What Happens to Collagen and Elastin as You Age — and What You Can Do About It
Wrinkles, sun spots, and dry skin — oh my! Waking up to a new wrinkle is an unhappy experience for anyone. Seeing signs of aging can cause you to lose confidence, and to even worry about what the future holds for your face that you used to love. It’s understandable to be worried about what the effects of aging are doing to your appearance.
But are these aging effects simply something you must accept? Or is there something you can do to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and to even out your skin tone? Imagine looking in the mirror each day, smiling because you’re thrilled by what you see. Imagine if you didn’t wish for a magic cover-up of all your skin’s flaws — because your own skin began to naturally look more youthful on its own!
The key components? Collagen and elastin. And it is possible to take control of the collagen and elastin in your skin, leading to fewer lines and wrinkles — as well as many more confident smiles.
What Do Collagen and Elastin Do?
Making up 80% of the dermis (the layer under the outermost layer of skin), collagen is a crucial protein that holds your skin together. Elastin is just as important, and allows your skin tissues to resume their shape after being stretched.
Basically, collagen is in charge of keeping your skin taut and firm, while elastin gives your skin elasticity. Collagen is a major skin and connective tissue component. Around 80% of the dermis or the layer that resides under the skin’s outer layer or epidermis is comprised of collagen.
While collagen supplies the firmness and tautness in young skin, elastin gives the skin elasticity. Glycosaminoglycans, known by the acronym of GAGs, also are in bountiful supply and keep the skin hydrated or naturally moisturized.
Collagen and Elastin are proteins essential to skin structure. To understand the connection of collagen and elastin with the process of skin aging, you need to look at the two primary ways that the skin, the largest organ in the body, declines over time. The healthy skin of a younger person presents an outer layer that is smooth and guarded against environmental threats.
The Aging Process of the Skin (The Part You Can’t Control)
Your skin will produce 1% less collagen every year starting in your 20s, causing your skin to become more thin and fragile. Elastin production starts to decline as well, and on top of all that — your skin begins to lose its ability to keep itself naturally moist. This is unavoidable, and happens to everyone. But it’s only one component of skin aging.
Intrinsic Aging: The Natural Aging Process
Intrinsic aging refers to the natural process of getting older – how the body or skin declines over time as predetermined by inherited genetics. After 20 years of age, people start to produce 1% less collagen per year. As a result, the skin begins to thin and increase in fragility.
The sweat and oil glands also begin to diminish in overall functioning. Elastin production starts to decline as well as GAGs, used to keep the skin supple and naturally moist. While this aspect of the aging process is unavoidable, it is less obvious than the extrinsic effects that lead to wrinkling and lines.
Extrinsic aging results from environmental exposure from toxins, pollutants, and UV rays. In fact, sun exposure accounts for about 85% of skin aging. Environmental exposures that produce free radicals which can damage proteins, DNA and cells. Extrinsic aging is often related with such conditions as precancerous lesions, skin cancer, sun spots, freckles and the excessive loss of collagen, elastin and GAGs. Extrinsic aging is expressed by the appearance of an uneven skin tone, roughness and dryness, wrinkling, lines and thin skin.
How You Can Keep Your Skin Looking Young
The skin tone is typically unblemished, and even, in the early 20s. However, hormones and other factors can cause skin disturbances, such as acne, during this time. Typically, during this period, wrinkling is not a concern as time and gravity have not produced their noted effects – effects that become more pronounced with the aging process.
Surprisingly, the aging process of the skin plays a very small part in the actual appearance of your skin. Those fine lines and wrinkles? That rough, dry skin? That uneven skin tone? Much of that actually comes from free radicals (sun exposure, environmental stresses) and inflammation.
The good news? You can control much of this!
First and foremost, wear a protective sunscreen every day. Prevention is a huge component of minimizing wrinkle formation and premature aging.
Next, you need to maintain a healthy moisture balance in your skin. Remember — your skin’s natural ability to maintain moisture declines with age. Using quality skin care products can help to:
- Maintain a healthy moisture balance
- Neutralize free radicals
- Reduce inflammation
- Help rebuild collagen and elastin
- Replenish the protective barrier lipid
With the proper balance of moisture and protection from free radicals, tired-looking skin can actually be rejuvenated to a soft, smooth, skin that gives off a radiant glow.
What Causes the Skin to Wrinkle
Interestingly, when you look at wrinkled skin microscopically, it shows no signs that it is wrinkled, all which makes one wonder how the skin breaks down and seemingly withers over time. Scientists have determined that skin wrinkling results from both intrinsic and extrinsic influences.
Preventing the Formation of Wrinkling and Lines
With respect to extrinsic aging, it is important to practice prevention. Prevention minimizes wrinkle formation and premature aging. Therefore, to prevent changes in the skin structure, sun protection is imperative as are using quality skin care products that maintain moisture balance, offer antioxidants to neutralize free radical, reduce inflammation, help rebuild collagen and elastin, as well as replenish protective barrier lipids.
Check out Kaiderma’s Anti-Aging Facial Serum, which combines powerful antioxidants with natural oils and essential vitamins to bring your youthful appearance to the surface.
Kaiderma’s Natural Skin and Facial Toner shrinks and tightens pores while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Unlike other toners that strip your skin, Kaiderma’s natural skin and facial toner hydrates and moisturizes.