Collagen and Elastin: How do They Work Together and What are Their Benefits?

Overview

 

As you age, you may notice your skin doesn't exactly bounce back like it used to. Maybe you're starting to get wrinkles, or maybe your skin isn't full and glowing. This is part of the aging process, and is affected by two things. Collagen and elastin are what help with skin elasticity, and give it a smooth and plump look. Elastin is one of the main proteins involved with the extracellular matrix. It is found in our connective tissues, as well as the lungs, aorta, and skin. Elastin is what allows skin to stretch and then regain its original shape. It functions in unison with collagen as they are both found in the connective tissue, and perform similar functions. Elastin is actually 1000 times more flexible than collagen. Elastin is more related to surface level and skin function, whereas collagen is involved with skin function and internal issues as well. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is formed through chains of amino acids, such as glycine and proline. These amino acids also act as building blocks for our body. Collagen is responsible for our connective tissue health, strengthening the dermis, anti-aging and healthy skin, preventing fine lines, wrinkling and sagging of the skin, and preventing pain in our joints and bones. Unfortunately, as we age, our collagen production decreases by roughly 1% each year. This is partially how the aging process begins, and why you may have issues with your joints, bones, tendons, and skin. Read on to learn about how collagen and elastin work together, and what their benefits are. 

How can I increase my collagen and elastin?

It is relatively easy to increase your collagen and elastin intake. You can eat more collagen rich foods, and take collagen supplements. Types of collagen supplements include collagen peptides, hydrolyzed collagen, collagen pills, collagen powder, and liquid collagen. When it comes to our skin health, marine collagen is best. It is a type 1 collagen (derived from fish skin /scales) which promotes natural healing in our own skin. Our Kalumi BEAUTYfood bars contain 12 grams of hydrolyzed marine collagen and 15 grams of protein. They also contain other beauty-boosting foods like sweet potato (containing vitamin A and vitamin C), and cocoa butter (containing polyphenols and flavonoids). The formula is designed to help absorb and retain collagen and can be a great way to support your skin. One great thing about collagen supplements is that there are no known side effects, and are generally an extremely safe supplement. The benefits of collagen include lessening of pain in your joints and connective tissues, strong and glowing skin, less brittle hair and nails, improved digestive function, and other health benefits. There are plenty of foods that are either rich in collagen or help to promote collagen production. Bone broth is a nutrient-dense broth made by simmering animal bones in water with herbs. Bone broth is packed with collagen, amino acids, calcium, and magnesium. It’s easy to make and the only time-consuming part is how long it takes to simmer. However, you can make huge batches and freeze what you don’t use. Fish is packed with amino acids such as proline and glycine, which means it contains the necessary building blocks for collagen. Pretty much any fish will help with your collagen intake, but keep in mind the most collagen is in parts we don’t normally eat (such as the scales). Foods that are rich in vitamin C are also important. For vitamin C, citrus fruits are key, with grapefruit being one of the best for your skin. Even fruit such as raspberries contain a large amount of vitamin C. If you want to watch your sugar, try eating bell peppers. They are just as high in vitamin C but with lower sugar content. This vitamin is essential for both improving collagen production and naturally giving you stronger, glowier skin. Another important vitamin is vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are full of vitamin A, which is essential for a strong skin barrier and overall skin function. Other foods rich in vitamin A include spinach, carrots, and broccoli. Kale and pretty much any green vegetables will give you a huge boost in helping with collagen production, as well as help you achieve glowing skin, due to all the antioxidants they contain. Egg whites help with collagen production. While eggs themselves don’t support collagen production, egg whites do. They contain proline, which is an amino acid that is needed for collagen production. Cocoa flavonoids may help to boost elastin, so eating chocolate (low in sugar) may now be a good thing! Lastly, try eating more beans. Not only are beans packed with protein and flavor, but they also contain essential amino acids that are needed for synthesizing collagen.  



Are Collagen and elastin good for your skin?

Yes! Collagen and elastin are good for your skin. They are both essential for your overall skin health and skin function. They protect the skin, allow it to stretch and snap back into place, and give it strength. As we discussed, food and supplements are the best ways to help improve your skin, prevent aging, and repair damage done by the loss of collagen and elastin. You also need a good skin care regimen to protect and take care of your skin. Regimens differ for each person because everyone's skin is different. A basic routine includes moisturizer, something hydrating like hyaluronic acid, an exfoliant to remove dead skin cells, and sunscreen. Sunscreen is the most important skin care product for anti-aging and protecting the skin against wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and skin cancer. Sun exposure is dangerous for not just the skin on your face, but your body as well. To help improve elastin and collagen, you may want to try a prescription-strength retinoid. If your collagen levels decrease, you can also see the dermatologist and have some treatments done such as micro-needling and lasers to stimulate collagen production. Red LED light may also help for stimulating both collagen and elastin. 

What is the difference between collagen and elastin?

The difference is where they are found and what some of their functions are. They are both found in our connective tissues and help with elasticity. Collagen is found in tendons, bones, skin, and joints. It gives skin strength and helps it to heal, especially when there is a surface wound. Elastin is found in the lungs, aorta, and skin, and plays a role in blood vessels as well. It is what allows the skin to bounce back, and it is stretchier than collagen. Besides these differences, they have a lot of similarities. Your body produces both collagen and elastin, and both begin to deplete as we age. They also help to give you a youthful appearance. A healthy diet is essential for producing new collagen and elastin. Sun exposure, smoking, sugar, and aging are all things that have an effect on both. Skin hydration and skincare are important for maintaining their health and function as well. In conclusion, they are both essential elements of our skin, and taking care of our health is the best way to preserve our collagen and elastin!



These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213755/
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/elastin
https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/skin-elasticity#ways-to-improve-it

SHOP NOW

In a consumer study, 96% of women saw an improvement in the texture of their skin.

LEARN MORE