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What is Keratin?

What is some basic Information about Keratin?

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Keratin is the basic structure that forms our hair, nails, and skin. It is an amino acid that binds together to form different structures from soft and elastic to durable and hard. Made up from keratinocytes, keratin is made up of cells inside the body that are being pushed up to the surface. Once in the surface, these cells eventually die but form a protective barrier for the body. These are in the structure of hair, skin, and nails. For animals, some would form the thick and strong horns.

Keratin is very useful, aside from providing a protective barrier to the underlying soft tissues and cells, keratin also would serve as an insulator keeping the cells underneath in good condition. Keratin contains cysteine disulfide which does not allow keratin to be dissolved easily. The cysteine disulfide creates disulfide bridges that are helix in shape which makes the structure strong and withstand certain conditions. The formation of this bond would create the structure of the keratin, like hair or nails. A flexible and soft bond would often create the hair and the skin while the stronger and harder bonds create the horns of the animals. Keratin contains high amount of sulfur which creates a distinct odor when burned.

Since the keratin is often exposed, sometimes they become brittle and dry, which is always evident in the human hair. The skin is prone to dryness too especially when the keratin the skin are shed off faster than normal rate, as with the case of patients experiencing psoriasis. These dryness and brittleness would look unhealthy and unpleasing to the eye, there are several ways to combat them and bring moisture back to the keratin structure.

• Eating gelatins can make the hair, nails, and skin moist and healthy-looking.
• Use moisturizer such as lotion or hair conditioner to keep them from being dry.
• Protect self from the extreme heat of the sun.

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