Collagen and elastin are abundant key structural proteins in the dermis, the skin’s middle layer and each has a distinct function. In youthful skin, both are in abundance but deplete with age.
Benefit 1: Strength and Elasticity
In the skin, collagen provides structural support, rather like scaffolding provides support to a building. Collagen is produced throughout life
Elastin gives skin its elasticity enabling it to stretch but is not as plentiful as collagen. Elastin production stops at puberty. Both collagen and elastin are made of fibroblasts.
Benefit 2: Anti-Aging
• Fine lines –are often the result of damaged collagen and elastin fibres. As the fibres break down, the support structure beneath the skin is weakened, resulting in fine lines and, eventually, deep wrinkles.
• Texture – Collagen and elastin also play an important role in maintaining the skin’s texture and collagen helps maintain healthy moisture levels.
• Shape –Sagging, jowls, and loss of contour result when the collagen and elastin fibres that support the skin’s structure are weakened or damaged.
Benefit 3: Healthier-Looking Skin
When the dermis receives a sufficient boost of collagen and elastin, it looks healthy, dewy even skin tone, and smooth texture.
The best way to maintain radiance is to protect your skin from damage. Several elements may contribute to free radical production and collagen and elastin breakdown
- UV rays
- Poor diet
- Environmental pollution
- What Happens to Your Skin When Collagen and Elastin Are Damaged?
- Healthy skin of an adult has 90% collagen fibre and less than 10% elastin fibre.
- The normal healthy skin collagen-elastin ratio is 10:1. but damaged skin does not have this ratio as the production of collagen and elastin gets affected by various reasons.
- When damaged, collagen and elastin fibres are unable to uphold
- The shape and structure of the skin
Can Collagen and Elastin Damage Be Prevented?
It is a fact that collagen and elastin levels are depleted with age. However, both proteins can be bolstered by increasing the skin’s resilience by incorporating a few self-care practices that promote the skin’s health:
Avoid drinking alcohol excessively
- Dehydrates skin
- Causes vascular weakening and a ruddy complexion
- Sugar in certain alcoholic drinks enables a process called glycation which
- leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres.
- Alcohol also results in inflammation of the skin again leading to collagen and elastin breakdown
Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily – UV is the biggest cause of ageing and generates free radicals which cause collagen and elastin to break down
Do not smoke – Starves the skin of oxygen
Eat a nutrient and anti-oxidant-rich diet – Anti-oxidants neutralise free radical damage that causes collagen and elastin breakdown
Use topical anti-oxidants such as vitamin C
- Vitamin C helps the body to produce and store both collagen and elastin. A lack of this essential vitamin can reduce antioxidants in the skin and make it damage-prone.
- Niacinamide, a major form of vitamin B3, can help you maintain skin elasticity by minimizing the enlarged pores of your skin.
- 4. Add vitamin A to your diet, as it helps in the regeneration of new skin cells and protects the collagen layer of your skin.
Get enough sleep – The body requires sufficient sleep to keep up with the production of collagen and elastin. Lack of sleep will disturb the natural cycle of protein production, resulting in early ageing signs.
Use collagen supplements – Ideally hydrolysed powders
Avoid excess stress – Chronic stress leads to chronically elevated stress hormones that damage collagen and impair immune function and lowers collagen production
Avoid sugar – Sugar causes glycation which leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres and ultimately wrinkling. Refined sugars and carbohydrates cause insulin spikes which lead to inflammation and collagen breakdown
Use skincare products that are proven to stimulate collagen and elastin (as opposed to creams that state they contain collagen as the size of the collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed via the skin)
- Examples: hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, retinol, peptides, alpha hydroxy acids
- Have regular skin treatments designed to stimulate collagen, for example, skin peels, micro-needling, radio frequency skin tightening and LED light therapy
- Caffeine promotes collagen production
- Caffeine inhibits the enzyme Prolidase
Skin reflects health and wellness. Collagen and elastin work together to keep our skin tight, healthy and youthful. But skin damage and growing age can reduce the collagen and elastin production in our skin and make it look dull, wrinkled, and saggy. Therefore, it’s important to protect collagen and elastin to keep your skin healthy.