By Philip Tajanko
FEB 15, 2023
In search of topical skin care products, whether it be a peptide body lotion or gentle gel cleanser that will serve your skin? You will likely come across ingredients or compounds that claim to increase collagen and elastin in the skin. Both of these proteins are commonly found naturally within the body and constitute primary building blocks of the structural components of skin as well as other tissues.While collagen and elastin are both crucial for the structure of your skin, there are a few differences between the two that are important to understand. How the two of these proteins work together and how they impact the health and appearance of your skin will be explored in this blog.
What is the role of collagen and elastin?
Elastin, on the other hand, is found in tissues intended to be flexible, such as skin, blood vessels, and other internal organs. The presence of elastin allows these structures to stretch and then return to their original shape, giving them a degree of elasticity3. Together, collagen and elastin help to maintain the flexibility and strength of the body's tissues. Particularly in the skin, collagen fibers provide the underlying structure, while the elastin fibers allows the skin to stretch and move without tearing.
What is the difference between collagen and elastin?
How do collagen and elastin impact skin health?
While intrinsic aging is one way in which collagen and elastin production can be forced to slow down, other extrinsic factors like sun exposure, pollution, and smoking can also contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastin. Sun exposure has been linked to decreases in the concentration of both collagen and elastin, thus accelerating the visible signs of aging5. Fortunately, the application of sunscreen prior to sun exposure has also been shown to protect collagen and elastin from damage caused by UV rays.
Do collagen and elastin work hand in hand?
Why is it important to maintain optimal levels of both elastin and collagen?
In a similar vein, it’s crucial to limit the intake of sugary foods, as foods that have a high glycemic index can likewise lead to inflammation, breaking down collagen and elastin in a process known as glycation8. Finally, the adage about a good night’s rest rings true here, as sleep is the period during which the body repairs itself from the stresses of the day. If your body isn’t able to get the sleep it needs, your skin may lose its integrity as the decreased production of collagen and elastin results in a weaker underlying structure9.
In addition to lifestyle changes that can aid in maintaining optimal elastin and collagen levels, certain topical ingredients can be applied to boost the production of these proteins. OneSkin’s proprietary peptide, OS-01 has been scientifically proven to increase a key marker associated with collagen production01, allowing skin to produce more collagen on its own. Importantly, this is likely more effective than applying collagen directly to the skin, as most collagen proteins are too large to breach the skin barrier.
* Shown in lab-grown ex vivo human skin models
- Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and it gives strength and rigidity to various structures.
- Elastin is another abundant protein and allows structures of the body to stretch and return to their original shape.
- Less collagen and elastin being produced with age can lead to physical signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines, sagging skin, and a loss of volume.
- Sun exposure and other environmental factors, such as pollution or smoking, can also contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastin.
- Sunscreen can help limit the damage done to collagen and elastin by UV rays.
- Collagen and elastin form a network of fibers that keep the skin firm and smooth.
- Free radicals, sugary foods, smoking, and lack of sleep can all limit your body’s ability to produce collagen and elastin.
By Philip Tajanko.
Philip is studying Bioengineering at the University of California - San Diego and is passionate about scientific writing and hormonal research.