The key difference between collagen and keratin is that collagen is a protein that makes up most of the connective tissues in the human body, while keratin is a protein that makes up much of the skin, hair, and nails in the human body.
Collagen and keratin are proteins found abundantly in human tissues. These proteins are very important in making various structures in the human body. The defective formation of these proteins leads to different diseases in humans. Furthermore, both of these also have very important commercial uses, such as in surgeries and cosmetics.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein involved in making most of the connective tissues in the human body. It is also found in skin, tendons, bones, and cartilage. It is the most abundant structural protein in animals. Collagen normally provides structural support to tissues and plays vital roles in cellular processes such as tissue repair, immune response, cellular communication, and cellular migration. The cells in the connective tissues called fibroblast cells usually produce and maintain collagen.
As people grow older, the collagen becomes fragmented. The function of the fibroblast cells also becomes impaired. This ultimately slows down collagen production. All these changes, together with the loss of another key structural protein called elastin, lead to the signs of aging, such as sagging skin and wrinkles. Therefore, oral and topical collagen products like supplements and facial creams are popular for treating aging conditions like wrinkles, loss of skin hydration, and joint pain. Collagen can also be bought as collagen powder, capsule, or liquid form for the above purposes. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a disease involving problems in collagen formation. It is a rare inherited condition that affects connective tissue creating stretchy skin and fragile skin.
What is Keratin?
Keratin is a protein involved in making up much of the skin, hair, and nails in the human body. Keratin protein can also be found in internal organs and glands. It is a protective protein. The cells containing keratin protein are less prone to scratching and tearing. Moreover, keratin can be derived from the feathers, horns, and wool of other animals. Keratin is normally found in alpha or beta forms. It is made from keratinocytes.
It is a very popular ingredient in hair cosmetics. This is because keratin is a structural building block of the hair, and many people believe that keratin supplements can help strengthen the hair and makes it look healthier. Moreover, hair usually tends to be smoother and easier to manage after usage of keratin treatment. Two diseases involved in keratin formation in humans are epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBHS) and epidermolytic hyperkeratosis (EH).
What are the Similarities Between Collagen and Keratin?
- Collagen and keratin are proteins that are found abundantly in human tissues.
- Both proteins are biopolymers made from amino acids.
- They carry out very important structural functions in the body.
- Both proteins have very extensive industrial uses.
What is the Difference Between Collagen and Keratin?
Collagen is a protein that is important for making most of the connective tissues in the human body, while keratin is a protein important for making up much of the skin, hair, and nails in the human body. Thus, this is the key difference between collagen and keratin. Furthermore, collagen is produced from fibroblast cells, while keratin is produced from keratinocyte cells.
The below infographic presents the differences between collagen and keratin in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Collagen vs Keratin
Collagen and keratin are two types of proteins found abundantly in human tissues and have very important structural functions. Collagen is involved in making up most of the connective tissues in the human body, while keratin is involved in making up much of the skin, hair, and nails in the human body. So, this is the key difference between collagen and keratin.
1. “bkv collagen 02” By © Nevit Dilmen (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Hierarchical structure of hair in the cortex and cuticle” By Yang F, Zhang Y, Rheinstädter MC – (CC BY 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia