As the largest organ of the body, the skin is exposed to many factors that can damage elasticity like genetics, smoking, sun exposure, stress and poor diet. The skins’ elasticity is not based on how far the skin will stretch, but how well it “bounces back.” So how exactly do these factors play a role in loss of elasticity?
One of the biggest factors in determining when your skin will lose elasticity is genetics. This is one difficult factor that is hard to correct, because the genetic codes cannot be controlled. The effects of it may be treated, but results are usually never permanent. Next is smoking; smoking damages the skin in many different ways, but the most noticeable way (other than looking sallow) is loss of elasticity. Smokers can easily be identified by many wrinkles around the lips from pursing the lips around the cigarette. Wrinkles also occur in between the eyebrows and around the eyes because many people squint or furrow their brows while smoking. UV radiation, which comes from the sun or tanning beds, dramatically age the skin. UV radiation is like the weapon of mass destruction when it comes to the skin. Not only does it destroy collagen and elastin, but it can potentially mutate the skins’ genetic DNA causing skin cancer. To prevent this, wear protective clothing when in the sun and wear a broad-spectrum sunblock when outside. Next is stress; stress releases a stress hormone called cortisol, which can cause many irritations in the skin when overactive. When cortisol is released, it can cause hormonal breakouts (almost like what a teenager gets), and in long term can damage collagen and elastin, causing permanent scaring. If your skin is not producing hormonal breakouts, it doesn’t mean its not producing cortisol. Cortisol slows down the reparative mechanisms in the skin that has been implicated in the destruction of collagen directly. Last main factor in elasticity loss is having a poor diet. If you have a sweet tooth, pay attention. A process called “glycation” can occur to those that consume lots of sugar. Glycation is premature aging due to the sugar you’re consuming attaching itself to elastin and collagen fibers, disrupting the cohesiveness of your skin. This will cause the skin to look lifeless, oily, possible breakouts and wrinkling or sagging.
Repairing elastin damage is not impossible but it’s not too easy either. If you visit the doctor about wrinkles or fine lines, they will most likely prescribe Tretinoin or Retin-A, which are topical treatments of vitamin A. Retin-A is a topical treatment that comes in many different percentages, that improve the appearance of aging skin. This topical treatment will also help with dark spots and acne. Retin-A works by targeting and destroying the “bad cell” allowing new, better cells to form. This is also a way of increasing cellular turnover. There is also the option of botox or “botulinum toxin” which is a protein injected into the skin, specifically targeting wrinkles that plump and improve the appearance of the skin.
It seems very hard to keep those stubborn wrinkles away depending on hormones, internal factors and external factors. When the signs aging appear, it’s hard to make them disappear, but it is possible. Thank goodness for good health, topical treatments and cosmetic procedures.
Content Provided By: Alexia Hites