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Lets Talk About Skin Proteins: Collagen and Elastin 

 January 10, 2021

By  Axel Lillsunde

SKIN PROTEINS AND THEIR EFFECT ON OUR SKIN'S APPEARANCE?

Our skin is the largest organ in our body, and there is an entire industry surrounding the care and treatment of it. It’s easy to forget how complex our bodies are, and neglect the basics our skin requires such as: plenty of water, good nutrition, sun protection, moisturizer, and even daily cleansing at night. 

 

The skin is made up of several layers that all constitute water, proteins, lipids, and different vitamins, minerals and chemicals. 

 

What is the skin's structure?

Human skin is made up of three main layers: the Epidermis, Dermis, and subcutaneous tissue. The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin and is the part of the skin visible to the eye. It is also the thinnest layer, and it is responsible for protecting us from the harshness of everyday life. In the epidermis we many different kinds of cells like:

 

  • Keratinocytes which produce keratin

  • Melanocytes which produce melanin

 

Keratin is the protein that is responsible for giving the epidermis its toughness, as it is the main component. It is also the primary component within our skin and nails. Melanin is responsible for giving our skin its color, its main job is to absorb sunlight and UV radiation. 

 

Underneath the epidermis is the dermis, which is the layer that defines our skin, providing fullness and plumpness. Two very important proteins are manufactured there-- that’s right, you guessed it. Elastin and Collagen are both produced in the Dermis. Elastin, like elastic, gives structure and rigidity to our skin, kind of like shrink wrap. Without elastin our skin sags, and we lose this protein naturally as we age.

 

Collagen, on the other hand, is the most plentiful protein in our skin. Combined with elastin these two superstars ward off wrinkles and fine lines. 

 

What causes skin sagging

 

Let’s face it (no pun intended), as you age your skin is going to sag. Everyone goes through it, and although genetics play a large role in the degree at which your skin will sag, it is unavoidable. 

 

Although saggy skin is not a medical condition, it can still be very frustrating to deal with as it does not always respond to at home and topical treatments. As we age, the production of both of these decreases significantly. Each year after you turn 20 your collagen production levels decrease by 1%. 

 

This is natural, and happens to everybody, but other factors such as UV exposure, pollution, and poor diet also contribute significantly to the deterioration of the skin. 

 

This is why, especially in Miami, it’s very important to protect yourself from sun overexposure and take good care of your skin. 

 

 

 

Topical Creams

 

You want your skin to be smoother and younger-looking, but you don't want to pay for professional treatment. Look to retinoids, the most popular home treatment for skin resurfacing. 

 

Historically, this topical medication was reserved for acne, but retinoids can also reduce the signs of aging. Retinoids are applied topically (to the skin) and come in a cream or gel. Usually, people with oily skin prefer a gel; those with dry skin tend to prefer the cream variant. 

 

In the United States, retinoids are available only by prescription. The exception is the lower strength retinol and retinaldehyde found in creams on store shelves.

 

Medical Spa Treatments

 

Skin tightening, essentially, is simply tightening the skin using heat. However, there are limitations to the treatment, and it is not effective for everyone. For people with large amounts of sagging skin, surgery is a much more time and cost effective method. 

 

There exist a variety of lifts and tucks to reduce skin after massive weight loss. For people with underlying health conditions, skin tightening may not be recommended either.

 

As such, it is important to make a consultation with your doctor and verify whether you’re a candidate for skin tightening. It’s also important that the individual providing your treatment be a professional. 

 

Micro-Needling

This is one of the most effective treatments for natural collagen and elastin reproduction. There are a couple of variants. One of the most powerful non-invasive variants is called Radio frequency Micro-needling. This treatment isn't actually what you’re thinking of-- it’s not traditional micro-needling where the epidermis is destroyed with tears. 

 

Instead, a radio frequency micro-needling tool is more like a “stamp” that creates microscopic holes. Once the needles are inside the skin, radio frequency is directly applied to the dermis to stimulate it. 

 

Radio frequency Micro-needling is much more effective than just traditional RF treatments, but the full treatment takes much more time to complete. On average 3-4 sessions spaced about a month apart is what’s usually recommended for RF Micro-needling. 

 

 

Fractional C02

Fractional resurfacing is one of the newer methods of conducting skin tightening treatments. When this method is used, microscopic areas of the skin are treated while leaving the skin surrounding each column intact to aid in healing.  This results in fewer side effects while still reaping the benefit of visible improvements to the skin.

 

 

Laser Treatments

There are many laser treatments available on the market, and it can be relatively overwhelming. It’s important to speak to a specialist in order to determine which treatments are appropriate for you. In general, lasers with cosmetic intentions fall under one of two categories:” ablative” or “non ablative. 

 

Most Medical Spas will offer free consultations whereby you can diagnose your specific skin concerns and get a personalized treatment plan administered.


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