Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth A. Swick, MS, RDN
Can You Firm and Lift Aging Skin?
Aging is something we all must confront. While some common signs of aging are internal, such as aching joints and decreased energy, it’s the ones we see when we look in the mirror that serve as everyday reminders that we’re losing our youthfulness.
Wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin may be inevitable, but there are ways to slow the process down and even visibly restore some of the firmness and moisture that contribute to dull, aging skin. And it starts with taking care of your “youth proteins.”
Collagen and elastin are two of three proteins that contribute to skin’s firmness (the third is keratin, found in skin’s outer layer, and in hair and nails). With age, however, the combination of sun damage, free radicals and decrease production of these structural proteins takes a toll as skin starts to gradually lose its resilience and elasticity, and sagging, wrinkles and loss of hydration become apparent.
While both collagen and elastin are building blocks of healthy skin, they support beautiful skin in different ways.
Collagen = Firmness
Collagen is a tough, flexible protein found in skin and connective tissue throughout the body, such as muscle, tendons and joints. It’s abundant in the skin, making up as much as 70% of total tissue. But roughly after age of 25, collagen begins to degrade and production starts to decrease. In fact, you lose about 1% of total collagen every year, with a steeper decline for women who have gone through menopause.
Elastin = Elasticity
Elastin is a bendy, fibrous protein that allows your skin to spring back to shape when pinched. It gives skin stretch, allowing your eyes to open and close, and your mouth to move. Elastin is 1,000 times more elastic than collagen, but not nearly as plentiful. In fact, elastin comprises only 2-4% of skin’s total protein—yet it’s vitally important to maintaining skin’s elasticity and keeping wrinkles, deep folds and jowls at bay.
Since collagen and elastin promote strength and structure in skin’s deeper layers, you can’t rely on topical anti-aging serums and moisturizers to get the job done. While they can replenish moisture and help smooth skin temporarily, you need to call in reinforcements to fight erosion of collagen and elastin fibers, then ramp up natural production.
The good news is, you can fight the breakdown of collagen and elastin AND stimulate production!
It all begins in your kitchen. By consuming foods and supplements that are loaded with a variety of protein sources and antioxidants, you can start to slow down and even reverse the skin aging process.
First, let’s talk protein. Because collagen and elastin are proteins, your body needs an ample supply of dietary protein, including meat, poultry, fish, nuts and legumes, to break down into amino acids, the components used to rebuild collagen and elastin fibers.
Blur wrinkles and fine lines where they start
You can find collagen in a few foods such as bone broth and bone marrow, but these foods are not exactly common in a Western diet. This is why collagen supplements are so popular. And studies have shown positive benefits:
- Increased skin elasticity and decreased wrinkle depth
- Smoother skin with fewer lines and wrinkles
- Healthier, more lustrous hair and stronger nails
A good one to try is Youthful Beauty Collagen Powder. Made with pure collagen, it’s hydrolyzed and further concentrated to be 30X more effective that conventional collagen supplements. Plus, it contains the powerful antioxidant, resveratrol, to fight free radical scavengers that degrade collagen and lead to more wrinkles and sagging. If you prefer the convenience of capsules, it’s available in this form too.
Boost elasticity and firm up loose skin
Elastin is harder to come by. Since there are no elastin-rich foods to eat you can focus on a variety of plant and animal protein sources to meet your specific protein needs.
One of the easiest ways to boost skin elasticity and encourage your body to pump out more elastin is by taking an elastin supplement. Elastin in supplement form is very rare and most supplement companies use specific ingredients to support elastin retention without adding any actual elastin to the system. For pure, concentrated elastin, try Pro-Elastin, a unique anti-sagging formula that delivers pure marine elastin peptides. Studies on the key ingredient reveal it can:
- Promote elastin production by over 250%
- Increase collagen production by over 100%
- Boost antioxidant activity by 78%
Fight premature skin aging
After protein, antioxidants are key to helping your skin age in reverse, and vitamin C is arguably the most important. The sunshine vitamin associated with citrus and known to give the immune system a boost is also a powerful free radical-fighting antioxidant that combats premature skin aging.
And here’s another reason to stock up on vitamin C: as a pro-collagen nutrient, the body requires vitamin C to synthesize new collagen. Without it, you can’t produce an ample supply of collagen to maintain firm, youthful skin.
With the right kind of skin-smoothing nutrients and targeted supplements, you can take control of sagging and wrinkles to reveal smoother, younger-looking skin.