Collagen protein gets a lot of airtime when it comes to skin health, and for good reason: It’s essential for providing the framework and structure to skin, as well as other tissues in the body. But I want to share with you an often missed yet very special beauty protein in the body called elastin and fill you in on the many ways elastin benefits your skin.
If you’re truly looking to get glowing skin, it’s crucial to understand and support your body’s elastin production. It truly is the best way to get youthful, glowing skin. Want to know more? Keep reading to learn more about what elastin is, why it’s essential for beautiful skin, and how to support its natural production in your body!
What Is Elastin?
From increased exposure to environmental toxins to the increasing daily demands we face and the resulting stress we experience, now more than ever before, we are experiencing malnourished, aging skin. But there is a way to support our skin’s health—by tapping into the incredible ways elastin benefits our skin.
So, let’s address a few questions: what is elastin, where is elastin found, and why is elastin important for your skin?
Just as its name infers, elastin is a protein rich in the amino acids glycine and proline, and it’s highly elastic. In terms of elastin structure and function, its main function is to help your skin return to its normal position after stretching or contracting, similar to the way a rubber band bounces back to its original shape after being stretched. But elastin is also found in your connective tissue and plays important roles in your arteries (helping them to stretch to control blood pressure), lungs, ligaments (aiding your cartilage’s ability to absorb shock and reduce risk of injury), cartilage, and bladder as well.
Now, imagine a stretched-out rubber band that doesn’t bounce back quite so easily. This is what can happen to elastin in your body over time as a result of the normal aging process as well as different lifestyle factors, including imbalanced nutrition and sluggish autophagy. And when your elastin is diminished, you’ll not only begin to experience the visible signs of aging, but you’re also at greater risk of health complications due to the decreased elastic tissue in your body—such as poor blood pressure management, increased risk of injury, and even decreased bladder control.
Elastin vs. Collagen
So, you may be wondering how collagen and elastin differ. Whereas collagen provides the structure to your skin, elastin provides the flexibility. And the truth is that you need them both working in partnership to achieve healthy, elastic, youthful-looking skin.
First, collagen and elastin are humectants, meaning they hold on to water. As a result, they’re both essential for maintaining skin hydration and creating that plumpness and glow that so many desire.
Now, as I shared above, elastin is rich in both glycine and proline, but collagen is as well, meaning that consuming collagen supports the formation of elastin protein. And this is important because elastin is 1,000 times more elastic than collagen!
In all, this is great news and means that our nutrition and lifestyle choices—the very same ones that support overall health, autophagy, and collagen production, are also positively impacting elastin production. And if you’re anything like me, I know that you want the “rubber band” in your skin to easily bounce back for years to come.
3 Elastin Benefits for Skin
Let’s take a closer look at the major ways elastin benefits your skin.
1. Improves skin elasticity
One of the most exciting ways elastin benefits your skin is by increasing its elasticity. In fact, research has shown that when middle-aged women supplemented with high-quality collagen once daily for a period of eight weeks, they experienced a significant improvement in skin elasticity. Remember, collagen supports the formation of elastin, which explains why the participants’ results included an increase in skin elasticity.
2. Reduces appearance of wrinkles
Another one of the top elastin benefits for skin is its ability to help reduce visible wrinkles. And research has revealed that this benefit is rather impressive: One study on more than 100 middle-aged women revealed that when the participants consumed collagen peptides each day for eight weeks, their eye wrinkle volume decreased by approximately 20 percent in comparison to those who didn’t consume the collagen. Additionally, the researchers noted that the women experienced an 18-percent increase in their elastin volume.
3. Supports hydrated, glowing skin
Finally, elastin benefits your skin by supporting its ability to stay hydrated—resulting in the glowing skin we all strive to have. Remember, as a humectant, elastin holds on to water and keeps it near the skin. And research has confirmed this by showing that consuming collagen supports elastin production and increased skin moisture. When elastin is strong and plentiful, it not only inhibits skin changes related to age but also supports a healthy glow associated with being well hydrated.
How to Retain Your Elastin Protein Levels
Now that you know how elastin benefits your skin and overall health, you may be asking the million-dollar question: How can I improve my skin elastin? Here are a few ways to increase your elastin production.
1. Boost autophagy.
Activating autophagy is not only necessary for your overall health and wellness, but it’s also essential for harnessing your skin’s ability to produce elastin and other important compounds. Because autophagy essentially works to clear out the toxins and debris from your cells and then promote cells to regenerate and replicate, this is critical for elastin production because your cells make elastin. Supporting process is a foundational way to view beauty from the inside-out.
Personally, I use many different tools to promote autophagy including following a keto diet, implementing intermittent fasting, and taking certain supplements. You can learn more about how to activate autophagy here.
2. Eat a high-fat, collagen-rich diet.
I love the naturopathic principle that “like heals like,” and in this circumstance, think of it this way: When we desire to improve our skin and connective tissues (such as ligaments and joints), eating those parts of the animal can be extremely helpful. Likewise, eating a diet high in healthy fats will leave your skin looking healthy, plump, and hydrated.
Fortunately, following a diet like this doesn’t require any special culinary skills. You can start by eating foods rich in healthy fats such as MCTs and omega-3 fatty acids and then work on including a couple of cups of bone broth daily. In addition, choose poultry with the skin on and bone-in, choose tougher cuts of meat, and eat the skin and tender bones in fish as much as possible.
3. Take elastin-supporting supplements
Finally, I’m a big believer in taking elastin supplements for skin health. And while there are different options available, I’ve personally found that those that combine collagen and elastin are the best elastin supplements on the market. Remember, collagen and elastin work best together because collagen supports elastin production.
Now, when it comes to collagen, finding a high-quality supplement is absolutely critical. It is important to make sure your collagen is sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised beef or a clean, quality marine source. And make sure it contains a high-quality source of French marine elastin, too, to best support tight, healthy-looking skin while remaining gentle on your stomach. To get the best of both ingredients, I recommend using Collagen Renewal Matrix, which has been shown to contain the science-based recommended dosages of both collagen and elastin.
Elastin is an important protein for skin health and slowing the signs of aging.
Elastin is found throughout your connective tissue and supports your skin ability to “bounce back” into place while also providing the elasticity you need throughout your body for optimal health.
Elastin benefits your skin by improving its elasticity, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, and boosting hydration.
To help boost your elastin production, which naturally declines due to age and other lifestyle factors, boost autophagy, eat a high-fat and collagen-rich diet, and consider supplementing with a quality collagen supplement that features elastin.