Elastin is a protein naturally produced within the body. Elastin is formed of peptides, fibroblasts, and amino acids, which are structured in a particular shape that determines its function. Elastic fibers are bundles of elastin found within the dermis (middle layer) of the skin, as well as in blood vessels, the lungs, ligaments, and more. Elastin’s main purpose is to provide flexibility to cells.
What’s the Difference between Elastin and Collagen?
While both Elastin and Collagen are proteins often referenced together, their functions are very different, but they play well off each other. In terms of their roles in skin health, collagen is a structural protein that builds the foundation of the skin. Located in the hypodermis (inner layer) of the skin, Collagen affords strength, whereas Elastin, located closer to the surface than collagen, affords flexibility. In fact, elastin is approximately 1,000 times more flexible than collagen. Due to their flexibility, elastic fibers allow skin to stretch and contract before snapping back to its original form. This rubber band-like function is essential for conveying emotions through expressions and to move about freely in our own skin.
How to Boost Elastin Production: Sunscreen is essential to any anti-aging toolkit to prevent sun damage and, in this case, subsequent elastin degradation (breakdown), while topical application of the retinoid tretinoin has been associated with improvements in the quality of elastic fibers, making it an effective treatment to reverse UV damage already done. Supplements may also be effective in assisting elastin production. A copper supplement can assist in preventing elastin damage, and studies have shown that a vitamin A supplement may increase elastin production by 300%. Aesthetic treatments that promote Collagen production such as Sculptra and HyperdiluteRadiesse are also recommended for their biostimulatory properties.