What is Collagen and How Can We Form New Deposits?

The word collagene is really a French made up word from the Greek for glue and birth. It came into the English language in 1865 and the Oxford English Dictionary in 1893 to describe "that part of connective tissue that yields gelatin no boiling.
By: Ailesbury Media
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Dr Patrick Treacy
Ailesbury Clinic


Dublin - Dublin - Ireland

Jan. 18, 2010 - PRLog -- In the 1920's, a French scientist called Nageotte discovered collagen could exist in fibrils. After using X-Ray's it was discovered that this molecule was actually a triple-helix. In the 1960's, another type of collagen was discovered in cartilage. It was slightly different than skin collagen and was called collagen II. Then we discovered another type in fetal skin and this was called Collagen III.

The only way we can restore the younger collagen is to provide a dermal insult to 'kick-start' the dormant fibroblasts or slow down the destructive process of UV light. Dermal insults include chemical peels, laser resurfacing, dermal rolling or radiofrequency devices. However, we should be aware that skin over forty years does not always respond to collagen synthesis boosters and trying to stop the degradation of collagen may prove to be a more sensible approach. I really saw this with the introduction of Isolagen® fibroblast transplanting some years ago. It was then apparent that the people who got the best results were the patients with acne scarring because they were all in their twenties and thirties. The only topical application that I feel that may slow the destructive process of UV light is the of photoprotectant vitamin C. This molecule has been shown in many studies to protect the skin from damage caused by prolonged UV exposure by reducing the amount of free radical formation and/or sunburn cells. Many companies try to sell products that will cause MMP inhibition but as yet none of them have satisfactory scientific results. There is some benefit in using retinoids also as they can act on inflammatory pathways and reduce the amount of MMP's that are synthesised.

We wear sun protection to slow down wrinkle development; can we not slow down this laxity in the skin?

This is a good question and involves a little science. Sunlight contains both UVA and UVB radiation, which causes collagen fibres to break down and cause wrinkles but it also causes abnormal elastin to accumulate. Many dermatologists feel exposure to sunlight accounts for 90% of the symptoms of premature skin aging. There is little doubt that UV radiation can cause skin damage including wrinkles, aging skin disorders, and cancer. If we look more closely at the laxity problem, we have to admit that we still do not fully understand the process. Sun exposure causes an accumulation of denatured elastin and enzymes called metalloproteinases, which normally remodel sun-injured skin by manufacturing and reforming collagen. However, something happens during sun exposure, which causes some of these matrix metalloproteinases (MMP's) to actually break down collagen into disorganized fibres known as solar scars. The ratio of organised collagen to disorganised collagen determines the age of our skin. In younger years collagen is freshly deposited by young healthy fibroblasts and it has a definite orderly structure under the microscope. It is interesting to watch how it changes its structure after exposure to sun, free radicals, smoking and underlying metabolic conditions to lead to diminished skin texture and wrinkles.

Dr. Treacy is Medical Director of the Ailesbury Clinics International Ltd. He is also Medical Director of Cosmetic Medical Group. He is Medical Advisor to OnboardSpa and the UK's largest consumer aesthetic website Consulting Room. He is Chairman of the Irish Association of Cosmetic Doctors and Irish Regional Representative of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors. He is European Medical Advisor to Network Lipolysis.

Dr. Treacy is an advanced aesthetic trainer and regularly holds courses for doctors and nurses from around the world. He is also a renowned international guest speaker and features regularly on national television and radio programmes. He was amongst the first doctors worldwide to use Botox for other applications such as blushing and sweating as well as the permanent facial endoprosthesis BioAlcamid for HIV Lipodystrophy patients. He was also the first person to introduce many techniques such as Radiofrequency assisted lasers, Fibroblast transplant and Contour Threads to Irish patients. He practices cosmetic medicine in his clinics in Dublin, Cork, London and the Middle East. Despite his busy global commitment he finds time to personally see patients at his Dublin clinic.

Ailesbury Clinic Suite 6 Merrion Court Ailesbury Road Dublin 4 Ireland http://www.ailesburyclinic.ie +3531 2692255/2133 Fax +3531 2692250

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Dr. Patrick Treacy is Medical Director of Ailesbury Clinics Ltd. He is Chairman of the Irish Association of Cosmetic Doctors and Irish Regional Representative of the BACD. He is a Medical Advisor to the UK's largest cosmetic website Consulting Rooms.
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