Author: Dr. Valerie Rosenbaum
Natural collagen is a hard protein that makes up bones, joints, tissues and fibers. The skins collagen content is found in the dermis layer, 4-5 layers beneath the surface, along with elastic fibers made of elastin.
The outer 4-5 layers, known as the epidermis, are composed primarily of keratinized cells. Cells containing melanin, which is responsible for the skin's pigmentation, are also found in the epidermis.
In order to be included in creams or lotions, natural collagen, keratin or elastin must be "hydrolyzed", which means they are broken down into smaller fragments, either peptides or amino acids. Peptides and amino acids are used by the skin's cells to create new cells and fibers. But, the processes that most manufacturers use to hydrolyze render the nutrients useless to the skin's cells.
The skins collagen is rebuilt and replaced on a regular basis, as our bodies grow and develop. New cells are formed and travel to the skin's surface, where old damaged cells slough off. In a young person, it takes less than a month for this cellular rejuvenation process to complete. In an older person, the process is much slower.
The skins collagen fibers can be damaged by UV radiation from the sun, nutritional deficiencies, inflammation and free radicals, which are produced during exposure to UV rays and during exposure to toxins. The average creams on the market contain a number of different toxins; some of them are actually poisonous. The best creams to use on a daily basis are those that contain antioxidants and other nutrients.
No one has learned yet how to hydrolyze natural collagen or elastin, without destroying their nutritional value. One company has learned how to hydrolyze keratin and still maintain the nutrient's value. The processes that they use have been patented and supplies are limited, because it is a naturally occurring form of keratin extracted from sheep's wool.
So, there aren't many creams on the market that contain it, but the ones that do have been shown to increase the skins collagen content and stimulate the cellular rejuvenation process. This is particularly important to those of us that are getting a little older, but it's never too early to start.
If we can stimulate cellular rejuvenation, prevent inflammation and neutralize free radicals when can delay and reverse the affects of age. Everyone's going to grow older and most of us would like to live long healthy lives. But, we don't want our faces to tell our age. If we use the best anti-aging creams, we won't have to worry about it.
It pays to protect your skin from those things that can damage natural collagen and interfere with rejuvenation. Some of the ingredients to avoid include petrolatum, paraffin and mineral oil, because they interfere with the process in many ways and often found to contain toxic chemicals.
But, we cannot avoid all toxins and some sunlight is good for us. Antioxidant-rich creams protect the skins collagen on a molecular level, if they are properly formulated. Our natural collagen fibers provide firmness and flexibility. As they deteriorate, so does our appearance, but there is help.
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 http://www.DefendYourSkin.com