What are Collagen Fibers? Learn How it Impacts Your Health

Collagen fibers are an essential protein that occur naturally in the body. They are a type of extracellular proteins comprised of tightly-would protein chains. Together, the chains form the strong fibers of collagen. This article provides educational information and insight into the link between collagen and beauty. 

Naturally-Produced Collagen Fibers 

The polypeptide or protein, chains of collagen make up the cartilage, bone and other connective tissues in mammals. Because these fibers are wound in a spiral, they provide flexibility as well as durability when it comes to motion. Each combined fiber of collagen provides needed structural support to the soft tissues in animals and in the human body. 

These fibers are also found outside of the cells of animals. In an extracellular matrix, collagen provides structure maintenance to cell membranes. This type of collagen is essential to well-performing muscles and joints.  

Types of Collagen Fibers

The human body is a complex combination of moving parts. Throughout the human body, there are over twenty types of collagen that contribute to an array of functions. Most of the types of collagen are one of four types. Each of the four types listed below can be found in different parts of the body. 

Type 1. Collagen in skin, organs, bones and tendons. 

Type 2. Collagen in cartilage.

Type 3. Collagen in reticular fibers and paired with Type 1. 

Type 4. Collagen in cell basement membranes. 

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Link to Health & Beauty

While collagen occurs naturally in the body, it has been used as a brilliant tool in cosmetic surgery. The tissue regeneration benefits of collagen make it a fast-acting healing aid for burn victims. Collagen is one of the best natural remedies to help heal lacerations and second-degree burns. This medical use is a huge advantage of collagen, because it demonstrates the usefulness of the protein. 

When it comes to other types of cosmetic uses, collagen is also widely used for dermal fill treatments that reverse the effects of wrinkles. The effects of aging remain one of the most powerful reasons individuals seek out cosmetic surgery. Because collagen is a naturally-occurring substance, both human and bovine collagen has been used extensively to treat the effects of skin aging. 

An important item to note when looking for cosmetic enhancements with the use of collagen is the propensity for an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction to cosmetic collagen can cause prolonged redness and uncomfortable irritation. Before you decide to use this type of collagen for the first time, be sure your dermatologist performs a small patch test for allergies. 

 

Collagen: What You Can Do!

Collagen is a protein that we all want to take care of: it keeps your complexion firm and youthful. Due to the fact that this protein makes up over eighty percent of your skin, you might be wondering how you can naturally boost your collagen’s elasticity and retention. 

Collagen is a collection of spiral proteins that are strong, sturdy fibers placed close together that support the surface of your skin. Caring for these fibers as you age can be beneficial to your overall appearance. When an individual is young, these fibers are young as well. Proper skin circulation aids in the process of repairing damaged collagen. As you age, the collagen-making components of your skin, named fibroblasts, begin to slow production. The enzymes that are normally produced by the fibroblasts begin to slow.

Because of this process change as you age, maintaining strong fibers can get more and more difficult. The natural course of nature will begin to slow down the production of additional collagen, in addition to environmental causes. Environmental influences can affect the way in which your body produces collagen. The ultraviolet rays of the sun, smoking habits, and pollution can produce damaging effects on your skin. These environmental attributes produce free radicals, which in turn begin to age your skin.

Free radicals create an imbalance in your skin that makes collagen production difficult. They can even begin to break down the collagen that your body has already produced, resulting in a 

A way to counter the effects of free radicals is to take proper skin care into consideration. If you plan to venture into the sunlight for extended periods of time, use a skin cream that includes sun protection. Excessive sun exposure can harm the fibroblasts that make the collagen, leading to the risk of a thinner collagen layer. A thinner layer of collagen will lead to a less bright skin appearance. Another benefit of caring for your collagen with sunscreen includes the protection of the enzymes in your skin. Enzymes in skin that naturally break down collagen will be overactive if exposed to excessive sunlight. Proper skin protection eliminates this issue! 

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Steps to Care for Collagen

  1. Be Proactive

The sooner you start to take care of your skin, the better off your collagen and fibroblasts will be. Strengthening the layer of collagen in your skin before the harmful effects of environmental damage can be seen is the best proactive move you can make.

Incorporating more exercise and healthy foods into your diet is a great way to improve collagen health. Any activity that increases blood flood and oxygenation to the blood supply of collagen creates a healthy environment. Strengthening collagen through supplying it with a vital building block is a great proactive thing to do to prevent skin aging. When it comes to healthy foods, any foods that counter the free radicals from environmental effects will come in handy. 

  1. Healthy Diet

Helping your collagen from the inside is a good way to increase strength and resilience of this important protein. Antioxidant foods hep to fight the free radicals that are produced by sun exposure. Because the free radicals will be eliminated, they will not have a chance to cause damage to the fibers of collagen.

The Best Collagen-Enhancing Foods

This list is a breakdown of the some of the best sources of antioxidants and supplements used to counter free radicals and preserve the integrity of skin’s collagen. 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C can come in the form of orange juice, fruits and in some beta-carotene rich vegetables. It has the added advantage of being a co-enzyme with fibroblast cells, adhering to their membrane and facilitating activation.

Vitamin C can also come in the form of a serum for your face, and is often paired with complementary antioxidants such as vitamin E. 

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Vitamin A 

This vitamin is often taken in the form of Retin-A or an over-the-counter retinol supplement. Vitamin A has the benefit of activating genes responsible for collagen production. This supplement can be very beneficial for those looking to remedy the effects of environmental pollutants or age on the surface of their skin. Naturally occurring vitamin A can be found in dairy, liver and certain fish varieties. 

Vitamin A helps to increase collagen levels for both types one and three, adding to the stability of the collagen-producing process in your body. It also helps counter the effects of aging and wrinkled when taken internally. Another common form of this supplement is via fish oil tabs. 

Creams and Lotions

Topical creams and lotions provide another avenue to building the strength of collagen in your skin. Important ingredients include peptides, growth factors and vitamins. The peptides in face creams can act as a facilitator for collagen production. Specifically-designed peptides can activate fibroblast cells and spur faster production of collagen cells. Peptides are often paired with growth factors that enhance new cell accumulation. For skin that is lackluster and thin, this feature of some creams provides a solution. 

Moisturizing skin can have added anti-aging effects that pair well with collagen building. When skin is moist, it has a easier avenue to regenerate. Adequate moisture optimizes the environment for cell growth and will help maintain collagen levels. 

  1. Practice Good Skin Care

The propensity for skin cancer in the United States is high. Many individuals don’t adhere to the best sunscreen recommendations. Unfortunately, exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun contribute to the loss of collagen as well. 

The more sun you’re exposed to, the more active collagen-degrading enzymes become. The enzymes that degrade collagen are ultra-active when hit with powerful ultraviolet rays of sunlight. With additional exposures to sun, the issue only gets worse; the enzymes continue to rise in effectiveness. 

To prevent free radicals and lower collagen-degrading enzyme activity, the use of an effective sunscreen is essential in practicing good skin care. Sunscreen provides such an advantage in protecting the health of your skin’s collagen by preventing issues.

  1. Create a Routine and Stick to It!

Practicing good self-care when it comes to your skin can require motivation and diligence. Once you decide to start taking care of your collagen and follow skin-care recommendations, it’s important that you stick to your routine! Skin damage from environmental effects like sunlight can be prevented if you stick to a good skincare routine and speak regularly about your concerns to your dermatologist.