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Keratin Rich Creams Are Better Than Collagen Moisturizers

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Author: Dr. Valerie Rosenbaum

When you are shopping for a collagen moisturizer, you need to go armed with some information. If not, you could end up paying for it with itching, redness, irritation or worse. In a recent survey conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration, 25% of consumers reported having adverse reactions to cosmetics. Some of them were pretty serious.

It doesn't really seem that moisturizers would fall under the category of cosmetics, but they do. Until recently, no one realized that chemicals and other contaminants would penetrate the skin's layers. It was, of course, known that some people had allergic reactions, but the frequency of these reactions was believed to be small, much smaller than 25%.

One of the ingredients that are prone to cause prolonged redness is collagen, particularly when it is derived from animal skins. In some of the safer products, the protein is derived from marine sources; primarily fish bones. They are less likely to cause redness, but are still largely ineffective.

You see the best collagen moisturizer does not contain collagens. It contains another type of protein that can penetrate deeply, nourishing the skin's layers and improving their moisture content. The protein is called keratin, but not just any keratin will do.

When it is used as an ingredient in cosmetics, it is typically derived from animal hooves, horns or bones. In order to make it soluble, the companies use high temperatures and harsh chemicals. These processes destroy the functionality of the protein. As a manufacture would put it, it is no longer bioactive.

Keratin, of any kind, has long been included in hypoallergenic products. As the primary component of the cells that make up the epidermis, it is readily accepted by them. Collagen-fibers are located four to five layers beneath the epidermis, so our outer skin does not react well to it.

So, why would you call a keratin-rich cream a collagen moisturizer? There are several reasons.

All of the skin's layers need moisture. We get some of it from water, when we bathe. Some of it comes from within, as perspiration passes through, but most of it is secreted by the sebaceous glands and is used to lubricate the outermost layers, preventing wind and sun from damaging the cells.

There are only a few ingredients that can penetrate deeply enough to nourish and moisturize all of the skin's cells and fibers. Bioactive keratin is one of them.

Researchers can measure the effectiveness of a collagen moisturizer. Glycerin, for example, has been shown to increase the skin's moisture content by about 5%. Bioactive keratin has been shown to increase the skin's moisture content by five times that amount.

In order to create a keratin-rich cream that could be picked up and used by the skin's cells, patented processes were used to extract the protein from sheep's wool and gently make it water soluble. Those processes were developed by the KERATEC Company in New Zealand. It's a tough ingredient to find in a collagen moisturizer, but it's worth the effort to look for it.

Dr. Valerie Rosenbaum is a dermatologist who has spent the last several years researching natural skin care products in an effort to find the best skin care products available for her patients. For more information visit


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