A youthful appearance is often considered a reflection of skin health, and various structural proteins and compounds contribute to this. Two critical proteins that give our skin its strength and elasticity are collagen and elastin.
Collagen: The Skin’s Building Block
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the skin, making up approximately 75-80% of it. It is responsible for giving the skin structure, firmness, and strength. Young skin is rich in collagen, but as we age, the production of this protein decreases, leading to sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles. Various external factors like sun exposure, smoking, and pollution can accelerate collagen degradation, further contributing to skin ageing.
Dr. Batul Patel, Leading Celebrity Dermatologist, Founder and Medical Director – The Bombay Skin Clinic explains, “Collagen is like the scaffolding that holds your skin together. It’s essential for maintaining a youthful and vibrant appearance.”
Topical retinoids and vitamin C serums are often recommended to stimulate collagen production, but their efficacy varies from person to person.
Elastin: The Key to Skin Elasticity
Elastin is another vital protein that contributes to skin elasticity. It allows your skin to return to its original shape after stretching or contracting. With age, the elastin fibres in the skin break down, resulting in less elastic and more fragile skin. This process is further exacerbated by UV radiation, leading to the formation of “solar elastosis,” a condition characterised by thickened, leathery skin.
Other Components for Healthy Skin
Hyaluronic Acid is another important molecule that helps retain moisture in the skin. A decrease in its levels contributes to dryness and the appearance of fine lines. Antioxidants like vitamin E can counteract oxidative stress, which speeds up skin ageing.
Addressing the Signs of Ageing
Understanding these key components is crucial in addressing the signs of ageing effectively. Various treatments like laser resurfacing, chemical peels, and even injectable fillers aim to restore some of these lost components, but prevention, primarily through sun protection and a healthy lifestyle, is still the best medicine for youthful skin.