10-07-2017 | Dermatologist

What are proteoglycans?

Surely you have heard of these molecules and their benefits on the skin. In fact, there are many existing cosmetics that contain them. But really, what are proteoglycans?

They are molecules made up that shape the structure of the cells, and are joined to the cell membrane and the extracellular matrix. They have different functions on the integumentary tissue (skin, appendages and cartilage) and are particularly relevant those which we can find in the part of the skin which has contact to the outside.

Depending on their composition, based on proteins and other elements, the proteoglycans have different functions. The main function is for the cells to communicate with the outside. Depending on the composition and structure they will have different functions, for example, the heparan sulphate (anticoagulation) or the chondroitin sulphate (joint support).

Effects of proteoglycans on the skin

We will focus on the properties that, at a cellular level:

  1. Hydration: Proteoglycans act to retain the hydration in the extracellular space. Given the greater structure and molecular weight, they retain and trap the water molecules to initiate the exchange at the cell membrane. This means that they give appropriate hydration to the skin.
  2. Structure: The structure gives support and its composition helps smooth the skin, because it aids the creation of intermediate molecules that regulate the entry and exit of elements into the cell. As well as encouraging the reconstruction of tissue degenerated by external aggressions, they also avoid, to a certain extent, UVA and UVB rays.
  3. Partnership: Proteoglycans allow molecular relationships between elements associated with them and other molecules, for example collagen or hyaluronic acid. Therefore the skin maintains its firmness (avoiding wrinkles and expression lines).

Functions on the skin

The proteoglycans act at dermis level, therefore strengthening the skin’s structure:

  • Giving suppleness to the skin, hydrating and maintaining it’s hydration throughout the day, which is ideal for any skin-type. Especially for dry skin.
  • Making the skin firm, contributing to it’s radiance and good appearance.
  • Acting with anti-wrinkle properties. 

How are they used?

As we have said, proteoglycans are glycoproteins that whose main application is to repair dehydrated skin, improve collagen formation and increase the synergistic effect that it has, along with other nourishing trace elements and antioxidants such as vitamin C.

They are usually sold in products such as ampoules or serums and their application is very simple.

Because proteoglycans have a gel-like consistency, an overall effect is achieved with only a small amount of product.

Therefore after gently cleansing the face, enjoy the benefits of proteoglycans on your skin and you will soon notice their effect as your skin regains its lost deep hydration.


autor
DermatologistExpert in skin care

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