Have you heard of the “skin elasticity test?”
Pinch a bit of skin on the back of your hand, between your thumb and forefinger, and lift up. Hold the skin for approximately five seconds, and then release. The faster it snaps back into place, the more elastic your skin is. And that elastic quality? It can be attributed to a protein in your skin known as “elastin.”
Elastin is often mentioned in conjunction with collagen, but it doesn’t always get talked about as much as collagen. But just like collagen, elastin does a lot to keep your skin looking and feeling youthful. Without an adequate amount of this protein, your skin is likely to take on a wrinkled, crepey, sagging appearance.
So… What Is Elastin?
Simply put, elastin is a protein found naturally throughout your body, and it has an elastic and resilient quality. In fact, it’s often compared to a rubber band because of its ability to stretch and snap tissues back into place.
You can find elastin in your lungs, arteries, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and of course, in your skin. In all of these places, elastin helps your tissues to stretch and relax.1 Think of your lungs inflating and deflating as you breathe, or your arteries expanding and contracting to pulse blood through your body. That’s what elastin is doing!
And when it comes to skin, elastin does the same thing:
It provides a stretchy quality that allows your skin to snap back into place.
For example, elastin allows you to make facial expressions — like smiling or furrowing your brow — and then, it allows your expression to return to neutral. Elastin is also responsible for keeping your skin taut. Without enough elastin, your skin may take on a sagging, crepey appearance.2
Of course, it’s impossible to talk about how elastin affects your skin without talking about collagen. After all, these two proteins work together to keep skin looking youthful and smooth.
Collagen, which makes up 75 percent of your skin, lives in the lower levels of the dermis, where it provides strength and foundation.3 You can think of collagen as the framework, or structure, for the rest of your skin. After you smile or frown (with help from elastin), your skin returns to its original structure, thanks to collagen.
How Aging Affects Elastin (And Collagen Too!)
Elastin fibers are profoundly affected by the aging process, and this contributes to the appearance of “older,” less elastic skin.
As you age, the network of elastin fibers in your skin gradually begin to fragment and break apart. This fragmentation results in fine lines and uneven skin tone.4
And if you’ve spent a significant amount of time in the sun, your skin will probably show even more significant signs of aging. You see, all those UV rays can kick start something called elastosis — an abnormal accumulation of elastin in the skin.5
Now, this might sound like a good thing, but it’s actually not. This abnormal accumulation of elastin doesn’t make your skin more elastic — it actually contributes to the appearance of rough, deeply wrinkled skin.6
And you probably already know that it’s not just elastin that’s affected by age — it’s collagen, too.
As you age, your body’s rate of collagen production significantly slows down.7 This decrease in collagen means your skin lacks the strength and foundation it once had. This might result in an increase in wrinkles and a decrease in skin firmness. A lack of collagen may even lead to the appearance of cellulite.8
Encouraging Elastin In Your Anti-Aging Skin Care Regimen
Elastin clearly plays a big role in youthful skin, helping to prevent wrinkles and sagging and working to maintain the skin’s smooth, even appearance. For this reason, elastin should be taken into account in any anti-aging skincare routine.
Here are some great ways to protect the elastin (and collagen) in your skin:
Practice Sun Protection:
Sunscreen is essential to any anti-aging routine. As mentioned above, UV rays play a huge role when it comes to the degradation of elastin.9 So be sure to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen before heading out for the day. (In fact, make sure you apply it 15 minutes before leaving the house!) And consider wearing a hat, or seeking shady spaces, when you’re outdoors.
Take a Supplement with Saw Palmetto:
Age-associated hormonal changes can affect the quality of your skin, including its elasticity.10 Saw palmetto extract, which is derived from the ripe berries of the American dwarf palm, can actually help support healthy hormone levels — including that of DHT, which is responsible for attacking your skin’s elasticity.11 That’s why we’ve included it in our Advanced Dermal Renewal, along with nutrients that moisturize your skin and help boost collagen.
Feed Your Skin Collagen:
Since collagen and elastin complement each other in their functions, it’s a good idea to encourage your body’s production of collagen.
Our Collagen Restoration powder contains peptides — which are scientifically proven to induce collagen production and prevent collagen breakdown, while hydrating your skin.12 We’ve also added in powerful antioxidants, like acai, blueberry, and blackcurrant powder. These antioxidants target free radicals from sources like UV rays, heavy metals, air pollution, and pesticides.13
Add Some Dill to Your Diet:
Dill extract stimulates a specific protein called lysyl oxidase, which is responsible for the maintenance of elastin fibers during aging.14 So if you’re looking to keep your skin elastic and healthy, try snacking on dill pickles a little more often!
Elastin: A Secret Anti-Aging Weapon
Remember when you were a kid and your mom would warn you not to make funny faces, or your face would stay that way? Well, mom probably didn’t know it, but she was talking about elastin and its amazing ability to give your skin a stretchy quality that “snaps” back into place.
And now you can maintain that stretchy quality by protecting your skin from the sun, fending off DHT, increasing collagen, and investing in a good jar of… dill pickles!
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