Have you ever woken up in the morning with weird lines on your face left by your pillow? You can thank your skin’s diminishing elasticity for those lovely tiger stripes.
The truth is, around age 30, our skin begins to lose elasticity and collagen. This means our once full, firm skin becomes more creased and threatens to migrate further south with each passing year. It just doesn’t bounce back the way it used to.
If the thought of drooping skin makes you feel, well, droopy – look no further! We’ve got a list of products that boost elastin and collagen production and improve skin elasticity to give your skin a more youthful resilience.
With the right routine (and some preventative measures, which we’ll explain) you can achieve smoother, firmer skin with little effort and without resorting to invasive procedures. Check out our easy-to-follow advice and product recommendations below!
Why is it important to increase skin elasticity?
Before we get to our top products that improve skin elasticity, here’s a quick word on the reason why we need these products in the first place.
Elastin is a protein found in the skin and connective tissues. As the name suggests, this protein helps skin retain its suppleness and allows it to return to its normal state after being tugged or pinched. Elastin’s sibling, collagen, is another protein found in the skin that is responsible for providing structure and maintaining skin elasticity.
Try this: pinch the skin on the back of your hand. It should bounce back fairly quickly. However, if your skin takes more than a couple of seconds to return to its normal state, that means it has lost elastin and collagen.
Why does this happen? As we mentioned, it’s just another fun part of aging. Nevertheless, there are specific behaviors that can speed up the loss of elasticity over time and cause prematurely aged skin. Among these are consuming excess alcohol and sugar, which cause inflammation in the skin and break down collagen and elastin1.
Smoking has the same effect. In fact, smoking decreases blood flow to the skin, making it difficult to transport oxygen and nutrients to skin cells. It also degrades elastic fibers in the dermis, the middle layer of the skin that contributes to plumpness.
Chronically missing out on sleep doesn’t do your skin any favors either, as sufficient sleep allows the skin to produce collagen and elastin at a higher rate.
But you can you guess what is the biggest culprit of the breakdown of skin elasticity?
Kudos if you guessed “sun damage.” Yep, neglecting to protect your skin from the sun – i.e. wearing sunscreen, hats, etc. – is the single most destructive habit in terms of our skin health and appearance. UV rays are responsible for a host of skin issues, not least of which is the degradation of the deeper layers of our skin where elastin helps provide structure and support.
In other words, prevention is key, but even if you haven’t taken all the right steps to care for your skin, here are some products that can help.
Now, the “It” List for Improving Skin Elasticity
The affordable price point isn’t the only feature that makes this product attractive; it also boasts ingredients like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. Niacinamide is another name for vitamin B3, which aids in cell regeneration and has been shown in lab studies to improve skin elasticity2.
Like collagen and elastin, hyaluronic acid is found in connective tissues and attracts moisture to keep the skin hydrated. Skin dehydration becomes a major problem as we age, so using hyaluronic acid can help increase skin elasticity while plumping the skin for a more youthful look.
The name of the brand sounds like “elastin,” so it must be good, right? Indeed, this product contains niacinamide and a host of peptides that can stimulate the production of both collagen and elastin. Peptides are the building blocks of proteins and help to preserve the structure of the skin so that it doesn’t sag.
Men, this one’s for you. This anti-aging cream contains tretinoin, the most potent retinoid (aka Vitamin A) available. Retinoids like tretinoin improve skin elasticity by boosting collagen production and increasing cell turnover rate, meaning that it helps the skin get rid of dead cells so that new, healthy ones can reach the surface faster.
Because this stuff is so powerful, it requires a prescription and careful use, since it can provoke significant skin irritation. But it’s extremely effective, so if you’re looking for a serious anti-aging ingredient it’s worth looking into. The folks at Hims will even set you up with a virtual doctor’s visit to see if you’re a good candidate for a prescription. Nice!
Everyone loves a good sheet mask now and then (or every day!), and Naisture’s Collagen Mask has all the goods for a skin-firming pamper session. Packed with vegetable and marine collagen, along with hyaluronic acid, this mask will leave your skin plump, smooth and supple.
This cream promises to lift and tighten sagging skin, creating a more youthful definition to the face. The main star is vitamin B3, part of the brand’s trademarked NIA-114 formula. Plus, their patented Gravifill-CS Shaping Complex promises to treat loss of volume and facial contours. We’re not exactly sure what these names mean, but we sure like the sound of the results!
Most of us tend to focus on the face when it comes to addressing aging skin issues, but the neck is equally important when it comes to maintaining a youthful appearance. Since the neck and décolleté (aka, your upper chest area where the skin is very delicate) typically receive a good deal of sun exposure, the skin on these areas are often the first to show signs of aging.
Fortunately, StriVectin has a tightening cream that specifically targets the neck to smooth and lift the skin, diminishing those pesky horizontal lines that plague the best of us. Like the face cream, the neck cream contains NIA-114, along with a variety of botanical extracts to even out skin tone.
Since we’re already talking about more than just the skin on our face, we thought we’d mention a body cream for improving skin elasticity. NIVEA’s Skin Firming & Toning Body Gel-Cream contains coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a substance found naturally in our cells that helps generate energy within the cells so that they can repair damage and remove toxins.
And, since CoQ10 is an antioxidant, it helps prevent and repair damage caused by UV rays and other environmental threats. Furthermore, CoQ10 aids in the production of both collagen and elastin, so it’s an all-around age-fighting ingredient that is worth adding to your skin care arsenal.
The truth is, just about all of our products target a loss of skin elasticity in some way, but our vitamin C serum stands out for its powerful blend of antioxidants that fight the free radicals responsible for breaking down collagen and elastin.
Antioxidants also help make sunscreen more effective, so they are an essential part of both the prevention and treatment of the loss of skin elasticity. This serum also contains niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, leaving the skin brighter and dewier.
Another one of our best sellers, the Dermal Matrix Lifting Serum is an innovative formula that contains Snail Mucin (yes, you read that right). This substance – which is actually a filtered extract of snail mucus – has multiple properties that make it ideal for improving skin elasticity.
For one, it has been shown to provide protection against cell death, while at the same time increasing the number of fibroblasts (the cells that produce collagen) in the skin. The Dermal Matrix Lifting Serum also contains vitamin E and vitamin A in the form of retinyl palmitate, a gentler version of retinol.
We’d be remiss not to include a sunscreen in this lineup, since sun protection is absolutely essential to skin health and elasticity. This one pulls double duty because it contains peptides and antioxidants to protect the skin while boosting collagen and elastin. And because it’s a moisturizer that’s also a sunscreen, it wears well under makeup and will keep your skin soft.
To sum it all up, if you want to keep or regain a youthful bounce and firmness in your skin, you’ll need to combine a healthy lifestyle with a smart skin care routine.
Look for products that contain ingredients like retinoids, antioxidants (especially vitamins C, E, and B), peptides and hyaluronic acid. And don’t just stick to one product: as you can see, there are many different types of products that perform different functions.
Start with a good cleanser appropriate for your skin type, then add youth-enhancing toners, as well as a quality serum and/or moisturizer. Eye creams are also a good bet if you’re looking to defy the aging process. Need a little guidance? Check out our article on a simple skin care routine for advice on how to implement an effect routine for your skin.