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   Skin Cell Basics
Aging Skin
As skin becomes older it tends to become thinner and bruises easier because both the dermis and epidermis have a lowered cell growth and the tiny nourishing blood vessels are closer to the skins surface.
Dermal fibroblasts are the chief cells in the dermis and skin epithelial cells in the epidermis. But there are other cells present that also play a significant role even though they are present in lower abundance. Lower cell growth means that both the dermis and epidermis become thinner due to a decreased number of cells as well as decreased matrix components, collagens, elastin and proteoglycans. These constituents are all produced by healthy matrix (skin) cells. Certain hormone-like stimulating molecules are necessary for this to happen. These fortuitously are contained within the internal protein structures of the elastin as well as some of the collagens.
These are released with skin remodeling (which is going on constantly). They bind to special receptors on the surfaces of a variety of cells and cause them to release cytokines. Cytokines then stimulate the cells of the dermis and epidermis to produce collagens and elastin and also to divide and multiply. It's also probable that the hormone-like peptides of elastin act directly and not through cytokines to promote changes in the matrix. Whatever the pathway, the end result is that the integrity of the skin is maintained, albeit at a lower level in aging skin.
Collagen and Elastin
These are the main connective tissue proteins of the body. They are in higher concentrations than any other proteins. Collagens are a large family of proteins of which there are over 20 members. The chief collagens are types I through IV. Type I is found in skin, bone, teeth, tendons and lung, type II in cartilage, type III in blood vessels, type IV in basement membranes of all organs. Collagens are arranged in 3-stranded super-helices which give incredible stability to these rod-like molecules. Thus they are the major building blocks, like bricks and mortar, of the supporting structures of the body.
Elastin on the other hand is almost the opposite of collagen. It is an elastomer with unusual flexibility and deformability. It is one of the few "natural" elastomers of nature. Two other elastomers are resilin found in the grasshopper wing hinge and abductin found in the hinge of bivalve mollusks. Elastin contains a high percentage of non-charged amino acids rendering it a very hydrophobic (water-disliking or oil-like) protein. Because of this dislike of water, it folds when relaxed into large "oiled coil" configurations all the water-disliking oily amino acids turned inwards. With stretching (capable of up to 200%) the hydrophobic amino acid side chains are forced to associate with water of the surrounding environment. They don't like this and want to pull back together. This is the driving force for the elasticity of elastin. Elastin is crosslinked by a unique amino acid called desmosine. This is a UV-sensitive molecule so that with prolonged sunlight exposure it is destroyed. The familiar weathered appearance of sun-damaged skin is due, in part, to desmosine destruction in elastic fibers. Cigarette smoking also destroys elastin. When the desmosine is destroyed, the elastic fiber lose their elasticity and fall apart.
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Other Damage
Abnormal aging is seen with conditions which attack the elastic fibers of the dermis, things such as heavy UV exposure, mechanical stress and exposure to toxins. Toxins might be systemic (internal), such as cigarette smoke-induced toxins or external such as chronic chemical exposures. Removal of the toxin usually improves the skin quality but not necessarily completely. Once the elastic fibers of the skin have been destroyed it is difficult for them to come back to their original form because with age we've lost some of the vital "machinery" for making healthy fibers. Thus, it's important for us to preserve the integrity of the elastic fibers of our body both in skin as well as other elastin-rich organs such as lung and blood vessels. How do we do this. Well, a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and low in saturated fats, judicious use of sun-blockers and adequate protective clothing when we are in the sun, cessation of exposure to cigarette smoke, are just a few of the measures we can take. It's a long list but it's well worth the effort.
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Skin Remodeling
A unique property of elastin is the hormonally active peptides hidden in its structure. These are released through the action of certain enzymes, either produced by the cells of the matrix or supplied from an external source as in a laboratory environment. They form the active ingredients of the proprietary peptide mix contained in Elastica which we manufacture under extremely carefully controlled conditions using an enzyme called thermolysin. There are at least a dozen of these bioactive peptide sequences within the structure of elastin. They are small, each less than 1000 Daltons. They consist of such amino acid strings as valine-valine-proline-glutamine (VVPQ) or valine-alanine-proline-glycine (VAPG). What seems to happen in our bodies is that matrix cells release enzymes called proteases during a remodeling event. Proteases break down the matrix proteins to remove them to make room for new proteins to be laid down. The action of the proteases releases the bioactive peptides of the elastin. These attach to specific receptors on the matrix cell surfaces. These attachments start a cascade of events going on inside the cells resulting in cell division and or the turning on of protein export machinery to put new collagens and elastin into the extracellular matrix. The end result is a restructured matrix with many more cells as well as enhanced extra-cellular components in the form of collagen and elastic fibers.
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Elastica Skin Balancing™ technology and its “Patented” active ingredient “V2PQ” is the brainchild of Dr. Lawrence Sandberg, MD PhD, a top Elastin scientist. These highly effective products represent the rigors of renowned University Laboratory Science, Private, and Government grants, as well as Double Blind Studies conducted by Consumer Testing Laboratories. The deep insights and collaboration by our connective tissue experts, as well as extensive time and resources spent to deliver a worthy product to market, brings you the best in Anti-Aging Skin Care. Our scientists are dedicated Medical doctors who possess an impressive lifelong commitment and recognition to Elastin Protein research and discoveries. Be assured that this is real science and if anyone can produce a true Anti-Aging product, it is this team of skin cell specialists!
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