Lines, wrinkles and sagging skin are an inevitable part of skin ageing, however the more we understand why and how these show up, the better equipped we are to delay their appearance. Let’s take a look at two naturally occurring proteins—collagen and elastin—and the role they play in keeping skin healthy and youthful.
What are collagen and elastin?
Collagen is a protein (an amino acid) that is found in tendons, fat and connective tissue in the body. It is the most abundant protein we have and it helps provide structure to your skin. Think of it as the scaffolding that holds your skin up and keeps it firm and healthy.
Elastin is also a protein that is found in the body’s connective tissue and helps in allowing the tissue in the body to recoil like a spring to its original shape after being pulled or stretched.
Both these proteins are found in the dermis of the skin, and while they are both proteins and work together to give skin its shape and firmness, they have contrasting functions. Collagen helps skin stay firm and taut. It’s the protein that prevents sagging. The other—elastin—gives skin its bounce, the ability to “snap back” like a rubber band after it has been stretched. Having the right amount of both these proteins not only keeps skin looking youthful, it also keeps it strong and healthy.
As we grow older (think as early as post-puberty) the skin stops producing elastin. Collagen production reduces by one per cent each year after the age of 20. Lifestyle factors like an unhealthy diet, smoking, excessive exposure to UV rays and pollution also exacerbate the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which speed up the skin’s ageing process and result in lines, wrinkles and sagging. You will begin to notice drooping of the skin at the brow bone, laxity at the jawline, overall sagging skin and lines around the eyes and mouth.
While we cannot completely prevent the loss of collagen and elastin over the years, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants, avoiding smoking and excessive sun exposure can all help slow the breakdown of collagen and elastin. Topically, applying sunscreen daily along with the right skincare for your skin type can help delay the appearance of lines, wrinkles and sagging. Treatments like Ulthera can also help boost the production of collagen and elastin within the body.
Ulthera is a non-invasive, non-surgical aesthetic treatment that restores the skin’s shape and firmness with minimal down time. It uses concentrated ultrasound waves that bypass the surface of the skin and turn into heat energy once inside the body to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. What separates this from other ultrasound treatments is the proprietary visualisation technology that allows the practitioner to see exactly where they need to target the heat energy for best results given that each person’s subcutaneous tissue and ageing pattern is different. Each session is about 30 to 90 minutes (depending on the areas to be treated), and the treatment is relatively painless though you may feel some discomfort. Numbing cream is always on hand for this. You may experience some swelling, numbness, slight redness, tingling and find your face tender to the touch after the treatment, but this will soon subside and you may resume your regular activities.
Ulthera instantly triggers the production of collagen and elastin, but the results are seen over a few months. As the weeks pass you can expect to see a lifted brow, tighter skin around the jawline, lifted jowls, tauter skin under the chin and softer lines and wrinkles. Depending on your collagen production, age and lifestyle, you may only need a session every 12 to 18 months.
Schedule a consultation with our aesthetic doctor today to learn more today.
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