Do you know what the ‘extracellular matrix’ is? Does that sound like something you’d see on the sci fi channel? What about collagen? Elastin? Laminin? Do you know anything about these things besides the fact that they are found in some shower gels? If you are concerned about aging skin, it is a good idea to comprehend how your skin works and how we can help it be even more efficient.
All animal tissues have a ‘matrix’, a substance which their cells are immersed in. This serves lots of important functions. Some of the most important ones are the growth of new cells, giving structure to the inner layers of our skin, and healing our wounds. This important substance is called the extracellular matrix. Inside this matrix we have various different components that help our skin to be supple, soft, and smooth. The function of some of these components is to maintain the strength or durability of the skin, and others to keep it moisturized. One of the substances found here, and one of the strongest proteins found in nature, is collagen. Since collagen is so strong, it helps to give structure and strength to our skin. As a side note, it is also the most abundant protein in our body. Another key protein chain is elastin. Elastin is a more stretchable protein (not as rigid as collagen) that helps our skin stretch, move, and then regain its original shape again. The body also has two different substances that help moisturize our skin and keep it soft. These are glycosoaminoglycans (or GAGs for short) and proteoglycans. These substances are similar to the consistency of mucus, and they help us because they hold water in our skin.
As long as all of these components are working they way there were designed to in the skin, our skin will maintain itself youthful-looking and radiant. Remember that all the substances that are inside the extracellular matrix are needed for our skin to keep its structure and stay moisturized. However, the problem starts when, due to aging, environmental contamination or too much exposure to the sun, the body stops developing as many of these proteins, thus diminishing the extracellular matrix. The development of collagen and elastin and moisture holding molecules is naturally reduced as people age. The cells get old, and since the body isn’t fabricating as many fresh ones as it used to, our skin begins to sag, look older, and dry out.
How to Naturally Help your Skin to Heal Itself
As I had said, one of the biggest causes of this deterioration of the extracellular matrix is pollution and sun exposure, so be careful when exposing yourself to the elements. Try to give up smoking if you haven’t already done so, and don’t forget to wear sun block whenever you go out. And of course, by now you have probably already heard about the wonderful new developments by researchers into the unbelievable properties of biological ingredients found in nature when applied topically to these affected areas. In case you weren’t aware, people are looking for these skin care products because these natural ingredients (such as the secretions that snails produce to protect themselves) have been found to enhance the production of new collagen and elastin in the extracellular matrix. If you haven’t been able to try any of these natural products yet, make sure you try them also, because dedicating yourself to applying them several times a day, and protecting yourself from harmful UV rays when outside, will help you to repair deteriorated skin before it’s too late!