Category: 

What Are the Benefits of Collagen and Elastin?

A pot of collagen cream.
A diagram of younger skin and older skin showing how the decrease in collagen can lead to wrinkles.
Collagen-based skin care can be used as part of an anti-aging regimen.
Article Details
  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Pollution from Asia is making Pacific storms stronger and changing North American weather patterns.  more...

September 18 ,  1977 :  The first photograph was taken of the Moon and the Earth together.  more...

Collagen and elastin are naturally occurring structural proteins normally produced in the dermis, the middle layer of the skin. These proteins are believed to be crucial for keeping skin smooth, supple, and elastic. Though the body naturally produces these proteins, their production usually decreases as people age. Certain skin-care products and foods can help maintain elevated production of collagen and elastin within the skin. Healthy levels are thought to reduce signs of aging, particularly wrinkling and sagging of the skin.

The skin-care benefits of collagen and elastin are believed to be many. These proteins are said to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and add, restore, or maintain skin's elasticity. Products containing them are typically used to reduce the signs of aging.

The natural structural proteins are usually produced by dermal skin cells known as fibroblasts. Collagen is responsible for keeping skin plump. Elastin is considered an essential building block of the fibrous tissue that keeps skin flexible and elastic. Young people usually have high levels of these proteins in their skin, but production within the body declines with age, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. A combination of factors, including collective sun exposure, diet, and tobacco use, can accelerate the decline of natural collagen production.

Ad

Topical skin-care creams containing collagen and elastin are widely available from many manufacturers. Dermatologists believe that these products, while often very moisturizing, don't actually increase collagen or elastin levels in the skin. Some products, however, are designed to stimulate their production in the body. This is often believed to be the best way for older people to reap the benefits of these proteins.

Various foods are considered capable of helping the skin to maintain youthful collagen and elastin levels. Vitamin A, usually found in such foods as carrots and melons, can help the skin produce high levels of collagen. Zinc, typically found in meats, dairy products, and seafood, is believed crucial for the maintenance of elastin fibers. A substance known as genistein, largely found in soy, is believed to boost collagen production while neutralizing the action of the enzymes often implicated in the aging process. Foods high in vitamin C and other antioxidants, such as green tea, may also help protect against aging in much the same way.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

anon300150
Post 8

I just started on pycnogenol, which is said to regenerate and rebuild collagen. And I'm now serious about my collagen and elastic cream which I got months ago but never really used as I have too many creams. Unfortunately, meds messed up my skin chemistry, but I have high hopes with my regimen, which I will post and you can research on your own.

ALA (rLA is said to be better as it's natural but more expensive. I only tried rLA once), vitamin A and D combo (not beta-carotene, that's toxic to me!), 100mg COQ10 which I take thee times a day with 400IUs of vitamin E (I don't recommend that high dosage, but I need it due to vein pain. Start with 30mg three times a day; that's what I did). I now take pycnogenol three times a day (60mg, first dose. I got a mild headache but it was probably unrelated, not sure so please use caution) and I always take that with Raw Vitamin C by GOL Vitamin Code as pycnogenol regenerates or recycles or extends the life of C and I believe E.

On top of that, I take 25mg of DHEA (due to adrenal problems, and I'm also over 40) and just upped it to 50mg. I was on 100mg for years and felt much better. I take so many supplements but I truly started at 22, and I have Proline which is the precursor to collagen, however rarely take it now because I'm on other amino treatment. I get all that discounted online. National brands are discounted, and they give you full disclosure on all ingredients +expiry date

Again, make sure you're not allergic to anything. Start slow. Aminos need to be taken on empty stomach. I react to some aminos so make sure to look up side effects and always start with small doses, unless it's food based vitamins like GOL, Megafoods or New Chapter, which are the only ones I buy as they are not synthetic.

Finally. what you don't put on your skin and what you don't eat are more important: synthetic chemicals (in both) cause aging, wrinkles and loss of collagen. So do synthetic perfumes and air fresheners (candles, incense, plug ins, febreze type of things) all contain pthalates. Please do a search on that word with Dangers.

For skincare, I use squalane, jojoba oil with essential oils (cedarwood contains sesquiterpenes that prevent or reverse wrinkles) and Devita Rx. Hope this helps you do some good research and come up with your own fantastic results. Be well everyone!

Speechie
Post 7

I think having little elastin in my skin runs in my family because both my sister and I have had stretch marks since we became teenagers, and we did not have a drastic weight gain or weight loss. Also, my Mom has stretch marks too.

We all eat fairly healthy, so this is what leads to believe it is more genetic than anything else. We also have not gone to a tanning bed, and have only laid out in the sun a few times. None of us smoke either. So, besides our genetic makeup, it does not make much sense why we all have stretch marks.

One of my friends has had five kids, and has no stretch marks, which leads me to believe she has a lot of elastin in her skin and that her sister and her Mom are probably the same way too.

The only things that I don’t get a lot of on a regular basis are melons and the substance called genistein, that is mostly found in soy products. I am going to try to incorporate some melons and soy into my diet and see if that benefits my skin and my overall health much.

backdraft
Post 6

I use a cream that contains collagen and elsatin on my face. I am trying to preserve my youthful look and I figure the best way to do that is to improve the elasticity of my skin. If it can stretch more maybe it will look softer and resit wrinkles. I am now 42 but have been told I look much younger. I think something is working.

gravois
Post 5

I had heard that stretch marks were caused by a lack of collagen and elastin in the skin. When I got pregnant with my first child I was really worried about stretch marks. More worried than I would like to admit.

I did a lot of research about how to prevent them and investigated a lot of miracle creams that claimed to prevent or remove stretch marks. I decided to just regularly use a lotion that was enhanced with collagen and elasitn.

I know this is not scientific but I did not get any stretch marks during my pregnancy. Maybe I was never destined to get them. Maybe it was the lotion. I plan on using this when the next one comes along just in case.

Oceana
Post 4

Exposing your body to the sun causes you to lose elastin and collagen faster than you would if you shielded yourself from the sun. I am old and wrinkly at forty-five because of this, and every time I see tan teenagers lying out in the sun, I want to walk up to them and show them what they will look like in thirty years if they don’t take care of their bodies.

I work in a hair salon, and we do have a tanning bed there. It pains me when I see beautiful young people coming in to tan several times a week. They may think it makes them look great right now, but if they only knew how saggy and wrinkly they will become before it’s even time to naturally be so, they would run the other way.

Perdido
Post 3

It’s astounding how well the collagen and elastin in kids’ skin works. My sister’s children spend all day making faces at each other, but their skin bounds back immediately. She tells them that their faces will stick that way when they make ugly expressions, but they know it’s not true.

I have seen them squinting in daylight for hours. They don’t get any wrinkles under their eyes. They laugh and smile all the time, yet they have no laugh lines.

When I was their age, wrinkles were the furthest thing from my mind. Now, I look at their skin and long for my elasticity to be as good as theirs.

StarJo
Post 2

I have heard that fish oil supplements can help your body grow new collagen fibers and protect the elastin already present in it. The person who told me this works for a health food store, though, and she may just be trying to sell me her product.

Does anyone know if fish oil really makes your skin appear younger for longer? I am hesitant to try it, because I know that its power lies in the vitamin A it contains, and I already get lots of vitamin A in my diet.

One of my favorite foods is spinach, and it is full of vitamin A. I eat lots of seafood and salmon, so I get fish oil this way. Is this enough, or do I really need supplements to kick my collagen production into high gear?

cloudel
Post 1

I had a feeling that those anti-aging creams were a bunch of hype. They moisturize your skin, which temporarily makes you look fresher and more youthful, but they cannot sustain this appearance.

I believe that eating a healthy diet is the only way to keep your skin youthful. I eat lots of fruits with antioxidants in them, like grapes, and I get plenty of vitamin C from oranges and orange juice.

I snack on carrots and cantaloupe, so I get my vitamin A as well. I don’t waste money on anti-aging creams, since I am working on my elastin and collagen from the inside. I use a simple moisturizer, and that is all I need on the surface.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email