What is Elastin and what are its cosmetic properties
Elastin is a skin protein, mainly composed of some amino acids such as glycine, valine, alanine and proline, produced by dermal fibroblasts; i.e. cells found in the middle layer of the skin, between the epidermis (the outer part) and the hypodermis (the deepest part).
Fibroblasts have the precise task of producing collagen and elastin, whose main function is to keep the skin elastic and compact. Elastin represents about 2% of the weight of the dermis and is produced as a simple molecule which, by binding to other molecules or polymers, forms a three-dimensional network. This latticework gives the skin its typical elasticity.
Fibroplasts, which are very numerous at a young age, decrease over time, which is why, over the years, the skin ages, loses elasticity and begins forming wrinkles.
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The function of Elastin
Elastin therefore guarantees the skin the elasticity necessary to withstand the typical mechanical tensions and deformations to which the skin is subjected over the course of a lifetime, always restoring its original state.
However, this ability to stretch and contract without damaging the skin is only possible to a certain extent.
Due to traumas, excessive weight gain and consequent weight loss, the typical stretch marks, scientifically called "striae dermo-epidermal atrophies" are produced. They are real scars on the skin, due to the breaking of the three-dimensional elastic latticework.
As mentioned above, the other sworn enemy of elastin is ageing.
The turnover rate of elastin proteins is quite low. In fact, it is produced up to the age of twenty, after which the replacement of the damaged elastin slows down, until it no longer occurs.
In order to counteract and slow down this natural process, various strategies can be adopted; following an elastin-preserving lifestyle; a diet and nutritional regime that helps slow down its degradation and favors its synthesis; cosmetic treatments that protect it and prolong its life.
Properties of Elastin
To prevent the natural degradation of elastin present in the dermis, the strategies to be adopted are: prevention, the intake of food supplements containing elastin "friendly" substances and the use of cosmetic products, including the most recent snail slime ones.
To prevent degradation, it is necessary to adopt a lifestyle preventing the skin from being exposed to or ingesting elements that are enemies of elastin. First of all, you need to protect yourself from UVA rays which, after just a few minutes of exposure to the sun, activate a chemical process that degrades the proteins of the dermis.
This chemical process is similar to the one produced in our body by free radicals, which are primarily responsible for the ageing process of both body and skin.
Free radicals are the natural result of the oxidation process that characterizes the life cycle of every living being.
The body itself has already got anti-oxidants able to counteract the effects of free radicals.
In fact, due to incorrect lifestyles such as:
- medications intake;
- high fat diet;
- excessive exposure to the sun;
- intense sporting activity;
- exposure to polluted air
the antioxidants naturally produced by the body are no longer enough; it is therefore necessary to integrate others through a diet that is rich in these substances.
Dietary supplementation of Elastin
You can also resort to dietary supplementation of elastin, to have more amino acids that contribute to the protein synthesis process; It is rather unrealistic to think of stimulating its production by taking the amino acids that make it up.
Even a lifestyle that greatly limits exposure to harmful agents certainly contributes to keeping the skin younger and more elastic for longer.
Finally, elastin has been synthesized as an active ingredient widely used in the cosmetic sector, whose contribution, when supplied from outside, counteracts the ageing process and the formation of wrinkles..
Products containing elastin now represent a preventive treatment for still young skin, helping to keep it supple and hydrated for a long time.
Cosmetic applications of Elastin
Snails have been used since ancient times for the properties that snail slime had in counteracting: calluses, warts and small skin diseases, as well as to promote the healing of scars. Some recent scientific studies, conducted on the properties of snail slime have also made it possible to discover its regenerative and re-epithelializing effects - especially the ones of the Helix Aspersa species - when applied to damaged skin tissue.
In the course of,scientific tests, some products based on snail slime have achieved the regeneration of damaged tissues, directly intervening in the production and preservation process of elastin and collagen. Snail slime facilitates the formation of new skin cells through the stimulation of the already known fibroblasts and consequent production of elastin. This activity helps maintain toned and elastic skin for a long time.