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Have you ever wondered why children and young adults seem to have naturally smooth and glowing skin? This is the result of having great skin elasticity and it is what makes the skin look fresh and glowing.
When we are young, our bodies will naturally have skin that stretches easier and bounces back to its original shape faster too. However, as a part of our natural human aging process, our skin will slowly be less stretchy and lose its elasticity.
This is because our body will slow down the production of elastin, which is one of the proteins that give our skin the elasticity. The easy way to imagine this is to think of our skin like a big piece of rubber mat, stretched over our bodies, holding our shape together.
Elastin is a fibrous protein usually found in the dermal layers of our skin. When we are young, elastin production is created easily by our bodies. As we age, the elastin slowly depletes from our system, causing what we would normally observe as skin wrinkles and sagginess.
What causes the loss of skin elasticity?
As we carry on with our active lifestyles, certain lifestyle exposures do cause the loss of skin suppleness. This phenomenon of elasticity loss is called elastosis.
What causes elastosis?
- Sun Exposure
- Lack of dietary nutrition
When does skin elasticity loss usually start?
Much to everyone’s surprise, this issue can start as early as 25 years onwards. A less than ideal lifestyle can also further expedite this issue, making it more pronounced over time.
Skin elasticity loss happens for a variety of reasons. Many of these causes are entirely natural, and it cannot be reversed. Therefore, a holistic approach to maintaining healthy skin is always a key goal.
Once we understand the key factors, both internal and external, we can make informed choices on the treatment and skincare.
Top 12 tips on how to improve skin elasticity
1. Retinoid and Retinol Creams as a Topical Treatment
Retinoid and retinol creams are derived from Vitamin A supplements and are important ingredients in the fight against aging.
They boost the collagen and elastin levels in your skin, making skin supple and elastic. It also helps with skin cell reproduction.
Retinoid and retinol are commonly found in anti- aging skincare products like serums and topical creams.
2. Using Hyaluronic Acid
Our skin has natural hyaluronic acid, and it has a water-retaining ability. However, as we age, this natural hyaluronic acid slowly depletes.
This leads to drier skin and sagging skin. At this point, it is recommended that we take oral or apply topical hyaluronic acid to help with our skin’s elasticity.
3. Supplements for Skin Elasticity
Besides taking oral vitamins, supplements are also important in our diet. Do consider collagen supplements, zinc, coenzyme Q10 and peptides.
These supplements are some of the best ones to help and improve skin resilience. Our bodies will be unable to produce the same amounts of supplements to maintain skin elasticity, so including them in your diet is important.
4. Eating the Right Foods
The right diet will also affect your skin overall health. Make sure your diet has plenty of good fatty fish (lots of Omega oils), greens, citrus fruits and also good nuts like almonds or walnuts.
These foods help replenish elastin in your skin. They normally work on you from the inside and help with your overall skin’s health.
Also, remember to include foods with antioxidants like green tea and berries.
5. Taking the right Vitamins
Studies have shown that certain vitamins do help in maintaining and renewing your skin’s youthful look. Taking Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E will assist in obtaining long-term results.
These vitamins normally help in the regeneration of elastin and also have a lot of antioxidant properties. Should you decide on taking vitamins orally, please do consult your doctor first.
6. Eating Cocoa Flavanols
The favourite suggestion to minimise skin loss is actually eating dark chocolate. Who does not love this method?
A study has shown that taking cocoa flavanols does improve skin flexibility and also reduce wrinkles. Cocoa flavanols is a naturally occurring dietary flavonoid compound found in chocolate. However, do note that not all chocolate contains high doses of flavonols. Look for chocolate that contains at least 320mg of cocoa flavanols, which is consistent with what was used in the study.
7. Consider Body Contouring Surgery
Weight-gain is a very common occurrence to many of us. Especially during the holidays when we see our friends and family and have multiple meals. When the body gains weight, then loses it, the unfortunate side effect is that the skin may not “bounce” back to normal as it did before.
Thus, some people who face this skin sagging effect will opt for body-contouring surgery. This procedure involves the surgical removal of skin in certain areas of the body. The problematic body areas to focus on are normally the arms, stomach area and thighs.
8. Opting for Laser Treatments
Studies have shown that laser treatment directly on the skin has been shown to improve skin conditions.
This type of laser therapy uses different types of light to treat dermatological issues. In the study, it was shown that a combination of non-ablative fractional laser (NAFL) and intense pulsed light therapy (IPL) helped improve the look of their skin conditions in a group of people.
9. Chemical Peels for your skin
We see references to “chemical peels” in many ads nowadays. The term chemical peel means the use of a type of light acid to be applied onto the face.
The acid will normally remove a thin layer of the upper skin and helps trigger the body to grow new skin. This procedure is also effective in boosting skin elasticity and collagen production. Chemical peels are also effective against photoaging (sun damage).
The types of acids normally used in facial chemical peels are glycolic acid or lactic acid.
10. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
There has been some research into HRT. Although not conclusive yet, it is found that varying types of HRT have a positive effect on skin elasticity.
HRT is usually used as a treatment for menopause, so the types of HRT that have shown some positive effects on boosting skin elasticity are :
– Transdermal Estrogen
– Transdermal Estrogen and Vaginal Progesterone
– Oral Estrogen and Vaginal Progesterone
At the end of the day, HRT has shown promising signs that it helps improve skin suppleness. However, it is not suitable for everyone.
11. Genistein Isoflavones
Although rather hard to spell and pronounce, genistein isoflavones is actually derived from soy and has been shown to improve skin resilience in studies. Genistein is a type of soybean isoflavone and is a phytoestrogen.
“Phyto” means from plants, thus phytoestrogen is a plant-based compound that has similar properties to estrogen in the body. These supplements are usually taken orally, and can also be applied topically.
12. Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy
Interestingly enough, there was a small study done whereby patients had platelet-rich plasma injections done to their lower eyelids. This actually reduced the actinic elastosis around that eye area.
Actinic elastosis is also known as solar elastosis. It is an accumulation of abnormal elastin in the dermis of the skin, or around the area of the eye, which happens due to the cumulative effects of prolonged and excessive sun exposure, a process known as photoaging.
These injection treatments were done several times over a month and over the course of 3 months. The injections were also found to be minimally invasive and pain-free.
From the list above, it is obvious that establishing a great skin care routine is vital to maintaining great skin. Start now and incorporate some of the practical suggestions above to help your body maintain and stabilise youthful and elastic skin.
Skincare should not be difficult nor stressful. Just remember that the bare basics of skincare just consists of just cleansing, moisturising and the regular use of sunscreen. This little routine will go a long way in keeping your skin looking great.
Tips on how to avoid loss of skin elasticity
1. Always remember your Sunscreen
Sun damage is one of the most common reasons for our skin to age faster and lose its elasticity. UV rays from the sun will break down our skin elastin in the upper dermis.
This causes wrinkles, sagging and fine lines. To avoid and minimise sun damage, remember to use your sunscreen.
It is important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen. This is to protect your skin from photodamage. There is a huge range of chemical sunscreens in the market today. Pick any that is suitable for your skin, and pick something with a rating of at least 30spf.
2. Do not Smoke
It is widely acknowledged that smoking is extremely detrimental to your health, and also dangerous to the people around you.
In regards to skin health, smoking causes free radicals in your body to damage your skin. This accelerates aging and elastosis.
Free radicals are atoms or molecules that have unpaired electrons. They have to pair up with an electron to stabilise, and during this process, damage your skin cells.
If you are a smoker, just try to stop smoking for a week and you can see the immediate difference in your skin, and also your general health.
3. Get enough Sleep
As our lifestyles get more hectic, the one thing that we tend to neglect is our sleep. We tend to sleep less in order to get more done.
However, this is extremely damaging to our bodies. Our bodies repair its body and skin when we are sleeping. We produce a lot more collagen and elastin when we are sleeping.
If we do not get sufficient sleep, the body is unable to produce all these proteins, and cannot repair itself. It is recommended that an adult get at least 6-8 hours of sleep daily, in order for the body to stay in optimal health.
The Bottom Line
Everyone ages at their own pace. The most visible effects of aging on our skin are sagging skin and wrinkles. Although we cannot fight the process of aging, we can indeed slow down the process, and at the same time have a healthier life.
The tips above are certainly ways to achieve better skin and more youthful looks with less invasive methodologies.
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