Elastin is a protein that gives skin and internal tissue elasticity and firmness. Elastin is manufactured by connective-tissue cells known as fibroblasts. Elastin production reaches its zenith in adolescence. The skin's ability to produce elastin diminishes with age, causing wrinkles and sagging. To combat this, internal methods and external procedures exist that boost elastin production.
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Take an elastin- and collagen-boosting supplement daily. Hyaluronic acid is the best example of an over-the-counter supplement. The acid forms cartilage by attaching to collagen and elastin, keeping joints flexible and healthy. It locks moisture into the space between your skin cells, preventing elastin and collagen dehydration. Hyaluronic-acid supplements are available without a prescription at health food stores and major supermarkets for £6-$80. You will not see results for at least two months of daily use.
Apply a pea-sized amount of topical retinoid ointment to your face. Avoid your eyes. Rub the ointment into your skin using a circular motion. Prescription retinoids are powerful; do not use more than a pea-sized amount.
Retinoids are highly concentrated forms of vitamin A. When applied to your skin, they facilitate the sloughing off of dead cells and trigger elastin production. Topical retinoids require a prescription and must be used daily. They average £48 for a one-month supply.
Undergo microdermabrasion, laser resurfacing or a chemical peel in the office of a licensed dermatologist. Microdermabrasion is a gentle sanding of the skin with aluminium-oxide crystals. Laser resurfacing burns off the epidermis to stimulate the formation of new elastin and collagen fibres. A chemical peel burns off old cells of the epidermis, encouraging the body to produce more elastin for the new layer of skin underneath.
Chemical peels and microdermabrasion require repeat treatments and cost £65 or more per treatment. Laser resurfacing also requires multiple treatments and may cost thousands of dollars.
Tips and warnings
- Protect the elastin proteins in your skin by limiting sun exposure; drinking six-to-eight glasses of water a day; and avoiding smoking.
- While using topical retinoids, you will experience redness and irritation for the first few weeks.
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