Going by its name, elastin is a vital protein that provides elasticity or suppleness to our organs. This particular protein is usually found in the walls of our lungs, arteries, intestines and also in the skin. It enables the skin to maintain the flexibility, while keeping it stretched. As a result when the skin is pulled, it bounces back to its original position again and does not sag. Thus, skins rich in elastin content help the skin to come back to its usual form after being pulled. Elastin also aids in maintaining the softness of the skin by stretching it to become accustomed to usual functions such as loosening a muscle or open and close the mouth to eat or talk.
Elastin functions in association with collagen, this protein enables our body organs to broaden and unwind. Hence, while elastin enables the blood vessels and the heart tissues, for instance, to expand and then return to their normal shape, collagen offers firmness.
It is interesting to note that our body does not produce elastin after one attains the age of 12 or 13. Precisely speaking, our body stops producing elastin, once it has made sufficient amount of it. Thus, it is very natural that the presence of this protein diminishes as we grow up and with the aging process set it; we begin to have wrinkles or drawn out, for instance, the 'pregnancy pouch' experienced by women several years subsequent to delivering a child. Partially, the remaining skin is basically owing to deficiency of elastin in our body. In addition, this is also an outcome of the skin enveloping the skin for the duration of pregnancy.
Have you ever wondered what would ensue if the elastin in our body is harmed. If you haven't, let us tell you that when the elastin in our body is damaged it results in the loss of elasticity of our body tissues and this suppleness cannot be restored. It may be noted here that the elastin in our body may perhaps be injured owing to a number of issues. Some of these factors include anxiety, smoking, hormones and several other things. In effect, when you have a deficiency of elastin in your body, it signifies that the aging process has set in you. What is worse is that as we continue to lose elastin over the years, our body is unable to operate as effectually as it could have done earlier.
Similarly, as the elastin content in the blood vessels in our body diminishes, the blood vessels lose their ability to draw out effortlessly. Even our trachea or the upper respiratory tract also encloses elastin and when protein is damaged, the person usually develops breathing problems. Over the years, the elastin present in our skin is damaged by the continuous exposure of the skin to the ultra violet (UV) rays emitted by the sun. The ultra violet rays cause these protein fibers in our skin to disintegrate resulting in the skin's ability to bounce back easily when pulled. Eventually, the damage of elastin in the skin leads to the appearance of wrinkles, crow's feet and fine lines on the face.
It is important to note that depleting levels of elastin in our body often results in several ailments and disorders. As an endeavor to cure this malady, scientists are now working to discover new methods to restore the elastin gone astray. While a number of creams and lotions containing elastin for the skin are already available in the market, they only provide a temporary relief from the problem. Thus, scientists in different countries are now trying to develop gene therapy to overcome the problem. Through this method, the gene responsible for producing elastin is introduced into the body with a view to make it produce elastin again and replace the elastin that has diminished over the years.
If any one of you has been using anti-aging products, you will find that elastin forms an important constituent of almost all such skin care products. It may, however, be noted that, the elastin contained in these skin care products is not obtained from human sources, but usually collected from cows or avian and it is believed that these elastin proteins are able to improve the flexibility of the skin. Frankly speaking, researches have demonstrated that the elastin contained in the different skin care products have very little or no impact at all in promoting the elasticity of our skin. These skin care products merely serve as a covering the skin and retaining the skin's moisture, but have no role whatsoever in improving the elasticity of the skin. This is primarily owing to the fact that the elastin contained in these skin care products does not have the ability to infiltrate the skin's layer and, hence, are unable to improve the elasticity of the skin. In order to promote the elasticity of the skin, it is important for the elastin to penetrate the skin layer.
In addition, a number of medical experts have expressed grave concern over the source of the elastin contained in the skin care or other cosmetic products. As the elastin in these skin care products are sourced from cows and birds, these medical professionals apprehend that using such products is likely to make the users vulnerable to avian flu or mad cow disease. Although such apprehensions are not unfounded, the users being exposed to avian flu or mad cow disease may be considered as an extreme case. In fact, thus far there has been no instance of elastin contained in skin care or other cosmetic products causing mad cow disease or avian flu. Nevertheless, this does not come as any consolation and the risk continues to loom large as these two diseases are known to be spreading rapidly.
Moreover, a number of dermatologists have been repeatedly warning that the manufacturers of skin care and cosmetic products containing elastin have been making bogus claims regarding the efficacy of these items only to market their products. For instance, one such product available in the market claims to replace the used up elastin and collagen in our skin. On the other hand, there are other similar products that assert that genuine anti-aging molecules have been used in their manufacture. There is little doubt that all such claims are deceptive and fake. Nevertheless, they have the aptitude to convince numerous people who are trapped into using these products without knowing that they are actually ineffective as far as promoting the elasticity of the skin is concerned. It is surprising to note that, many manufacturers of such products often make use of extraordinary and impressive scientific terminology to market their products at exorbitant prices!
The majority of dermatologists are of the view that even external application of elastin products is unable to restore the supply of this protein when it is exhausted in our skin. In fact, it is possible that a few products that enclose elastin may possibly make the skin look youthful as they are able to add moisture to the skin. Nevertheless, plainly speaking, external application of elastin products can never act as a supernatural tonic to stop the effects of aging process in our skin.
The chemical composition of elastin mainly comprises a number of amino acids, such as glycine, alanine, valine and proline. As discussed earlier, elastin is an essential protein and like collagen, it is produced by the connective tissue cells in arteries, lungs, intestines as well as our skin that are known as fibroblasts. Speaking more precisely, the fibroblasts release a soluble undeveloped variety of elastin called tropoelastin. Later, the enzyme lysyl oxidase catalyzes a reaction whereby the tropoelastin molecules cross-link or join by creating covalent bonds to form a long-lasting, flexible network of elastin fibers that function exactly like latex.