The human skin has an elastic quality to it. This skin elasticity allows it to stretch out and then bounce back to its original condition. Over time, this elasticity will falter as part of the natural aging process. This loss is called elastosis and will make the skin sag, wrinkle, and appear leathery.
Collagen is a protein that is produced naturally in the body. It helps keep the skin plump and youthful looking. Elastin is another protein found in the dermis (the middle and thickest layer of skin), inter-connective tissues, and other parts of the body. This gives the tissue a rebound or snap back into position. As the body ages, cells die and over time the collagen and elastin are simply not produced in sufficient quantity to maintain the elasticity we would like.
Besides the aging process, there are some other factors that will accelerate the loss of elasticity. These include sun exposure, smoking, rapid and extensive weight loss, air pollution, and poor nutrition.
There are some things that you can do to help reduce the onset of elastosis.
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- Limited Sun Exposure – The UV rays produced by the sun has been shown to contribute to premature aging as well as other issues. Using a sunscreen of an SPF of between 30 and 50, will help prevent more damage. Once the skin elasticity is gone, the sunscreen won’t bring it back, but it will help in the future.
- Antioxidants – Maintaining a diet high in antioxidants is suggested for overall good health as well as helping with skin elasticity. Some of these are vitamins C and E, carotenoids, and lycopene. These antioxidants won’t replace sunscreen, however.
- Smoking Cessation – If you smoke, stop; if you don’t, don’t start. Smoking narrows the blood vessels under the skin which means blood won’t flow as freely. It also means that the skin, and other parts of the body, will not receive the full value of the nutrients you consume. In addition, studies show that cigarette toxins actually damage elastin and collagen.
Make Your Skin Look Better
There are ways to help your skin look better. Some of these are:
- Collagen for Skin– The final results are still pending on this but there are studies being conducted that show that oral hydrolyzed collagen can be absorbed through the intestines and then transferred to the skin through blood flow. However, these studies included other ingredients and it will take some time before the studies are finalized.
- Retinol for Skin– Retinol is a form of vitamin A and, combined with vitamin C, has shown promise to replenish skin elasticity.
There are other treatments like hyaluronic acid, genistein isoflavones, hormone replacement treatments, creams, chemical peels, and laser treatments. However, before embarking on any changes or treatments, it is best to consult with your primary care physician and dermatologist. These are qualified professionals who can make recommendations based on your skin type and condition as well as overall health and any genetic or medical issues that may be present.
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