All About Collagen & Elastin
We’ve all been told that collagen and elastin are essential for maintaining youthful skin, but do you really know why? First, it is important to understand exactly what these two essential components are. We checked in with Dr. Howard Murad to get the facts about these youth-boosting proteins.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a vital fibrous protein that is found all throughout the body; it connects and supports tissues including skin, bone, muscles, tendons, cartilage and organs. It’s the main protein in connective tissue and is responsible for skin firmness and suppleness.
What is elastin?
Elastin is a protein in connective tissue that is responsible for giving structure to skin and organs. It allows your skin to resume shape after stretching or contracting.
What do they do?
Together, collagen and elastin keep connective tissue firm and help it to hold its shape. As your skin loses collagen, it loses elasticity and, on average, we lose about 1% of our collagen every year after the age of 20!
The more collagen we lose, the more fine lines and wrinkles appear, which is why it is essential that we work to increase our collagen levels as we age. We accomplish this not only through topical products, but also by living an Inclusive Health lifestyle, which addresses nutritional and emotional needs for optimal skin health.
Build collagen from the inside
For building collagen and elastin, I recommend using products that contain antioxidants, such as winged-kelp, which boost anti-aging agents, helping to maintain skin’s collagen and elastin levels, and fight oxidative stress. Additionally, retinol stimulates cell production and helps reveal firmer, younger–looking skin.
SPF isn’t just for avoiding skin cancer
UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays weaken the skin’s support system of collagen and elastin–thereby accelerating the skin’s aging process. Protect your skin and keep your complexion looking its best by using sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection every day to avoid damaging your skin!
Get an internal collagen boost
Food fuels your body and mind. When you eat poor quality, nutritionally empty foods, that deficit is visible on your skin. Try eating foods that are rich in collagen boosting ingredients like amino acids (eggs, beans and seeds), antioxidants which inhibit damage to collagen (pomegranates and goji berries are great) and good fats (like walnuts and avocado). Also, do your best to avoid exposure to sun, pollution, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, pesticides, toxins and stress, which all contribute to collagen loss and ultimately older looking skin.
Take amino acids daily
Think of daily supplements as insurance that guarantees you’ll maintain the nutrient levels you need to look and live your best. Glucosamine, for example, increases total body water content, while amino acids aid in the formation of collagen and elastin. It is important to take care of yourself inside and out in order to ensure your body is performing at its optimal level.
Build connective tissue while you sleep
Sleep enables the body to reverse everyday free radical damage by replenishing energy, building new cells and repairing connective tissue. Because sleep is an ideal time for cellular renewal and overall repair for the skin and other organs, poor sleep is quite apparent in the complexion.
Stop stressing out
Cultural Stress™ is the constant and pervasive stress of everyday life that has become a normal part of our society. This continuous stress maxes out our tolerance and lowers our stress threshold so that when stressful events happen, like your boss dropping that huge project on you at the last minute, we hit maximum stress capacity. Stress takes a toll on your skin and your body. Take a deep breath and remember that the most important person in the world is YOU!
Paying attention to the health of your skin, paying attention to what you put in your body, and paying attention to your sense-of-self will all set the stage for collagen- and elastin-boosted skin.