitutes for burns patient. And it is good to know that there is a therapy for burns cases. Just imagine what will happen to these patients if no remedy can be done to improve their situation? But, the cosmetic use of collagen is on the way out because there is a fairly high rate of allergic reactions causing protracted redness and these reactions require noticeable patch testing prior to cosmetic use. Also, most medical collagen is derived from cows, posing the risk of transmitting diseases. The patient’s own fat or hyaluronic acid is readily available as substitute for collagen.
Collagens are still in use in the construction of artificial skin substitutes used in the management of severe burns. These maybe bovine or porcine and are used in combination with silicones, glycosaminoglycans, fibroblasts, growth factors, and other substances.