The Role of Collagen in the Skin

The Role of Collagen in the Skin

Profound changes occur in the skin during aging, the dermis being the site of the most substantial histological and biological changes.

While the skin continues to synthesise collagen fibres, the production of new ones declines over time.
Collagen synthesis in the fibroblasts (which are the body’s natural collagen producers) decreases for two reasons: a decrease in the rate of fibroblast renewal with age and an associated decrease in the amount of collagen secreted by these cells.

Collagen is also modified by the formation of bridges between fibrils, leading to the reticulation of fibres, rendering them more rigid. Cross-links may be established between two collagen fibres or between the collagen fibre and glucose molecules (collagen glycation), rendering the network more inflexible. Thus, the skin gradually loses its substance, through decreases in the amounts of its constituents, and becomes less supple, due to the loss of collagen fibre elasticity and to collagen dehydration. These changes in the extracellular matrix of the dermis lead to a loss of firmness, resulting in sagging of the skin and a loss of the harmonious volumes of the face. The tissues slide downwards and the face hollows out. This loosening of the skin also leads to the formation of wrinkles, laughter lines and gravity-induced wrinkles. In parallel, the skin, like the rest of the body, is subject to numerous stresses that generate free radicals targeting cell membranes, proteins and DNA. The formation of these free radicals leads to changes in the skin over time, accelerating the skin’s aging process.

Peptan Marine Collagen, as an active peptide originating from Tilapia fish, provides the amino-acids required for the correct functioning of skin cells. Collagen has a unique amino-acid composition, which is essential for its three-dimensional structure and its characteristic physical properties, both of which are what render the dermis resistant and well. The principal amino-acid components of collagen are glycine (20%), proline and hydroxyproline (25%). Hydroxyproline plays a particularly important role in stabilising the collagen triple helix, protecting against proteolytic digestion. Because of these properties, collagens type I and III are responsible for maintaining skin tonicity and solidity.

These two types of collagen together account for 90% of the collagen present in the dermis (60 to 80% for collagen type I and 15 to 20% for collagen type III). This collection of fibres responsible for maintaining the structure and resistance of tissues constitutes a dynamic network anchoring the skin in the deeper layers, thereby creating a support base for the skin. In addition to its architectural properties, collagen also regulates the activity of fibroblasts, playing a role in their migration, proliferation and differentiation, and in their adhesion to various elements of the extracellular matrix.

The introduction of collagen into the body then, stimulates the fibroblasts in creating more natural collagen as well as supporting the synthesis of the major structural collagen molecule of the dermis, thus preserving its structural organization, keeping the skin looking younger for longer. It also protects against free radicals, limiting their ageing effects as well.

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