How to Protect and Retain the Skin’s Elasticity
The connective tissue known as collagen is responsible for skin elasticity. Skin is the largest organ of the body and is constantly exposed to several influences, both inside your body and outside. These influences slowly affect the condition of the skin – including the elasticity of the skin.
Elastin is a protein found in the skin and tissue of the body. It helps to keep skin flexible but tight, and is the protein responsible for helping the skin return to its original position when it’s pulled or pinched. Elastin also helps keep skin smooth as it stretches to accommodate normal activities like stretching, flexing, or opening and closing the mouth.
As our skin ages, it loses its ability to spring back into shape as elasticity and collagen levels deplete. Skincare products with elastin listed as an ‘anti-aging’ ingredient have little effect on skin’s elasticity, in spite of their claims. They may coat the skin which helps it skin retain moisture and look healthier, but they cannot provide more flexibility since the proteins in these products do not penetrate the skin’s outer layer, which would be necessary in order to make the skin more elastic.
Protecting and Preserving Elastin
Loss of elasticity is a natural aspect of aging, however, there are a number of ways we can help either speed up or slow down the process.
As the largest and most exposed organ of the body, the skin is constantly bombarded with influences that affect its condition – these influences come from the environment as well as the food we eat, affecting the skin’s condition from the inside and the outside.
Things that Promote Loss of Elasticity:
- Sun Damage
- Fat Depletion
- Facial Movement and Expression
- Loss of Estrogen
- Poor Diet
Things You Can Do to Help Prevent Loss of Elasticity:
Neither of these strategies when implemented alone, is a panacea. The key is to develop a routine that embraces most or all of these strategies for the best defense against the loss of elastin.
Sunscreen – One of the fundamental changes you can make to protect the skin from aging, is to protect the outer layer with a broad spectrum sunscreen every day. The daily use of sunscreen has far-reaching effects on the health of the skin. It prevents abnormal cell growth and hypermelanin production. These alone can result in malformed elastin, collagen deterioration and more.
AHAs and BHA – The daily use of AHAs (Alpha hydroxy acids) and BHA (beta hydroxy acid) products or treatments to exfoliate the skin and encourage cellular turnover can be incredibly effective for all ages. By removing dead skin cells at the surface and allowing healthier skin cells to come to the surface, the skin not only looks healthier and rejuvenated, AHAs and BHA can stimulate the production of collagen, which in turn, protects against loss of elasticity.
Cellular Renewal and Repair Treatments – Products marketed as cellular renewal and repair treatments can reinforce the epidermis (outer layers of the skin) when formulated with skin-identical ingredients, and can help encourage healthy cell production (cell-communicating ingredients) to generate healthier collagen and elastin.
Water – Drink plenty a lot of fluids. This keeps your skin hydrated and maintains the health of collagen.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a powerful nutrient that helps keep the skin supple – it’s also a highly effective antioxidant. Antioxidants can help protect the body from free radicals, which contribute to skin damage and the appearance of aging. Vitamin C is also required for the production of collagen, which is an important structural component of skin. Choose Vitamin C-rich citrus fruits, strawberries, red bell peppers, sweet potatoes and leafy dark-green vegetables.
Vitamin A – Vitamin A is another antioxidant nutrient that can protect skin from free radical damage. Vitamin A is found in meats and other foods of animal origin including milk and eggs. However, some fruits and vegetables like carrots, canned pumpkin, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, collard greens, and tomatoes contain carotenoids that the body can convert into Vitamin A.
Vitamin E – Vitamin E preserves skin elasticity by protecting against damaging ultraviolet radiation from sun exposure. Studies suggest that topical Vitamin E decreases skin roughness, length of facial lines and wrinkle depth. Vitamin E, when consumed in the diet delivers the same protection. Food sources of Vitamin E include olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts, whole grains and green leafy vegetables.
Healthy Fats – Unsaturated fats (healthy fats), aid in the absorption of Vitamins A and E. The oils found in unsaturated fats help protect the skin cell membrane and promote elasticity. Enjoy healthy fats from oily fish such as salmon and from plant sources including flax seeds, avocado, olive oil, almonds and walnuts.
For more information on eating for a healthy skin, read the related articles below.