Skin Molecules - The Good To Know Basics

There are various names of skin components that are thrown around online, on product bottles and even on this site. It makes sense to take a minute to define them!

The word “collagen” is used immensely in the skincare industry. Many products are geared towards increasing collagen production and talk about it one way or another. So what is it exactly? Well it’s simply a protein found in our connective tissues and is in fact the most abundant protein in the human body. It can also be either rigid or compliant. There are 5 types of collagen and 3 of them are of relevance for skincare: collagen I, collagen III, collagen IV.

Collagen I: It’s the most abundant type of collagen making up about 1/3 of the total collagen found in the body’s tissues. In the dermis layer, 80% of the collagen is type I. The purpose of collagen I is simple, to resist the physical stress that the skin has to endure.

Collagen III: This is the collagen that keeps the skin smooth! It is also made during wound healing.

Collagen IV: An anchorage protein, it’s found in the base of the membrane.

Of course there are other forms of skin components that are essential to know. They include fibronectin, hyaluronic acid, and laminin-5.

Fibronectin: A form of protein that attaches cells to different types of collagen. Fibronectin is also responsible for cell migration and differentiation.

Hyaluronic Acid: This one is commonly used in many products and certainly sounds very familiar to consumers. It works to retain water in the skin tissue, hence acting as a natural moisturizer.

Lamnin-5: When the dermis is injured, that’s when laminin-5 kicks into action. In more scientific terms, it’s an adhesive glycoprotein.


Hopefully there is greater clarity on those terms now as having a basic understanding can really help figure out what the skincare products we use are doing.