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Skin myths debunked: Collagen and elastin

You may have heard skincare claims that collagen- and elastin-enhanced creams are a “youth serum” that can erase wrinkles and make your skin appear refreshed. That’s stretching the truth, however, according to author Dr. Ahmed Abdullah – a Dubai- and U.S.-board certified plastic surgeon who wrote the book “Simple Skincare, Beautiful Skin: A Back-to-Basics Approach”  was released for sale on September 1.

The bottom line: Although collagen and elastin can be a plus when added to a product, it’s not for the reasons the package promises.

What They Are

Both are proteins found in the connective tissue of humans and animals. Collagen is a structural protein and a main component of human skin that gives it its strength. Elastin helps the body’s tissues return to their original shape after contracting or stretching.

What They Will Do

As an ingredient in a topical skincare product, collagen and elastin can make a product glide on more smoothly and feel silkier on the surface of your skin. Period.

What They Won’t Do

It won’t be absorbed into your skin for rejuvenating effects. There are a handful of reasons why. When removed from its natural animal or human source, proteins die. At the molecular level, collagen and elastin are either too large for your pores to absorb or processed into soluble or hydrolyzed particle form.

Increasing vs. Applying Collagen

For youth-preserving properties, instead of looking for products that contain collagen, search for solutions that increase your body’s natural supply of it. Some ingredients to look for:

– Copper peptide is an antioxidant which may boost collagen and elastin production.
– Vitamin C repairs elastic tissue and stimulates collagen growth.
– Besides reducing photo damage, Vitamin A derivatives called retinoids can up your complexion’s collagen level.

You can take collagen hydrolysate or collagen peptide supplements, plus Vitamin C to stimulate the body’s production of collagen. You can also get Vitamin C in your daily diet by eating a variety of citrus.

Your body needs two amino acids to build collagen proteins: Threonine and proline (although proline is a nonessential acid your body can produce, you can help things along with good nutrition choices). You can take threonine by supplement or add some asparagus, chicken, chickpeas, beef, eggs, lentils, milk, peanuts, pork, snap peas and soybeans into regular rotation in your menu planning.  Proline-high foods include beef, cabbage, cheese, gelatin and soy.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing