Why Collagen & Elastin Are Essential For Youthful Looking Skin

Collagen and elastin are easily the most sought-after duo in skincare. So just what is it that makes these two so important? They’re the gatekeepers to keeping your skin looking and feeling younger in terms of skin firmness and structure.

Think about it this way, collagen is the scaffolding for our skin, and when you have a lot of it, it creates a nice tension to the skin’s surface. As it disintegrates, you get wrinkles. Meanwhile, degenerating elastin causes skin to lose firmness and tone, which is when you start to see sagging. Picture how a balloon looks and feels when it’s full of air… and then visualize its appearance after a week, when some of the air has escaped.

“Collagen provides skin with strength & firmness. It’s the most abundant protein found in the skin, making up about 80% of our skin,” explains Perricone Director of Education Rosalba Martone. “Elastin allows skin to expand/stretch and bounce back providing a tighter appearance. It gives skin its structure. Together, they’re essential for warding off fine lines, wrinkles and a loss of firmness.”

Though the loss of this skin superduo is (unfortunately) inevitable, reversing the appearance of damage is possible with the right combination of scientifically proven ingredients, like those found in Perricone MD’s new High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum, that target both the internal and environmental factors that can wreak havoc on our skin. To fully understand how this super-serum can help reverse the signs of aging, it’s important to understand the role each partner in this super-couple plays. Here, what collagen and elastin are, and why they’re essential for skin youthfulness.

High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum | Why Collagen & Elastin Are Essential For Youthful Looking Skin | Perricone MD

What is collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and helps give structure to our hair, skin, nails, bones. It’s one of the main reasons we are able to bend and stretch without feeling aches and pains. Plus, collagen is the driving force behind firm, youthful skin, shiny hair, and strong brittle-proof nails.

Collagen actually makes up a whopping 80% of the protein found in our skin, so it’s absolutely essential as the building block of our complexion.

Why your skin needs it

Collagen is the reason your complexion is firm and plump. It makes up about 80% of your dermis (or middle skin), where it forms a fibrous network of cells called fibroblasts.

These grow new collagen and get rid of old collagen. Ideally, this is a process that works seamlessly so there is always an abundance of healthy new collagen. But as we age, less and less collagen is produced. 

What happens when you lose it

When we’re young, we have an abundance of both of these fibers—hence the soft, smooth perfectly plump skin you see on a child. But the aging process starts as soon as we stop growing—usually by the time we graduate from college. By our mid-20's, natural collagen production starts to decline by one to two percent each year. The breakdown of these fibers can be a result of smoking, environmental aggressors, hormonal imbalances, and poor diet. But the biggest culprit in breaking down both: Sun damage, which is responsible for over 90 percent of our wrinkles. When UV rays penetrate the skin, they begin a complicated process in which protein enzymes chew up collagen, and disintegrate elastin fibers. That’s why you may see more thinning, wrinkling, and sagging on sun-exposed areas like the face, jawline, neck, and chest.

What is elastin?

Elastin is the very stretchy protein found in connective tissue and skin. It allows the tissues in our body to resume their shape after stretching or contracting. And it plays the same role in skin:

Elastin helps it to return to its original position when it is pulled or pinched. While collagen gives your skin strength, elastin is what allows it to bounce back, so to speak, after making a facial expression.

Why your skin needs it

Elastin allows skin to be elastic, pliable and firm (while collagen makes it plump). Because of this, the two go hand in hand (and are both created by fibroblasts in the dermis). Elastin gives skin its ability to stretch -- and, even more importantly, to end up where it started out. When you pull on your skin and it snaps back into place, that’s elastin doing its job.

What happens when you lose it

The building block of elastin is a protein called tropelastin. The bad news? We only have one tropelastin gene (compared to lots of genes for collagen), so once it starts to decline (in puberty!), the body doesn’t do anything on its own to replenish it. Extrinsic aging factors--like UV rays, smoking, poor diet, and pollution--speed up the process. The result? Less and less spring in our skin. Smile lines are a great example of elastin loss, as they stay even when you’re no longer smiling.

One Product with Three Essential Ingredients for Firmer-Looking Skin

High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum | Why Collagen & Elastin Are Essential For Youthful Looking Skin | Perricone MD

Perricone MD’s new High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum supporting our skin’s own youth-generating properties. “This serum contains the highest concentration of polyamine growth factor available in any skincare product to improve the feel of skin elasticity and help promote the look of youthful, visibly firmer skin by replenishing moisture,” explains Martone. “Plus, it’s rich in eggshell membrane and encapsulated retinol to promote collagen-rich looking skin.” Magical when combined together, here's why these three ingredients are incredible on their own. 

Polyamine Growth Factor

Our bodies are loaded with growth factors—the large proteins that float between cells, signaling growth, healing, and cell survival.

The whole idea behind these growth factors is that they speak to the cells, telling them to create more healthy cells, or instructing them to repair damaged cells. 

So, a growth factor can signal the cells to produce more collagen when necessary, repairing sun damage and reversing signs of aging like wrinkles. Studies have shown that applying growth factors topically promotes youthful, supple, collagen-rich looking skin.

There’s debate among dermatologists as to whether topically applied growth factors can penetrate the skin enough to be effective. That’s because growth factors have a large molecular size that prevents them from entering the epidermis.

But what exactly does it mean when a skincare product has growth factors? And are all growth factors created equal? One form of growth factors hails directly from human stem cells, such as the skin, fat, bone marrow, umbilical cords, etc. But don’t worry—these are simply proteins, not actually biological parts (so there’s no ick factor). The second form of skincare growth factors are bioengineered in a lab. These are designed to speak to the fibroblasts as soon as they’re applied to the skin, and these are the ones found in High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum.  “The new Perricone MD product contains synthetic polyamine skin growth factor, which is believed to be superior to other options,” says Perricone MD Chief Innovation Officer Chris Caires. Perricone MD’s synthetic form is bioengineered to better  penetrate the skin’s surface.

High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum | Why Collagen & Elastin Are Essential For Youthful Looking Skin | Perricone MD

Encapsulated Retinol

Retinoids reduce the appearance of uneven texture such as lines, wrinkles and enlarged pores by promoting collagen-rich looking skin. That’s one reason they’ve long been viewed as the gold standard topical skin treatment by dermatologists.

Numerous studies have shown that retinoids reduce the look of fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration by accelerating surface skin exfoliation and renewal.

That’s the good news. The bad news on retinol is that it can dry and irritate skin, making it a no-go for people with sensitive skin. Plus, retinol becomes less stable (and therefore less effective) when exposed to air and sunlight. The game-changer for retinol is the encapsulation process, which means that it is encased in a shell material such as polysaccharides (gums, starches, celluloses), proteins like gelatin or soy; lipids like waxes, paraffin, and oils; or synthetic polymers. Perricone MD’s new High Potency Growth Factor Firming & Lifting Serum uses a polymer matrix shell to protect the retinol from oxidation, degradation and evaporation. Plus, the encapsulation creates a unique slow-release carrier system that helps calm the skin and make the retinol experience less irritating, explains Martone.

Eggshell Membrane

The thin layer that lines the eggshell is designed by Mother Nature to nourish and protect the precious egg components. It provides all of the nutrients and factors the embryo needs to develop in a short period of time, supplying both antioxidants and nutrients. 

Made of insoluble protein keratin, it works like a gatekeeper, making it key when it comes to wound recovery and healthy skin growth. It also helps to visibly diminish signs of aging, redness and discoloration.

The Bottom Line When It Comes to Boosting The Appearance of Collagen and Elastin

While the marriage between collagen and elastin is essential to youthful skin, it’s the threesome of growth factors, retinol and eggshell membrane that can keep the dynamic duo going strong. Skin aging is caused by both internal and environmental factors affecting both the dermis (inner layer of skin) as well as the epidermis (outer skin layer), which is why using a skincare product containing high-powered, potent ingredients that help in increasing the speed of cell turnover and protect against moisture loss all contribute to keeping our power couple of collagen and elastin in a healthy, happy relationship – of which your skin truly benefits with a firm, lifted and youthful appearance!