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Aging: Increase Collagen and Other Matrix Proteins

How to Treat

The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a network of extracellular macromolecules, such as collagen, enzymes, and glycoproteins, that provide structural support to surrounding cells. Cell adhesion, cell-to-cell communication, and differentiation are common functions of the ECM. The ECM begins to structurally change and age due to a combination of intrinsic (chronological, hormonal, and genetic) and extrinsic factors (sun exposure, cigarette smoking, dietary habits, alcohol intake, drug abuse, and environmental aggressors such as pollution).

The main extrinsic factor responsible for structural changes is photodamage, which causes the release of collagenases and elastases that result in fragmentation of structural proteins. Current strategies of ECM remodeling and preservation are based on eliminating cellular debris and the stimulation of collagenesis, elastogenesis, and glycosaminoglycans production through the use of various peptides, antioxidants, and growth factors. One of the main mechanisms involved in preventing ECM changes is to keep free radical production (i.e., ROS, reactive oxygen species) under control.

Multiple studies support that the topical application of certain alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), peptides, botanicals, and antioxidants trigger collagen production, increasing skin firmness and decreasing fine lines. Using products that contain multifaceted ingredients, such as retinol and vigna aconitifolia seed extract, increase collagen and cell turnover. Combining peptides such as palmitoyl tripeptide-38, which stimulates the synthesis of collagen I, II, IV, fibronectin, hyaluronic acid, and laminin 5, will naturally plump the skin while decreasing the appearance of fine lines. Daily application of these advanced topical solutions is imperative to increase the components of the ECM.