A specific variety of protein found in our body, elastin is responsible for the elasticity or suppleness of our skin. In fact, elastin enables the skin to remain taut and contributes to the skin's ability to return to its usual form even after it is stretched.
As one ages the amount of elastin present in their body decreases, thereby resulting in the appearance of wrinkles. In addition, reduced elastin in the body causes the skin to sag and become creased. The maximum amount of elastin found in our body is during the period between adolescence and adulthood. Following this, the amount of this particular protein begins to decline. Elastin is primarily found in the walls or membranes of the arteries, lungs, intestine and the skin. This protein functions in unison with collagen, thereby assisting the different organs of the body to relax after they are stretched.
Collagen helps to maintain the rigidity of the skin, while elastin is responsible for the capability of our blood vessels as well as heart tissues to contract and expand and again return to their normal positions. In other words, these tissues can stretch owing to the presence of elastin. It is amazing to note that our body does not produce elastin after we are 12 or 13 years old. The elastin produced by our body during this period is used by it all through our life.
Elastin is responsible for keeping our skin tight, but flexible at the same time. This protein helps the skin to bounce back to its original position when stretched or pulled.
With age, there is depletion in amount of elastin present in our body, which causes the skin to stretch out or wrinkle. If one notices, they observe that the pregnancy pouch that several women experience during their pregnancy often lasts for several years even after giving birth to their baby. To some extent, the remaining skin is owing to inadequacy of elastin in their body. In addition, pregnant women also experience over stretching on their abdominal skin and this leaves stretch marks later. This is also due to inadequate elastin in their body.
Often, you will notice that many skin care products contain elastin as an active anti-aging ingredient. In fact, the products containing this particular protein has not been obtained from human sources. On the other hand they are usually derived either from cows or birds. Theoretically, speaking elastin obtained from these sources ought to promote the elasticity of the skin better.
In effect, it has been found that elastin present in various skin care products seldom has any effect on our skin's elasticity; even if there is any, it is trivial. These products may, however, create a covering on the skin that may facilitate the skin to retain moisture better. On the contrary, these products will not help in promoting the flexibility of the skin. This particular protein present in skin care products generally does not possess the aptitude to enter the top layer of the skin, which is essential for making the skin further elastic.
In addition to this, a number of experts are also worried about the sources of elastin in cosmetics. As the elastin contained in these products is derived mainly from cows and birds, it is argued that such use of this protein in skin care and cosmetic products may possibly expose people using them to avian flu and mad cow disease. In such cases, it may cause disasters in the life of the users of such products. However, there is no report that the use of cosmetic products containing elastin from cows and birds has led to avian flu or mad cow disease. Nevertheless, the risk is always there as these diseases are currently spreading in various regions of the globe.
Moreover, dermatologists are of the view that skin care or cosmetic products that contain elastin often make hollow promises related to the benefits of using them. For instance, there is one product that claims using it help to replenish the amount of elastin and collagen depleted from the body. Then again, another product claims that it is made using actual molecules that possess anti-aging properties. There is no iota of doubt that all these claims are false. However, often they appear to be convincing, as they generally use scientific terms that sound so impressive in order to market their products at high prices.
Nearly all dermatologists are now more or less sure that applying elastin topically onto the skin does no help in replacing the protein that has already been lost. A number of skin care products containing elastin obtained from cows and birds may cause the skin to look more youthful for a temporary period, as they moisturize the skin properly. However, it is clear that this protein is not a magic potion that possesses the ability to stop the skin from becoming wrinkled and saggy as a person ages. This is mainly because our body stops producing elastin after we are 12 or 13 years old.
It is worth mentioning here that when our body loses its elasticity, it is not able to regain it ever. The elastin property of our body may be damaged or reduced owing to a number of different reasons such as smoking, excessive stress, hormones and others. In addition, the elastin property can be reduced owing to the aging process. The functioning of our body is negatively affected as the body as well as different organs lose their elastin property. For instance, when the elastin property of the blood vessels is depleted, they are unable to stretch appropriately, thereby affecting the circulation system negatively. Another important point to remember is that exposing oneself excessively to sunlight may also damage his/ her body's elastin property. The loss or damage of elastin property of the body may result in a variety of diseases. As a result, scientists are now endeavouring to introduce this vital protein into our body through gene therapy. This is considered to be more effective compared to using skin care and cosmetic products that are applied topically.