Fibres

These consist of white collagen fibres and yellow elastic fibres.

White fibres are formed from non-elastic fibres of the protein collagen, lying in layers. They give the skin tensile strength and flexibility, and they bind structures together.

Yellow elastic fibres are formed from the protein elastin. They are scattered throughout the matrix. These highly elastic fibres are capable of stretch and recoil. They give the skin elasticity, enabling it to stretch and return to normal. This is important for pregnancy and obesity. If the skin is over-stretched small tears occur in the dermis. These can be seen as white lines called 'stretch marks'. With ageing, the skin loses elasticity and becomes wrinkled. Care must be taken when massaging older clients not to further stretch the skin. All fibres are embedded in a jelly-like matrix. This is capable of absorbing water, giving firmness to the skin.

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