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  5. Collagen Vs Elastin: Know the Difference

Have you ever wondered what gives your skin firmness, elasticity and strength? Collagen and elastin, the two naturally found proteins, are the key components.

Many of you may get confused between the two, due to their similar functionalities. However, both work in their own way to maintain overall health of your skin.

Let’s learn about the characteristic differences between collagen and elastin in this article.

What Are The Differences Between Collagen & Elastin?

 

Collagen

Elastin

 

Definition

 

Collagen[1] is a group of proteins found mainly in the connective tissue of your skin. Your fibrous and supportive tissue also contains collagen protein. Almost 30% of your body protein is collagen.

Elastin[2] is a protein created by fibroblasts which form a chain of elastic fibre. These elastin fibres maintain your skin’s elasticity and firmness.

 

Molecular Structure

 

Collagen is made of the triple helix formed with three polypeptide chains. [3]

Elastin is made with three random components. However, no helix is formed due to the combination.

 

Properties

 

Collagen is a key component found in tissues like fascia, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, bone and skin. It is made of amino acids such as hydroxyproline glycine, proline, and arginine.

It is a major protein component of tissues like lungs, arteries, bladder, skin, elastic ligaments and cartilage. Elastin is made of soluble tropoelastin, glycine, valine, proline residues and modified alanine.

 

Uses

 

Collagen provides strength and elasticity to your skin.

Elastin allows many tissues of your body to continue being in their shape even after stretching. It also helps skin to return to its original status after being poked or pinched.

 

Flexibility

 

Collagen is not that flexible in nature.

Elastin is known for its flexibility. It is nearly 100 times flexible than collagen.

 

Colour

 

Collagen is white in colour.

Elastin is yellow in colour.

 

Abundance

 

Collagen is the third abundant protein in your body.

Elastin is less abundant than collagen.

 

Production

 

Collagen is produced throughout your life but the amount reduces with age.

Eastin production stops when you hit puberty.

 

Affected By

 

Your collagen level may get affected by extreme sugar intake, smoking, exposure to sunlight or even due to health conditions like autoimmune disorders.

Elastin is most likely to get affected by sudden weight gain/loss, dehydration, sleep deprivation, smoking and UVA or UVB rays.

 

Diseases associated

 

Collagen deficiency can lead to diseases like osteogenesis imperfecta, Ehlers-danlos syndrome and chondrodysplasias.[4]

Elastin deficiency may cause atherosclerosis, Marfan’s syndrome[5] and emphysema.

What Are The Similarities Between Collagen & Elastin?

1. Collagen and elastin are two different kinds of proteins that work as the key components of connective tissues.

2. The protein duo strengthens your skin and increases the flexibility of your body structures.

3. Both collagen and elastin are made of fibroblasts.

4. If the production of these proteins decreases in your body, you may see signs of ageing like wrinkles and fine lines. Your skin may also become leathery.

vector diagram schemes two types skin

Young Skin Vs Aged Skin

The human body is naturally built to renew itself during the destruction of old tissue and the generation of new ones. But ageing stops the regeneration and continues the destruction. A prominent example of this is your skin.

1. Buildup Of Dead Skin

The stratum corneum is the outermost layer of your skin. It keeps shedding the old and dead skin cells and rebuilds new ones to replace them. The procedure of moving skin cells from the inner layer to the upper layer usually takes around 28 days. As you age, the entire process slows down, and the dead skin cells start building-up on your skin’s surface making it look dull, dry and unhealthy.

2. Ability To Repair Skin Damage

Collagen and elastin deal with the signs of ageing, like wrinkles and sagging. As you age, your body reduces or stops the production of these two proteins. This in turn, disturbs your skin’s natural ability to repair skin damage.

3. Quantity Of Collagen And Signs Of Ageing

While young skin has a good amount of collagen, aged skin has little of it. The quantity of collagen production makes a huge difference between young and aged skin appearances. In your teenage or early 20’s, your skin looks tight, firm and glowing. After late 30’s, your skin starts showing ageing signs like wrinkles, baggy eyes, fine lines, and sagging skin.

4. Decrease in Blood Flow

When you get older, the blood flow through the dermal capillaries decreases. This narrows down the amount of the nutrients that used to reach your epidermis. The outer layer of your skin starts thinning and the protective barrier does not give full protection. This eventually leads to dehydrated and dull skin.

Healthy Skin Vs Damaged Skin

Healthy skin of an adult has 90% collagen fiber and less than 10% elastin fiber. The normal healthy skin collagen-elastin ratio is 10:1.[6] But damaged skin does not have this ratio as the production of collagen and elastin gets affected by various reasons.

As mentioned above, factors like sunlight, lack of vitamin c, sleep deprivation can affect your skin as well as decrease the production of both the proteins. Exposure to extreme sunlight is considered to be one of the top reasons for collagen break down. Sunlight can even cause free radicals which also breaks down your collagen layer.

Vitamin C helps your body to produce and store both collagen and elastin. Lack of this essential vitamin can reduce antioxidants from your skin and make it damage-prone. Also, your body needs sufficient sleep to keep up with the production of collagen and elastin. Lack of sleep will disturb the natural cycle of protein production, resulting in early ageing signs.

Tips To Protect The Collagen and Elastin Layer

1. Extreme sun exposure is the ultimate enemy of your collagen and elastin layer. Always apply sunscreen on the exposed areas of your skin while going out under sun.

2. Keep your skin hydrated. This will support your collagen production.

3. Niacinamide, a major form of vitamin B3, can help you maintain skin elasticity by minimizing the enlarged pores of your skin.

4. Add vitamin A in your diet, as it helps in the regeneration of new skin cells and protects the collagen layer of your skin.

5. Rosehip Seed Oil is good for improving skin elasticity and improving antioxidants in your skin.

6. Taking Vitamin C enriched food or supplements will provide you with a smooth and glowing skin by supporting collagen and elastin layers.

7. Organic Hibiscus Extract will help you fight against the pigmentation due to reduced collagen in your skin and even out your skin tone.

8. Add retinol to your skincare routine to improve your skin’s appearance by collagen boosting.

9. Opt for a peptide that stimulates the collagen and elastin and makes your skin firm.

10. Get sufficient sleep so that your body gets enough time for collagen production.

Wrapping Up

Your skin speaks of your age. Healthy and glowing skin can easily take a few years off from your face. Collagen and elastin work together to keep your skin tight, healthy and youthful. But skin damage and growing age can reduce the collagen and elastin production in your skin and make it look dull, wrinkled and saggy. Therefore, it’s important to protect your collagen and elastin layer to keep your skin healthy. Knowing your skin type can help you look after it and protect the collagen and elastin layer in a better manner.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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