Why Are Collagen and Elastin So Important?

Why Are Collagen and Elastin So Important?

What makes skin look young and healthy? Being young and healthy is a start, but your skin’s condition also relies on a few essential ingredients to stay soft, smooth, and supple. Proper hydration, sun protection, and a nutritious diet play a role, but you may be wondering about the latest buzzwords in skin care: collagen and elastin. 

Robert A. Guida, MD, our double-board certified plastic surgeon, sees the effects of collagen and elastin depletion daily in our Staten Island and New York, New York, offices. He understands the importance of these two essential components and wants all our patients to gain a greater appreciation for the roles collagen and elastin play in skin health and appearance. Here’s a closer look.

Collagen

Collagen is a protein found throughout your body. In fact, it’s the most abundant protein you have, comprising about 40% of your body’s total proteins. There are 16-28 different types of collagen, and most are made up of fibrous strands that lend structure to your anatomy. Your bones, skin, cartilage, tendons, connective tissues, blood vessels, and skin all contain high amounts of collagen. 

Derived from “kólla” (Greek for “glue”), collagen holds your cells together and keeps your body parts from falling apart. As you age, you stop producing large supplies of collagen, and the lower levels become evident — your joints get stiff and achy, and your skin becomes wrinkled and thin.

In addition to aging, other conditions can zap your collagen supply, including disease, excess exposure to the sun, too much sugar in your diet, and smoking. You can support your body’s collagen production by eating foods that contain the amino acids proline and glycine: nuts, whole grains, fish, beef, poultry, and leafy greens, to name a few.

Elastin

Another essential protein is elastin. Under a microscope, elastin looks like a rubber band, which is appropriate given its main job — adding stretchiness to your skin, organs, and vessels. Any body part that requires flex and elasticity has a lot of elastin. Your ligaments, lungs, blood vessels, bladder, and skin all owe their pliability to elastin.

Elastin and collagen work together to equip your tissues with the best of both characteristics: Collagen provides structure, and elastin provides stretchability. However, like collagen, elastin wanes as you get older. You’ll see the signs in your skin’s inability to snap back into place after you pinch or stretch it. 

Age, atherosclerosis, and disease can all deplete your elastin supply, but you can boost it by eating lots of fresh fruit, berries, nuts, fatty fish, and leafy greens.

Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays with a broad-spectrum sunscreen and using moisturizers with hydrolyzed elastin and vitamins C, A, and E may also reduce or fight the effects of elastin depletion.

Anti-aging treatments that boost collagen and elastin

Dr. Guida offers a full lineup of plastic surgeries that can transform your aging face into a more youthful-looking version. But before you get to that point, talk to him about the benefits of laser skin resurfacing.

Using UltraPulse Active FX and Deep FX lasers, Dr. Guida taps into the power of the most advanced technology to painlessly restore your skin’s structure. The light energy penetrates your skin’s layers and stimulates your body’s ability to produce collagen and elastin on its own again. Over the next few weeks and months, you see the effects of these proteins as your skin tightens and smooths out.

You may also want to take advantage of our injectable treatments Botox® and fillers. Botox takes care of the dynamic wrinkles caused by years of making facial expressions, and fillers add volume just under the surface of your skin to restore suppleness and contours. 

Hyaluronic acid-based fillers, such as Juvéderm® and Restylane®, also stimulate collagen production, so you get double the benefits. 

To find out if these treatments can boost your collagen and elastin supplies, call either of our two offices, or book online.

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