Types of Skin Collagen
What is collagen?
Collagen is a natural substance
within body tissues. It can be injected into the skin to plump up
particular areas. Life is a string of complex molecules: polymers.
Nature's most abundant protein polymer is collagen. More than 1/3 of
the body's protein is collagen.
* Collagen makes up to 75% of our skin.
* Collagen controls cell shape and differentiation, migration, and the synthesis of a number of proteins.
* When the body needs to build any
new cellular structure as in the healing process, collagen and/or
collagen fragments will play a central role.
Types of skin collagen
Collagen is very important for the
skin. Indeed, it is the principal structural protein holding the skin
together. Collagen makes up to 75% of our skin. The quantity and quality
of our skin's collagen has a major role in our appearance. Therefore,
it may be tempting to think that simply getting more collagen into the
skin should lead to dramatic rejuvenating effects. While there is a
grain of truth to that, things are more complicated than they look as
far as collagen is concerned.
Types of Collagen
Collagen is found in the majority
of organs, not just the skin. It occurs in different forms known as
types. Hence, it is not enough to have the right amount of collagen in
the right place - it has to be the collagen of the right type.
Type I Collagen - The most abundant
collagen in the body. Found in tendons, bones, skin and other tissues.
Particularly abundant in the scar tissue.
Types II, IX, X, XI - Cartilage
Type III Collagen - Common in fast
growing tissue, particularly at the early stages (Phase 1) of wound
repair. Much of it is replaced later by the type stronger and tougher
type I collagen.
Type IV - Basal lamina (filtration membrane of capillaries)
Type V, VI - Generally found alongside type I
Type VII - Epithelia (lining of GI tract, urinary tract, etc.)
Type VIII - Lining of blood vessels
Type XII - Found alongside and interacts with types I and III
The most abundant types of collagen
in the skin are I and III; their fibrils form the mesh largely
responsible for the skin's mechanical properties. Other types of
collagen in the skin are V, VI, and XII. They are found in much smaller
amounts and appear to have a supportive role, whose details remain
Our collagen has many types and the
most abundant types of collagen in the skin are I and III; their
fibrils form the mesh largely responsible for the skin's mechanical
Type I Collagen -
The most abundant collagen in the body. Found in tendons, bones, skin
and other tissues. Particularly abundant in the scar tissue.
Type III Collagen
- Common in fast growing tissue, particularly at the early stages
(Phase 1) of wound repair. Much of it is replaced later by the type
stronger and tougher type I collagen.
In particular, a child's skin has a
lot of collagen III, the type is common in fast growing tissues. The
abundance of the type III collagen is partly responsible for the
softness of the young skin. As the body growth slows down, the skin
content of type III collagen declines, while that of type I increases.
In fact, type I collagen continues to build up until about the age of
35, when the skin reaches the peak of its mechanical strength. After
that, type I begins to decline as well. The dynamic of age-related
changes in other collagen types remains unclear. However, we do know
that by the age of 60, all types of collagen are significantly below
their youthful levels.
Understanding collagen types is
important for a number of reasons. On the top of that different agents
capable of stimulating collagen synthesis may affect different collagen
Considering that collagen type I
and III are predominate in the skin, the agents and treatments shown to
stimulate the synthesis of these types are particularly promising. One
good example of such an agent is topical stabilized L-ascorbic acid
(Vitamin C) and Marine Collagen whose capacity to stimulate both type I
and III collagen has been shown in a number of studies.