What are Collagen and Elastin?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and it is found in the skin, bones and connective tissues. This strong, fibrous tissue connects and supports tissues including your skin, bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage and organs. There are over 16 types of collagen, but about 80 percent of the collagen in your body is either type I, II or III collagen. Type I collagen is stronger than steel wool gram for gram. Collagen is the main protein in connective tissues, and your body needs it for your skin to be supple and firm.
Elastin is another essential protein that is found in connective tissue and it is another protein that is vital to your skin. Elastin is responsible for giving structure to your skin and your organs, and it allows your skin to return to its normal shape after stretching or contracting. Collagen and elastin work together to keep your skin firm and to help it retain its shape. As you age, your natural collagen levels slow – after the age of 20 you lose about one percent of your total collagen per year – and when your skin loses collagen, it also loses its elasticity. Fine lines and wrinkles appear and become far more prominent as your skin loses its collagen levels.
How to Increase Collagen and Elastin
Although you can’t stop your body from losing collagen, there are lifestyle habits that you can adopt to help replenish your collagen levels.
- Wear Sunscreen – You know that you need to wear sunscreen every day to protect you from signs of aging, but you may not know exactly how sunscreen helps you. Both UVA and UVB rays do damage to your skin by weakening the skin’s natural support of collagen and elastin. As this damage occurs, fine lines and wrinkles become more visible.
- Use Good Skin Care – The needs of your skin change, and as you age, antioxidants and other anti-aging ingredients become even more essential to your routine. Antioxidants help your skin fight off oxidative stress and they also help your skin maintain collagen and elastin levels. Retinol, the anti-aging wonder ingredient, is another important thing to look for in your skin care products. Retinol stimulates cell production, which helps to reveal newer, healthier and firmer skin.
- Eat Well – What you put into your body appears on the outside of the body, so it’s important to fuel yourself with healthy foods. Eggs, beans and seeds are all a great addition to your diet because they all contain a high level of collagen-boosting agents. Antioxidant-rich foods like pomegranates and berries help protect damage to your body’s collagen levels.
Collagen and elastin are crucial for firm, supple and strong skin. While aging is inevitable, an overall healthy lifestyle that includes a nutritious diet, plenty of exercise and great skin care can significantly impact how your skin responds to aging. Boost your collagen and elastin by using the proper skin care ingredients and eating a diet with collagen-building foods to see skin that looks and acts younger.