The role of collagen and elastin to support skin
Skin is the largest and the most superficial organ of the human body. It is made of two main layers—the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is composed of tightly packed epithelial cells while the dermis is formed by irregular, dense connective tissue. It contains sweat glands, hair follicles, blood vessels, and other structures. The dermis has three major structural components, i.e., elastin, collagen, and Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Of these two, collagen and elastin play an important role in keeping our skin young and healthy.
Collagen is the most abundant protein present in the human body. It is responsible for strength and support to the skin. It keeps the skin tight and composed. Over time, this structural protein and the skin’s main components start to deteriorate, resulting in the emergence of aging signs.
It is a protein found in several connective tissues and ensures a unique physiological elasticity. It is formed by keratinocytes and fibroblasts, and ensures the elasticity of the skin. Alterations in the elastin fibers are strongly linked to skin’s photo-aging.
The aging process:
The aging process occurs in two ways. The first is the ordinary, natural process—intrinsic aging. The second kind – extrinsic aging – occurs because of the environmental factors like ultraviolet (UV) rays and pollution. Aging results in the loosening of epidermis and dermis. It causes the elastin fiber to restructure and results in the loss of elasticity and makes the skin saggy. Whereas, wrinkles are a result of the deterioration of both collagen and elastin. That is why collagen is used as a filling agent to segment the tissues and remove or prevent wrinkles.
To remove or prevent wrinkles, the collagen and elastin are replaced by injecting chemicals into the skin. The injected products, known as fillers, improve the skin’s physical features by augmenting the soft tissue. They are gel-like substances and involve a minimally invasive procedure to reach underneath your skin and treat wrinkles. The fillers cannot permanently replace the lost proteins and fats, but they can replicate the skin’s natural structure. Dermal fillers plump up, smoothen, and add volume to the skin.
Types of dermal filler
There are multiple types of dermal fillers, which are:
- Hyaluronic Acid (HA): Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a gooey substance naturally produced by the skin. It is also a crucial ingredient in cosmetic products that hydrate and plump the skin. The results of gel-like HA fillers remain for six months to one year. These fillers are more expensive than collagen.
- Calcium Hydroxylapatite: This filler is a type of calcium present in the human bones. A mineral-like compound—it does not need any animal products for creation. That is why it is suitable for vegans too. These fillers are long-lasting and have a lifespan of 9 to 15 months.
- Polylactic acid: This filler treatment involves injecting polylactic acid that stimulates natural collagen production in the human body. It dissolves after a day or two. This compound accelerates healing and is used to heal dissolvable stitches given after surgery. While it is biodegradable, this filler is still a synthetic ingredient.
- Polymethyl-methacrylate Microspheres (PMM): These microspheres are injected to improve structure underneath deep wrinkles or plump up thin lips. PMM are tiny, synthetic balls that provide longer-lasting effects than both HA and polylactic acid. Multiple appointments are required to fill in the area slowly with several small fillers.
- Autologous Fat Injections: This filler material originates from the human body. These injections employ the fat deposits from some area (donor) area of your body. It can be any area containing ample fat from the belly to buttocks. The fat is extracted through liposuction—surgical suctioning of deposits. It is then injected into the required area of the body where a deposit has to be made. Being a natural filler, this one lasts forever.
Pros and cons of using synthetic fillers
Synthetic fillers have increased dramatically in popularity in the past few years. These procedures have many benefits for skin, but they also come with several disadvantages.
- These procedures can successfully mask the wrinkles and fine lines that start appearing when the skin ages.
- They have a uniform, toned skin structure while taking away years off the face.
- Fillers treatment is usually painless and minimally invasive and gives off results in a shorter time.
- Synthetic fillers require repeated treatments because they result in an impermanent mask in front of the wrinkles. Even the collagen stimulation is ensured only for a specific area. That means one has to get the same treatment every few months.
- The results are not always as desired. Some recipients have complained about a ‘chipmunk look’ because of a lot of fillers in their face.
- All the dermal fillers can cause bruising. It occurs more frequently after the injection is administered into the dermis.
- Filler procedures can also cause short-term post-traumatic swelling. While this swelling is normal and nothing to worry about, sometimes it can prolong and create trouble. Some people experience prolonged angioedema, which is the swelling in the deep layers of the skin. Moreover, the dermal fillers are foreign bodies, and some recipients may develop an allergic response to these products.
- It can also cause malar edema—swelling in cheeks—which is a serious complication of fillers.
- Fillers treatment can also likely cause skin discoloration that results from neovascularization—the formation of new blood vessels in the area with impaired circulation due to trauma. These tiny vessels remain there for at least three to twelve months.
- The dermal filler procedures are associated with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in some people. This occurs due to trauma from the filler treatment.
- If the filler treatment, especially the hyaluronic acid fillers, are improperly injected, a bluish hue can appear which may prolong for a long period.
- Some of the filler injections could paralyze certain parts of the face. That happens if a nerve gets injured in the process.
- The dermal filler injections are also linked to a risk of infection, as the procedure breaks the skin surface. It can also lead to the reactivation of herpes virus infections. Moreover, when the fillers are injected into the skin, they can form a biofilm by getting coated with bacteria. Biofilms comprise a densely packed set of bacteria, which wrap themselves around secreted polymers. Biofilms are difficult to remove and pose the risk of various infections.
- Paresthesia (loss of sensation) is another complication of dermal filler injections, although rare. It may occur as a result of trauma when the nerve gets pierced or partially cut by the injection. Nerve damage may be transient or permanent.
Technology has advanced to the extent that we now know how to mold faces to make a youthful appearance. While it is good that the medical industry has seen such advancements, nothing beats the benefits of using natural and organic products to solve our health-related troubles. Fillers may be a shortcut to hide the effects of aging, but they come with side effects too. Also, they are expensive and require repeated treatments that turn into a lifetime cycle of getting yet another filler injection. On the contrary, natural methods are a side-effect-free way to slow down the signs of aging.
Restoring the support of the skin structure in an organic way
The synthetic fillers come with a lot of side effects and complications. Hence, opting for a natural alternative to prevent wrinkles and sagging skin is safer. The easiest way to keep them at bay is to minimize the lifestyle that speeds up the aging process. Some factors are responsible for pacing up the oxidation process that leads to the loss of collagen and elastin. Here are a few things to do:
1. Limit Sun Exposure
Getting sunlight is important for overall health. But without using sunblock, there are health issues related to sun exposure. The UV rays coming from the sun activate an enzyme called matrix metalloproteinases (MMP). These enzymes break down the collagen. UV radiation also activates another enzyme, cathepsin K, that breaks down elastin. Together these activated enzymes accelerate the aging process and lead to the appearance of wrinkles. Moreover, due to the depleting ozone layer, more UV rays reach the earth than ever before. So, it is better to limit exposure to the sun. When exposed, using shade and a good sunblock can protect against the harmful sun rays.
2. Stop Smoking
Smoking, be it first or secondhand, is one of the main culprits behind premature skin aging. It generates free radicals when the smoke reaches your body. Free radicals damage cells by binding with them and causing premature wrinkles, among many other impacts.
3. Limit Alcohol
Limit alcohol consumption, as it leads to an increased free radical activity. Moreover, it dehydrates and damages the skin while accelerating the aging process.
Exercise also helps slow down the aging process and prevents wrinkles. Research shows that it can help regulate and even increase the antioxidants in the body. However, intense exercise without proper nutrition and rest can reduce the release of antioxidants. More information on antioxidants and their role in skin aging is available in another blog post.
5. Sleep Well
Taking adequate sleep helps maintain the antioxidant level. Lack of sleep increases the free radical activity and causes hormonal imbalances. Studies show that chronic sleep deprivation reduces the antioxidant levels in the body. People with insomnia undergo higher oxidation activity than those who sleep well. Moreover, poor sleep quality can increase the signs of aging and decrease skin barrier function.
6. Eat Healthy
Studies indicate that eating fresh fruits and vegetables can prevent free radical damage. Foods rich in antioxidants are a perfect diet for healthy skin. Avoiding the sugar-loaded diet or that with oily foods or refined carbohydrates can also slow down the aging process. Given below is a list of foods that are beneficial in keeping the skin healthy and young.
Foods to rejuvenate skin
These foods can help slow down the aging process and prevent wrinkles:
Cilantro: Cilantro or coriander leaf contains vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant and is known to boost collagen production. It contains linoleic acid, which is a powerful anti-aging agent for the skin.
Fish: The bones and ligaments of fish are made of collagen. Some researchers state that marine collagen is easily absorbed. Hence eating fish and shellfish can help maintain the collagen levels in the body.
Egg Whites: Egg whites are rich in proline—an amino acid crucial for collagen production. Because of that, egg whites can help prevent wrinkles despite not containing connective tissues.
Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, which is a strong antioxidant. Hence, getting enough vitamin C is crucial for skin health. Fruits like grapefruit, lemons, oranges, and limes should be an incumbent part of the diet.
Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are another excellent source of antioxidants. In fact, contrary to the popular belief, strawberries are known to provide more vitamin C than oranges.
Garlic: Garlic contains high amounts of sulfur, which helps with the formation of collagen. It also prevents the breakdown of this important protein.
Leafy Greens: Leafy greens are a vital part of a healthy diet. Spinach, kale, and other green vegetables contain chlorophyll, which is known for its strong antioxidant properties.
Tomatoes: They are also a great source of vitamin C. They can provide 30 percent of this vitamin and are abundant in lycopene—a potent antioxidant.
Beans: A diverse group of legumes, beans are one of the best sources of antioxidants. Be it green broad beans or pinto beans, these legumes are efficient in preventing free radical activity.
Omega-3-6-9 for skincare
Omega fatty acids are renowned for their significant nutritional benefits for the skin. Among the three valuable fats, i.e., omega 3-6-9, omega 3 and 6 are deemed as essential fatty acids. The human body cannot produce these fats on its own, but they are crucial for our health and the skin. They act as the vital building blocks of the skin’s layers and are responsible for the smoother, younger, and healthier look.
Omega fatty acids have positive effects on the cell membrane that becomes thin with age. The role of cell membrane is that of a barrier and it controls what goes inside and outside the cells of the skin. A healthy barrier promoted by omega fatty acids helps retain moisture in the skin cells and makes the skin softer and wrinkles become less visible. These fatty acids also have a protective role against UV-induced collagen destruction in the skin cells, and impedes the inflammatory process that releases chemicals in the aging process.
The dietary sources of omega fatty acids include plant foods like spinach, kale, soybeans and nuts, such as chia, walnuts, and almonds. A great source of omega-3 is fatty fish like trout, mackerel, salmon, and sardines. If one cannot consume these foods in routine, omega 3,6, and 9 supplements can be a good alternative. BLACK PAINT offers a blend of 8 premium organic plant oils to meet one’s omega 3, 6, and 9 needs.
Organic ingredients to support collagen and elastin regeneration
Many skincare products contain organic ingredients to utilize their skin benefits and prevent side effects of the synthetic items. Here are a few of the common organic ingredients used in these products:
Coconut Oil: It is known for showing anti-inflammatory effects. Studies show that it increases the collagen components and thus may prevent wrinkles.
Argan Oil: This oil protects the skin from sun damage. It exhibits strong antioxidant activity and neutralizes the free radicals, thus preventing the loss of collagen and elastin.
Ostrich Oil: Ostrich oil is high in Omega 3, 6, and 9. It manifests anti-aging properties and removes the appearance of wrinkles.
Aloe Vera Gel: This gel comes from the aloe vera plant’s pulp. Along with its many benefits for skin like reduced oil secretion, less acne, and less prominent blemishes, it also reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Studies show that this ingredient can show significant results in terms of skin elasticity and the removal of wrinkles.
BLACK PAINT offers many skincare products that slow down the aging process and remove wrinkles. All the ingredients in these products are organic. For instance, its Ostrich Balm moisturizes the skin and promotes skin repair. The ostrich oil component in this product helps restore skin elasticity and ensures wrinkle-free appearance. It also protects against sun damage.
Another useful product is Argan Balm, a moisturizing balm that particularly targets the wrinkles around the eye area and corner of the mouth. Its argan oil content helps fight free radical activity and prevent early aging signs.