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Most people have never heard of matrix metalloproteinases (or, MMPs). Yet, these substances are enzymes that can have a significant, lasting impact on your skin. MMPs work by chipping away at the structural integrity of your skin causing the deterioration of collagen, elastin, and other proteins. There are dozens of MMP enzymes; MMP-1, also known as matrix collagenase, is the enzyme that breaks down collagen fibers. While they are always present in the body, their population increases as a result of aging, sun exposure, and other environmental influences.

Today, we'll review the basics of collagen and how it contributes to the firm and youthful appearance of your skin. I'll also explain why sunscreen is essential for preventing MMP-1 enzymes from breaking down collagen fibers.

Basics Of Collagen  

There are several types of collagen throughout the body, but our focus is on Type-1, which supports the structure of your skin. It is comprised of an interlocking network of fibers. As we age, those fibers break down. Other factors that contribute to its deterioration are exposure to the sun's UV rays, spread of free radicals, pollution, and cigarette smoke. As they deteriorate, fine lines and wrinkles appear. By taking steps to inhibit the MMP-1 enzyme population from growing, you can protect your skin's collagen fibers, slowing their breakdown in the process.

The Importance Of Sunscreen  

Protecting your skin from UV exposure is one of the most effective ways to inhibit the MMP-1 population. Well formulated sunscreens not only inhibit the synthesis of MMPs, but also prevent free radical oxidation. Because free radicals contribute to the deterioration of collagen, sunscreens perform a valuable dual function. Plus, keep in mind that the presence of MMPs increases with age. As a result, the older we become, the more vulnerable the collagen fibers are. By using a sunscreen that offers broad spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays, you can slow the spread and affect of MMPs.

How To Protect Your Skin  

There are several factors that can cause damage to the structural integrity of your skin. So, it's important to use a multi-pronged approach to provide the right level of care. While product choice will vary depending upon your skin type, it's important to include ingredients such as antioxidants, collagen boosters, exfoliants, cell communicating agents and sunscreens to your skin care regimen.

Following are 3 products that you should consider adding to your daily skin care regimen:

[Link Removed] - A high potency retinoid formulation that not only stimulates collagen production but also prevents against free radical damage.  

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed] 

Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jenz ~ wrote Feb 9, 2009
    • Speaking of collagen, I saw an interview that revealed some japanese women actually drink collagen.
      What are the effects of this? Is it bad for you?

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Onevision wrote Feb 9, 2009
    • NEVER heard of that, but I am curious!

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Pharmagirl wrote Feb 18, 2009
    • I read that report too. As I understand it, apart from a very dubious company sponsored study, there is very little evidence to support its benefits.

      As with anything taken orally, it’s broken down into individual components (in this case amino acids) so what you‘re getting is a good source of protein. So while drinking collagen isn’t bad for you, it’s certainly not going to help replace lost collagen or boost collagen production.

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