Collagen in cosmetics - anti-aging miracle?

What is collagen?

Collagen is a protein that only occurs in multicellular organisms. It is a structural protein that acts as a scaffold for inelastic fibers such as tendons, ligaments, bones, cartilage, and subcutaneous tissue layers, which are largely composed of a mixture of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. It accounts for around 30% of all proteins in the human body[1].

How is collagen formed?

Collagen is a so-called triple helix protein, i. That three separate strands of pro-collagens (collagen precursors) come together to form a structure. It is stored in the reticulum, a branched system of channels and cavities for calcium and carbohydrate storage, by enzymes, with the help of ribosomes (complex macromolecules of RNA). Here, first amino acids such as lysine, glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and some more bound to chains, with the help of coenzymes and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The resulting single strands of pro-collagene are bound by enzymes with hydrogen and disulfide bridges in their triple helical structure [2].

What are the properties of collagen?

Collagen makes up the majority of the lower skin layer with elastin and hyaluronic acid, and gives structure and strength to bones, cartilage, tendons and ligaments. In the single strands, every third amino acid is glycine, and the three strands are held together by lysine and proline side chains. It has a mass of between 115 and 235 kilodaltons (115-235 kg / kmol), making it a rather large macromolecule. A lack of collagen or elastin causes wrinkles. It also plays a crucial role in biomineralization, involving the process of minerals and trace elements in biomolecules (e.g., calcium and phosphorus in bone and teeth)[3].

How do you get collagen?

Collagen is found in the lower skin layers of farm animals such as pigs and cows, resulting in collagen from cowhides (leather) and pork rinds. Here to 70% from pigskin. There are no non-animal ways to obtain collagen, since neither fungi nor plants nor unicellular organisms are able to produce it [4].

What are the benefits of collagen?

Collagen is a protein and can thereby be denatured, this denatured form is called gelatin. This gelatin is e.g. in food technology as a gelling agent and in pharmacy with as a container in the form of hard and soft capsules. Collagen is used in cosmetics and pharmacy as an anti-aging product, thereby filling the gaps in the tissue causing wrinkles. There are cosmetic products such as creams containing collagen, and concentrates of collagen in the pharmaceutical industry[5].

Is collagen such a miracle cure as it is touted?

There is no doubt that collagen helps to fill the lower layers of the skin and fight against wrinkles, even proven medically. However, this applies only to ingestible concentrates, which are taken orally or intravenously [6], dermal application is the problem of large macromolecules again. Such large molecules can not be absorbed by the skin, thereby reducing or even nullifying their actual effect [7].

Sources:

Wikipedia[5][6][7]

Scientific Article on Collagen[1][2][3]

Articles for the production and use of gelatine [4][5]

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