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Collagen and Elastin: The Hidden Benefactors of Youthful Skin
Some spa treatments can boost the production of collagen, which is vital to vibrant, youthful skin. Check out Groupon’s guide to the skin's invisible foundation.
A cooked noodle bends because it's saturated with water. On the other hand, a uncooked noodle is dry and brittle, making it easy to snap in half. The same principle applies to skin—well-moisturized skin is flexible and resilient, whereas dry skin is prone to structural damage. Beyond moisturizing, however, skin relies on two molecules—more specifically, two proteins—to maintain its youthful appearance: collagen and elastin. The most abundant protein in the animal kingdom, collagen helps tissues withstand stretching, resulting in plump, durable skin. Elastin, meanwhile, helps tissues stretch in the first place, forming bundles of elastic fibers that make the skin strong and flexible. Working in tandem, these two proteins give skin a taut, voluminous quality that's prized among hot-air balloons. Even healthy skin is no match for nature, however. Factors such as aging and sun damage can drain the skin’s moisture and weaken its proteins, sapping it of its youth and vigor.
Although it's impossible to actually reverse time, it is possible to regenerate the proteins that make skin look young through a small act of deception. Treatments such as laser or radiofrequency resurfacing and microdermabrasion facials trick the skin into thinking it needs to repair a wound, in which case it amps up collagen and elastin production to rebuild the "damaged" foundation, resulting in an even stronger foundation than before. Topical agents such as retinol creams and plant-based acids also encourage cell synthesis, and as always, staying hydrated is vital to helping your face resist wrinkles and keep from shriveling back into a sponge capsule.