A diagram of younger skin and older skin showing how decreased collagen can cause wrinkles.
Collagen and elastin are naturally occurring structural proteins normally produced in the dermis, the middle layer of the skin. These proteins are believed to be crucial for keeping the skin soft, supple and elastic. Although the body naturally produces these proteins, their production usually declines as people age. Certain skin products and foods can help keep collagen and elastin production high in the skin. Healthy levels are believed to reduce signs of aging, particularly wrinkles and sagging skin.
Some face creams contain collagen.
The benefits of collagen and elastin in skin care are believed to be many. These proteins are said to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and add, restore or maintain skin elasticity. Products that contain them are typically used to reduce the signs of aging.
Natural structural proteins are generally produced by dermal skin cells known as fibroblasts. Collagen is responsible for maintaining skin elasticity. Elastin is considered an essential building block of the fibrous tissue that keeps the skin flexible and elastic. Young people often have high levels of these proteins in their skin, but production in the body declines with age, causing fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. A combination of factors, including collective sun exposure, diet and tobacco use, can accelerate the decline of natural collagen production.
Collagen-based skin care can be used as part of an anti-aging regimen.
Topical skin care creams containing collagen and elastin are widely available from many manufacturers. Dermatologists believe that these products, while often very moisturizing, do not actually increase collagen or elastin levels in the skin. Some products, however, are designed to stimulate their production in the body. This is often believed to be the best way for seniors to reap the benefits of these proteins.
Seniors are best placed to benefit from anti-aging creams that increase collagen and elastin.
Several foods are believed to help the skin maintain youthful collagen and elastin levels. Vitamin A, often found in foods like carrots and cantaloupe, can help the skin produce high levels of collagen. Zinc, commonly found in meat, dairy and seafood, is considered crucial for maintaining elastin fiber. A substance known as genistein, widely found in soy, is believed to increase collagen production while neutralizing the action of enzymes often implicated in the aging process. Foods rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, such as green tea, can also help protect against aging in the same way.