When you’re young, the skin can effortlessly retract or bounce back into place after being stretched. This ability is also referred to as skin elasticity, which is mostly determined by your body’s supply of collagen and elastin. Both are essential proteins that work to give the skin a firm and supple texture.
The thing with skin elasticity is it diminishes as you get older. This is a normal part of the aging process where you may notice that the skin doesn’t snap back the way it used to. Loss of skin elasticity is known as elastosis, which refers to the degeneration of dermal or skin tissues. It can make the skin look crinkled, saggy, or leathery.
What causes or contributes to a loss of skin elasticity?
It is normal for the skin to show the effects of time and gravity as people age. Our body’s supply of collagen declines, with the elastin fibers becoming more and more prone to wear and tear as we add more years to our age. This can lead to reduced or loss of skin elasticity, giving the skin a loose and sagging appearance.
Aging or age-related damage, however, is not the only one to blame. Certain lifestyle habits and environmental factors can exacerbate or speed up the loss of skin elasticity. These include:
- Sun exposure – Prolonged and unprotected sun exposure speeds up aging, as well as the breakdown of collagen and elastin. UV or ultraviolet radiation can also contribute to the development of a condition called solar elastosis. This causes the skin to have a yellow and thickened appearance with deep and coarse wrinkles.
- Pollution – This generates free radicals that cause oxidative stress, a process that triggers cell damage and accelerates the aging of the skin. Common airborne pollutants can also hurt the barrier function of the skin, making it more vulnerable to a host of skin issues and damaging skin elasticity.
- Glycation (and poor nutrition) – Glycation occurs when sugar molecules bind to proteins (like collagen and elastin) and lipids. This can then cause the proteins to become weak and less supple, contributing to sagging and wrinkling. A poor diet, especially those rich in sugars, can cause inflammation and lead to the formation of harmful molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). They increase the breakdown of collagen and elastin.
Other factors that can cause or contribute to elastosis include:
- Rapid, extensive weight loss
- Hormonal changes like in menopause
- Lack of sleep
Can you slow it down?
It is possible by tweaking some of your habits, including your diet. Below are some of the things that can help:
- Prioritize sun protection – Since UV damage can accelerate aging, make it a point to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 whenever going out. Don’t forget to accessorize with a wide-brimmed hat and UV protective sunglasses for extra sun protection.
- Load up on antioxidants – Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals to protect the skin and improve both its health and overall appearance. You can load on this beneficial substance by eating fruits and vegetables, as well as foods rich in vitamins A, C, D, and E. You can also apply it on your skin with products like Vitamin C serum and other topical products with antioxidants.
- Don’t forget to moisturize – Choose a moisturizer that can hydrate and strengthen the skin. Dr. Sylvia’s Deep Hydrating Moisturizer is a good choice, as it rehydrates the skin without the use of oil based-ingredients. It can help retain moisture from the air, as well as increase elasticity, smooth the skin, and reduce the look of lines and wrinkles.
- Improve air quality – Indoor pollutants can release free radicals that can damage your skin. Investing in a purifier can keep the surrounding air (in your home or office) clean or free of pollutants. Just make sure that the size of your air purifier is suitable for the size of the room.
- Consider aesthetic procedures – If you’re looking to improve the signs of aging or loss of skin elasticity, non-surgical aesthetic treatments can help. At Cutis Medical Laser Clinics, we have several procedures that can help with aging, sagging, and crepey-looking skin.
- NIR or Near Infrared Skin Tightening – uses pulsed infrared light to tighten and contour the skin, as well as reduce cellulite. It stimulates collagen growth, reducing the appearance of loose skin and softening lines and wrinkles.
- Ultherapy – delivers time-tested focused ultrasound energy into the deeper layers, triggering collagen production. It can be used to lift and tighten the skin on the brow, under the skin, and on the neck. Ultherapy can also improve the appearance of fine lines on the upper chest areas.
- Titan skin tightening – uses a safe, infrared light to heat the dermis well below the skin surface to stimulate new collagen growth. It can improve folds, jowls, fine lines, and mild skin laxity. It can also tighten lax skin on other areas of the body such as the abdomen, arms, and legs.
- Dermal fillers – Volumizing fillers like Radiesse® work as a bio-stimulator that stimulates the body to produce its own collagen. It can add and restore volume loss, smooth moderate to severe wrinkles and folds, and contour the jawline or lower face.
Take note of the things that can speed up and worsen loss of elasticity and other signs of aging. Adopt healthy lifestyle habits, use the right skincare products, and consider aesthetic procedures to slow down the decline of collagen and elastin. Contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore and schedule a consultation with our aesthetic doctor to find out how you can enjoy firm and younger-looking skin for years to come.