Understanding Collagen + Elastin : their roles in Healthy Aging
Written by Leila Belle Carter, LE
Read time: 5 minutes
Collagen and Elastin are two words we hear all the time in the healthy aging world. We know we want more of that, don’t wanna lose that, and need to keep that, but why and how exactly?
Let’s define them first, then discuss how to maintain them.
Collagen: gives skin it’s firmness. Derived from greek words “kolla” meaning glue, and “gennan” meaning to produce. Makes up nearly 70% of the dermis!
A fibrous, connective tissue made from protein; found in the reticular layer* of the Dermis, the most abundant protein in the body. It is produced by fibroblast cells. As we age, collagen loses it’s ability to respond to physical changes from aging and UV damage.
*The Reticular layer is the denser, deeper layer of the dermis, and it is mainly comprised of collagen and elastin.
Elastin: gives skin it’s elasticity or “bounce-back”. A protein fiber found in the dermis. Density in dermis at 1/15 the amount of collagen, yet equally as important to maintaining a youthful appearance. It is found abundantly in the skin, blood vessels, and lungs, but it is only produced in humans under the age of 13 or 14 (Bernard Ho, 77.)
Molecularly these structures have dynamic moving and stationary parts, and align in unique ways which have piqued the interest of MIT researchers. Considering the life of Elastin molecules are just about equivalent to a human life span, there is still so much to learn on these structures.
Protection at what costs? Understand aging first.
Most skincare is purposed to maintain hydration within the cell throughout our lives. Staying hydrated and staying out of the sun unless you have an SPF on are arguably 2 of the most important things you can do for your complexion.
As the skin ages, hormonal changes trigger a thinning of the tissues all over the body with a decrease in Estrogen. To healthily age, it is critical to counteract the causes of signs of aging. Whereas many texts refer to these in negative terms, we prefer to speak in positive terms so that we may set intention for health.
Healthy Aging requires:
Maintaining the vascular and capillary walls (Vitamin C)
Being mindful of the lipid (oil) levels on the surface of the skin so as to moisturize and “lock in” the hydration within the cells
Paying attention to the efficiency of the lymphatic system via deep breathing, jade rolling, cardiovascular exercise
Consistently stimulating what fibroblasts remain in the skin via Jade rolling, LED therapy (which has been known to increase cellular processes, boost collagen + elastin + stimulate wound healing when used with the red light at 640 nanometers) or Vitamin C (which is required for collagen formation in skin as well as in cartilage and spinal disks (Milady, p217)
Maintenance of hydrating fluids + Glycosaminoglycans* such as Hyaluronic Acid which duplicates intercellular fluid and boosts keratinocytes to better maintain cell mitosis (cell division)
*Glycosaminoglycans are large protein molecules and water-binding substances found between the fibrous structures in the dermis, made of protein and sugar.
Damage to the elastin fibers as they break down cause concerns such as sagging skin, fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging as we lose elasticity. This is also one of the causes of stretch marks. Sun Damage (UV rays) break down both collagen and elastin and also aggravate hyper pigmentation concerns. Though the sun is a constant concern, we can also be proactive in our wellness maintenance rather than reacting only when we see issues arise. Everything you can do to promote self love through consistent well care and a focus on “healthy aging” at home is going to be more effective than retaliatory tactics and focusing attention on “anti-aging”. As we try to shift the language in the industry, we also hope that people can detox their skincare routine and take a proactive approach to aging in their own hands.
Most skincare concerns including fine lines, hyper-pigmentation, and boosting skin firmness can be overcome with facial rollers because the action of rolling is not only stimulating fibroblasts to produce collagen, they promote health of elastin fibers, acting as a facial workout of sorts to tone the face. The lymphatic drainage benefit of massage also helps to replenish the interstitial environment to clear away toxins from the cellular environment.
The different types of stone Jade Roller Beauty provides can help you get even more specific to wholistically boosting your home care routine via gemstone facial rolling. Our next blog post will encompass how to choose the best gemstone roller for your specific needs.