How OS-01 Can Help Your Collagen Levels As You Age

How OS-01 Can Help Your Collagen Levels As You Age

From smoothie powders to anti-aging creams, collagen seems to be everywhere these days. So what is collagen and why is it so important to our skin health? Join us as we take a closer look at collagen and what we can do to maintain healthy levels of this protein within our skin as we age.

Reference Lab

May 31, 2023

01 What is collagen?

The most abundant protein in the body, collagen is one of the main structural proteins that gives skin its firmness and volume. Throughout our lives, our skin is constantly creating new collagen to help repair damage and replenish levels. This regeneration is thanks mostly to fibroblasts, cells that specialize in the creation of collagen and other connective tissues. ¹

As we age, collagen naturally decreases by about 1-1.5% per year. ² This decline can be especially pronounced in women, who lose on average 30% of their skin’s collagen in the five years after menopause. ³ With less collagen to keep it looking plump and firm, skin begins to show telltale signs of aging like fine lines, deeper wrinkles, and skin laxity.

02 Why does collagen decrease with age?

Like much of skin aging, collagen degradation is caused by a confluence of both extrinsic and intrinsic aging factors. Sun exposure, which is responsible for up to 80% of extrinsic aging, leads to the rapid development of collagen-degrading enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Intrinsic aging factors triggered by our genetics also gradually increase MMPs as we age, leading to even more collagen degradation every year.

While the destruction of existing collagen by MMPs is certainly central to the aging process, the skin’s failure to replace damaged collagen with fresh protein is also a major contributor to collagen decline. In recent studies, researchers found that the presence of damaged collagen in severely photodamaged skin inhibits the creation of new collagen. This is partly due to the fact that damaged collagen does not support the mechanical tension that’s necessary for fibroblasts to efficiently create new collagen. Plus, as fibroblasts themselves experience aging, they become less efficient at creating new collagen. This is due to cellular senescence, the accumulation of aged zombie cells that induce aging in neighboring cells. All types of cells are vulnerable to senescence–even collagen-synthesizing fibroblasts. As more and more fibroblasts fall into senescence, the skin can no longer maintain robust collagen production.

So how much does collagen really decrease over time? Researchers have found that collagen production in people over 80 is just 25% of what it is in young adults. Of the 75% decrease, 45% is attributed to fibroblast senescence and the remaining 30% to other factors including reduced mechanical tension. ⁴

Adapted from

03 Maintain healthy collagen levels with OS-01

Preserving collagen production as we age keeps our skin stronger with every passing year. That’s why we developed OS-01, the first peptide that has been shown to reduce the accumulation of senescent fibroblasts by up to 50% in skin, as shown in lab studies on in vitro cultures from patient-derived samples (Zonari, et al). By preventing fibroblasts from falling into senescence, OS-01 helps maintain the cellular engines that keep the skin supplied with fresh, new collagen.

04 How does OS-01 prevent collagen degradation?

We know OS-01 keeps our fibroblasts healthy so they can create new collagen. But can it also prevent collagen degradation in the first place? To find out if OS-01 shields against the collagen-degrading effects of UV radiation, our scientists exposed in vitro human dermal fibroblasts to UVB radiation then immediately treated them with the OS-01 peptide. As expected, cells exposed to UVB radiation alone expressed significantly higher levels of collagen-degrading MMP3. However, cells that were immediately treated with the OS-01 peptide after exposure did not experience a significant increase in MMP3, indicating that the OS-01 peptide can prevent UVB-induced MMP3 expression (Zonari, et al). This means that the OS-01 peptide may help prevent degradation induced by photodamage, a leading extrinsic cause of collagen loss.

Expression analysis of human dermal fibroblasts without treatment, exposed to 0.1 J/cm2 UVB and exposed to UVB followed by treatment with 12.5 μM OS-01 peptide. Data was normalized to the expression of untreated human dermal fibroblasts not exposed to UVB. Data representative of ≥3 independent experiments in triplicate. (*p<0.05) (Zonari, et al)

05 How does OS-01 support collagen production?

To further validate the impact of OS-01 on collagen production, our team analyzed whether the peptide’s effects correlated to an increase in a key collagen production marker. The data provided a clear result. In a lab study examining the dermis of ex vivo human skin samples, the OS-01 peptide was shown to increase a key marker associated with collagen production, COL1A1. It also increased a key marker associated with cell proliferation, MKI67 (Zonari, et al). This data indicates that OS-01 can support the creation of more collagen-producing cells, which likely contributes to an overall increase in collagen production.

Expression analysis of ex vivo human skin samples (35, 55, and 79 yr) exposed to the OS-01 peptide (12.5uM) over 5 days, analyzed in the dermis (**p<0.01) (Zonari, et al).

06 Do OneSkin Topical Supplements support collagen?

To ensure that our Topical Supplements provide the collagen-boosting effects of OS-01, we tested the expression of the same marker, COL1A1, on ex vivo skin samples exposed to OS-01 FACE, and found that topical treatment with OS-01 FACE significantly increased COL1A1 (Zonari, et al).

When formulating OS-01 EYE, we performed a similar lab study and found that exposure to OS-01 EYE increased COL1A1 and decreased a key marker associated with collagen degradation, MMP1, in ex vivo human eyelid skin.

This shows that OS-01 FACE and OS-01 EYE may help improve collagen biosynthesis and retention on the cellular level similarly to the results observed with the OS-01 peptide alone – giving you an easy way to protect and maintain healthy collagen for years to come.

07 Key Takeaways

  • Collagen is one of the main structural proteins in the skin that gives it firmness and volume. As we age, collagen production decreases.
  • Both extrinsic and intrinsic aging factors damage existing collagen and increase senescence, which makes it difficult for collagen-producing fibroblasts to replace damaged collagen.
  • The OS-01 peptide has been shown to reduce the accumulation of senescent fibroblasts by up to 50% (Zonari, et al), helping to maintain the engines that keep the skin supplied with fresh new collagen.
  • In lab studies, the OS-01 peptide has also been shown to help protect against UV-induced collagen degradation and increase key markers associated with collagen production (Zonari, et al).
  • With the OS-01 peptide at the core of their formulas, both OS-01 FACE & OS-01 EYE have been shown to increase a key marker associated with collagen production in lab studies on human skin samples.
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