Have you ever wondered why your skin develops more fine lines and wrinkles as you age? One of the biggest reasons is a decrease in the production of two essential proteins: Collagen and elastin.
Increasing your body’s production of these proteins can help your skin look plumper, smoother, and more youthful. Learn how to boost your levels of collagen and elastin below.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen accounts for nearly 30 percent of the body’s total protein. It is especially abundant in the skin, bones, muscles, and connective tissues.
Collagen is divided into five primary categories:
- Type I: This type makes up about 90 percent of the body’s collagen and provides structure to the skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
- Type II: This type makes up elastic cartilage and provides joint support.
- Type III: This type exists in the muscles, arteries, and organs.
- Type IV: This type is present in various layers of the skin.
- Type V: This type is found in the corneas, some skin layers, hair, and placental tissue.
As you age, collagen production slows, and existing collagen breaks down more quickly. Signs of decreasing collagen production include wrinkled, crepey, or sagging skin.
What is Elastin?
Elastin is another prevalent protein in the body. As its name suggests, it is stretchy (about 1,000 times stretchier than collagen) and resembles a rubber band.
Elastin is primarily found in tissues that are required to stretch, such as the lungs, bladder, and blood vessels. It’s also present in the skin and allows it to bounce back when stretched or pinched.
As with collagen, elastin in the skin decreases with age. As a result, the skin is less stretchy and also won’t shrink back into place after it’s pinched.
How to Increase Collagen and Elastin Production
Although a decrease in collagen and elastin is normal as you get older, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it.
The following are some examples of changes you can make to your diet, lifestyle, and skincare routine to increase the production of these proteins.
Take a Collagen Supplement
Some people see significant skin and joint health improvements when they add collagen peptide supplements to their diets. Many collagen supplements come in powdered form and dissolve in hot or cold foods and beverages, making them easy to incorporate into your meals or drinks.
Keep in mind that collagen supplements aren’t a quick fix. One study published by the International Journal of Dermatology found that using hydrolyzed collagen supplements for 90 days could reduce wrinkles, improve skin elasticity, and increase hydration.
Use High-Quality, Moisturizing Skincare Products
To increase collagen and elastin production and improve the overall appearance of your skin as you age, focus on skincare products that promote moisture and contain nourishing, science-backed ingredients.
The following are some examples of ingredients that have been shown to support collagen production and increase skin elasticity:
- Hyaluronic Acid: This is a natural substance found in the tissues of the eyes and joints. It stimulates collagen production and helps to smooth wrinkles and fine lines.
- Retinol: Retinol is a form of vitamin A found in many skincare products. It’s known to increase collagen and elastin production and helps to make the skin look plumper.
- Glycolic Acid: Glycolic acid stimulates specific skin renewal genes that activate collagen production. It also loosens the top layer of the skin to allow for increased moisture absorption.
- L-Lysine: This essential amino acid acts as a building block of collagen.
- L-ornithine: L-ornithine is an amino acid that stimulates skin regeneration and supports collagen production.
- L-glutamine: L-glutamine is another amino acid that supports the regenerative processes involved in skin repair. It also acts as a building block of collagen and stimulates the genes associated with collagen production.
Increase Antioxidant Consumption
All antioxidants prevent cellular damage -- including damage to the skin cells, which can increase signs of aging -- caused by free radicals. Certain antioxidants, such as vitamin C, are especially beneficial for collagen and elastin production.
Eating more fruits and vegetables is an easy way to get more antioxidants. You can also use skincare products that contain vitamin C, Vitamin A, and other essential nutrients for healthy skin.
Eat More Healthy Fats
Don’t fear fat. It is an essential micronutrient that contributes to healthy skin and is especially beneficial when preventing elastin breakdown.
Focus on consuming healthy fats like those found in fish (especially salmon), walnuts, chia seeds, avocados, and olive oil. Not only are these fats good for your skin, but they also benefit your brain and support your memory function.
Protect Your Skin from the Sun
It doesn’t matter how healthy your diet is or how many quality skincare products you use if you spend hours in the sun every day without the proper protection.
Always wear sunscreen before stepping outside, even on overcast days, and try to avoid the sun during peak hours (10 am to 4 pm) to minimize damage caused by its rays. If you have to be out, consider wearing long sleeves, a hat, and sunglasses.
Reduce Caffeine Intake
Caffeine can interfere with your body’s ability to produce collagen. Consider cutting back or eliminating it altogether if you’re worried it may be affecting your skin’s health and appearance.
If you smoke, it’s time to quit. Not only is smoking bad for your lungs, but it’s also bad for your skin.
Tobacco hinders collagen production and can cause your skin to age more quickly (not to mention the act of smoking can cause additional wrinkles and fine lines around your mouth).
Support Aging Skin with Hygiea Skin Creams
If you’ve started to notice signs of decreased collagen and elastin, or if you want to prevent this decrease as you get older, positive lifestyle changes like those discussed above can make a big difference.
Incorporating hydrating and nourishing skin creams into your daily routine is especially beneficial when it comes to caring for your skin and slowing the aging process.
Hygiea offers numerous creams and serums to help you support collagen production, hydrate the skin, and help it look more youthful. Check out our collection today.