What Do Glycoproteins Do to Skin?

What Do Glycoproteins Do to Skin?

Glyco in science terms means “sugar” and proteins are found floating in and around the membrane cells, so the simple way of explaining what glycoproteins are, is basically proteins with sugar attached to them. Sounds simple enough, but there is so much more to these clever particles and how they benefit the skin. Let’s find out together what exactly are glycoproteins and what you can expect from them in your daily skincare routine.

What does glycoproteins do to skin?

Due to the fact that glycoproteins are considered a type of peptide, they are naturally occurring on the skin’s outer surface as well as in the body. When used in conjunction with ingredients such as glycerin, ceramides and hyaluronic acid you are able to keep your skin at its healthiest state with a smooth, glowing finish to the complexion, over time you can also expect the glycoproteins to build a natural resilience to the surface and skin barrier making it more capable at protecting itself from further skin damage whilst repairing any that has already occurred.

What are glycoproteins derived from?

Derived from algae, glycoproteins are a potent combination of intracellular proteins, peptides and amino acids praised for their abilities for rejuvenating, revitalising and oxygenating properties. They are able to strengthen the skin’s natural protective barrier enabling it to protect itself against skin damage from environmental aggressors and other free radicals. With extensive research glycoproteins have been shown to boost oxygen helping the skin to bring the healthiest layer of cells to the surface of the skin. Another skin benefit is the fact that glycoproteins are able to aid hydration and moisturise the skin by binding water to the outer surface leaving the skin rejuvenated, youthful and healthier. 

What are examples of glycoproteins?

Now this bit can get a bit complicated, a glycoprotein is developed when protein attaches to a carbohydrate throughout the process of glycosylation. You will also find that the structure of glycoproteins has chains of carbohydrate attached to a polypeptide making glycoprotein have a lower percentage of non-protein content compared to other similar proteins structures. This means there are a great number of examples of proteins that can develop into glycoproteins, here is a selection of the most common examples naturally found:

  • Collagen
  • Transferrin
  • Antibodies
  • Hormones
  • Mucins
  • Ceruloplasmin

There are also many more, all of which form the same structure and provides the same results when in the skin surface and throughout the body.

Where is glycoprotein made?

Glycoproteins are proteins that contain attached sugar residues that often dramatically change the chemical make-up of the protein to which they become attached to.  Both of these particles need each other to function properly when working in the surface layer of the skin. These cells also play an important role in the overall health of your skin by establishing cell-cell interactions and protecting the skin from infection from bacteria and viruses.

What are the three classes of glycoproteins?

There are three types of glycoproteins based on their structure and synthesis: N-linked glycoproteins, O-linked glycoproteins and nonenzymatic glycosylated glycoproteins.

N-linked glycoproteins

These cells are synthesized and modified within two membrane-bounds in one cell. One part is a rough endoplasmic and the other is called Golgi apparatus, this is the compound that makes the glycoprotein and is found in the surface layer of the skin with the addition of amino acids making a structure called polypeptide. There are over twenty amino acids that can synthesize the N-linked glycoprotein. One other unique trait of this collection of proteins is the fact it contains carbohydrates which is an additional overall benefit for the performance and general look, feel and health of the skin.

O-linked glycoproteins

O-linked glycoproteins are usually synthesized by the addition of sugar residues to the polypeptides in the Golgi apparatus, but unlike N-linked glycoproteins, O-linked glycoproteins are synthesized by the addition of single sugar residue at a time. Once they are attached, they become part of the extracellular matrix that is part of the skin and its structure.

Nonenzymatic glycosylation

What makes nonenzymatic is how the glycoproteins are created by the chemical addition of sugar to polypeptides. The main factors that that control glycosylation are simply time and concentration of sugars. You will also find that nonenzymatic glycosylation can occur more frequently for those with a higher circulating levels of glucose, this is therefore linked with the monitoring and long-term maintenance of blood sugar levels to those who suffer with diabetes.

There you have a run-down of the three classes of glycoproteins and how they function, you will find there are a selection of various products that contain each of these protein structures that can benefit the skin and body. 

What are glacial glycoproteins?

Glacial glycoproteins are is protein derived from sea glaciers to help protect the skin as well as deeply hydrating by locking in moisture and preventing water loss from the skin. Compared to other forms of glycoproteins, these are able to work well with other skin ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, squalene and niacinamide, all of which can used in conjunction with glacial glycoproteins leaving you with skin that remains in its heathiest state with the protective barrier fully functioning and containing the correct levels of water and oil.

Glycosylation versus glycation

Glycoproteins get their sugar from an enzymatic process that can help the molecule it attached itself to will function correctly. The other known process is called glycation which does not have an enzymatic process but instead covalently bonds sugars to proteins and lipids. Glycation also naturally occurs during the ageing process and is sometimes accelerated in diabetic patients with high levels of glucose found in their blood.

So, there you have a little more information about glycoproteins, which generally speaking provides numerous benefits to the skin from supporting the skin structure and protecting the skin from infection and other damage. By treating different areas of the skin and depending on the different hydration levels the skin is able to fully function and remain healthy, moisturised and feeling comfortable.

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