woman restoring elastin

What Is Elastin?

Our guide on everything you need to know about elastin and elastin creams for anti-ageing.

Elastin and collagen work hand-in-hand in keeping our skin healthy: collagen provides strength, elastin flexibility. Elastin is not as present in the body as collagen - it makes up about 2% of total protein in the middle layer of the skin - known as the dermis - while collagen makes up more than 75%. But while the amount of elastin you have is small, it is mighty and plays a huge role in how your skin looks and responds. Elastin is crucial for your skin’s flexibility and resistance, and declining amounts show in our skin as we age.

 

Here we take a closer look at what is elastin. What role does it play in the skin’s ageing? What is the elastin structure and elastin function - and should you invest in elastin cream?

 

What Is Elastin?

Elastin is a protein that gives elasticity and resilience to connective tissues. Elastic fibres are bundles of elastin found in the dermis, as well as in blood vessels, the lungs and the ligaments. 

 

Alongside collagen, elastin is the main structural protein component of the skin. Collagen and elastin complement each other and are vital for healthy, youthful looking skin.

 

Elastin is about a thousand times more flexible than collagen and gives skin its stretch and bounce. Elastin can be stretched out to about 200% of its original length before pinging back, just like a rubber band.  

 

woman preventing elastin loss


woman using elastin cream

Elastin structure

Elastin is able to stretch and rebound thanks to the structure of the elastin molecules. An elastin fibre consists of a number of fibrils grouped together, and an elastin fibril is formed by multiple elastin molecules.

 

Elastin is formed of peptides, fibroblasts, and amino acids, which are structured in a particular shape that determines its function. Elastin stretches and rebounds thousands of times a day without us knowing. It happens every time we smile, frown, raise an eyebrow.

 

Loss of skin elasticity is known as elastosis. 


What is elastin’s role in ageing?

As we age, elastin cells become weaker or damaged and lose their ability to ping back in the same way. This results in fine lines and wrinkles, particularly around areas we move a lot such as the eyes, mouth and forehead. 

 

The problem with elastin is that once it’s damaged there’s no going back. There is only one gene that produces tropoelastin, the building block that is needed to make elastin, and elastin production decreases rapidly over time. Your body produces elastin throughout childhood but stops producing elastin after puberty. 

 

Approximately 10% of the elastin in the body is lost over a lifetime, resulting in wrinkles and sagging skin. Not only does elastin biosynthesis (that is, the production of elastin within the cells) slow down as you age, existing elastic fibres in your skin also start to degenerate and die. As the amount of elastin we have in our cells diminishes, our skin loses its ability to rebound and with it our youthful bounce. 

 

While elastin production falls over time and cells will naturally become damaged due to wear and tear, lifestyle factors, such as smoking, pollution or long exposure to the sun, can accelerate this natural process. 


Skin care and elastin

The right skincare containing the right ingredients can lift your skin and give it renewed energy. When looking for an elastin cream, there are some key ingredients to look for. 

Hyaluronic acid

This is naturally found in the skin and has excellent water retaining abilities. As with so many things, as we age, hyaluronic acid levels deplete, leading to dry and ageing skin. Topical hyaluronic acid helps restore your skin’s elasticity. NIVEA Hyaluron Cellular Anti-Age Day Cream contains a hyaluronic acid and collagen booster that activates the skin cells to produce their own hyaluronic acid and collagen. The cream also improves cell renewal and accelerates your skin’s own regeneration speed. 

cream to restore elastin

cream to maintain elastin

Elastin cream

Try the NIVEA Cellular Elasticity Day Cream or NIVEA Cellular Elasticity Night Cream which improve skin elasticity and rebuild skin strength. Skin is strengthened and replenished with 24hr moisture and skin cells are activated to produce their own hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin*.

 

Collagen-boosting ingredients

As elastin works in tandem with collagen, it is important to use skincare that contains collagen-boosting ingredients such as antioxidants - elastin’s flexibility relies on the support collagen gives the skin. They need each other to work on top of their games. The NIVEA Q10 Energy range, such as the NIVEA Q10 Energy Healthy Glow Day Cream, offer a powerful antioxidant triple whammy. A smart combination of the skin’s own Q10, vitamin C and vitamin E, protects the skin against cellular stress and free radicals and helps renew and restore. 

product to stop elastin loss


LOOKING AFTER ELASTIN

The key to keeping elastin in tip top shape is through prevention.
applying sun cream to restore elastin

LOOKING AFTER ELASTIN

Sunscreen:

Always wear sunscreen. Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun damages elastin fibres over time and as these elastin fibres degenerate, the skin starts to sag and stretch. Protect your skin by wearing sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day to keep your skin looking its best and prevent elastin degradation from taking place.

smoking effects elastin

LOOKING AFTER ELASTIN

Smoking:

Avoid smoking as toxins in cigarettes have also been shown to damage elastin and collagen fibres. Smoking triggers free radicals in your body, accelerating ageing and elastosis. 

woman avoiding stress related elastin loss

LOOKING AFTER ELASTIN

Stress:

If you are constantly under stress, it leads to the overproduction of the hormone cortisol, which makes it difficult for your skin to repair itself and continue to produce collagen and elastin. 

woman post pregnancy maintaining elastin

LOOKING AFTER ELASTIN

Hormonal changes:

Menopause and pregnancy can affect your skin’s elasticity. Massage, gentle exercise, good skincare regime and a healthy diet can help mitigate the damage.   

What is elastin when it comes to stretch marks?

Sudden changes - such as weight gain or loss - can damage the collagen and elastin, and cause it to rupture. When the skin is stretched suddenly, the middle layer of skin (the dermis where elastin is found) becomes broken in places. Once the skin loses its elasticity, it can’t spring back as easily, leaving the deeper layer of skin exposed - what we know as stretch marks