Keratin, more than just skin !

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Did you realize that your largest organ is your skin? Yes it’s considered 16 percent of your body weight or a total area of about 20 square feet, think the size of your 5’x4’ window. Let’s consider the importance of our outer covering. Without our skin being able to modulate the inside and outside environment we couldn’t exist.
 
As a quick overview, skin keeps our temperature regulated with sweating, protects us against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light, minimizes trauma to internal areas of our body and skin protects us from pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and fungi) along with isolating us from other outside toxins.
 
Let’s not forget the skin’s role in our sensory perception of the world; From recognizing temperature to position and vibration, as some examples. 
 

 Our Skin Cells:

 
Your skin is made up of a number of types of cells, the primary skin cells, called keratinocytes, produce keratin.1 They constitute 90% of our epidermal layer. 
These cells are gradually pushed to the surface of the skin by newer cells, where they harden and then eventually shed off. The hardened keratinocytes (corneocytes) are packed closely together and seal the skin off from the outside environment.
 

Keratin:

Keratin is an insoluble protein found in body tissues, such as skin, nails, and hair, and it’s what helps give them strength, structure, and resilience to protect against damage and trauma.
 
Where does keratin play a role? Keratin has two main functions: to attach cells to each other and to form an outer protective layer on the skin. It’s a large, complicated molecule that makes cells stronger and can be beneficial when added to our skin, if it has a way to be carried into our cells.
 
Any idea where the keratin comes from in your shampoo, conditioner and even medical products? There are 4 primary sources….. from feathers to hooves and horns, from skin to wool and hair. You guessed it, livestock and poultry make up the major sources for this molecule.
 
What most consumers don’t appreciate is that there are a number of ways to extract the keratin from the “waste” products. Most commercial suppliers use harsh and ecologically dangerous chemicals to do their extraction. For consumer products, either small fragments or insoluble keratin has been used in hair care products. In order for the keratin to be effective and bind to hair, formaldehyde or formaldehyde precursors, plus high heat are used to solubilize the keratin. This is all a very dangerous process. According to the American Cancer Society, formaldehyde is a well-recognized carcinogen. 
 
Only recently has a newer system been put into place using steam and water extraction, a much more environmentally friendly approach. 
 

The Science:

Keratin is a major structural molecule which belongs to a family of intermediate filament (IF) proteins. These proteins form alpha-helical coiled pairs (dimers) that assemble laterally, end-to-end, to build a matrix of mechanical strength for a keratinocyte cell. Otherwise, without keratin, cells would become fragile and be disrupted with physical stress.2
 
Structure of Alpha Keratin
 

PlexProteinTM:

 

We are introducing our patented skin protectant, PlexProteinTM. The magic of PlexProtein is that it combines a specific polymer with a special keratin protein. This combination makes keratin very water soluble. The result…..a technology  that delivers bio-active keratin to the skin layers, making major changes in compromised skin.
Research has shown that functional keratin repairs damaged skin, from sunburns to 2nd degree burns, from cuts and lesions to surgical incisions and radiation-induced skin injury.3