Sunday, December 30, 2007

An Overview of Collagen

It slices, it dices, it will help you win the lotto. Of course, we are talking about collagen, the popular skin treatment solution. Here is an overview of collagen.

An Overview of Collagen?

There are many materials that make the human body what it is. Bones make up the structural basis of the human body, while muscles and connective tissue fill in the rest. The skin is our outer protection, the facade that is seen by the rest of the world, and it's often the area that most people concentrate on when trying to change their appearance cosmetically. There are other areas that can change the way we look, however, and one important substance that has the ability to change our image is collagen.

Collagen is a protein – the main protein in the connective tissue of animals. It is also the most abundant protein found in the bodies of mammals with fully 40 percent of the total amount protein in our bodies being collagen. This protein is a long, fibrous structure with a lot of strength in the way it's formed. Collagen, along with keratin (another protein structure) is responsible for both the elasticity and strength found in human skin, and it also plays a role in tissue development.

When collagen degrades, skin changes shape. The degradation of collagen happens naturally as people age and the shape of the skin changes naturally as well. Less collagen means that your skin is not as elastic or able to hold to the structures below it, causing wrinkles and stretch marks to form. When collagen is lost from other body structures, such as ligaments, it can cause problems with joint pain and mobility.

So, what can be done about the loss of collagen? Since wrinkles are caused by this protein loss, doctors and cosmetic companies have been experimenting for years with ways to replace the missing collagen. Unfortunately, there is a high risk of reaction to organic collagen injections and other treatments with these reactions causing side effects that range from swelling to itching and rashes. Many plastic surgeons and doctors have discontinued using collagen injections for this reason.

Synthetic collagen, along with other wrinkle fillers such as Restylane, are now being used in place of traditional collagen injections. This way, people can get the same benefits of replacing this missing protein without having to deal with adverse reactions. When you hear someone mention collagen treatments, they are really referring to the synthetic option.

Combating collagen degradation is sure to continue to be a big research area in plastic surgery for years to come. This is particularly true as the baby boomer generation ages. Ricardo de Silva is with plasticsurgeonpractices.com - a directory of plastic surgeons.

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