If you grab and pinch a place on your skin, whether it is on your face, arm, or stomach, the quickness with which it retracts to its original form is a sign of your skin’s elasticity. If you are a teenager, the elasticity of your skin is generally much better than that of your 65-year-old grandmother.
As you age, your skin’s outer layer (the epidermis) starts to thin, and the health of the dermis beneath plays a crucial part in the elasticity of your skin. As we’ve discussed elsewhere on the site, the connective, fiber-like character of collagen and also elastin greatly impact the look and health of your skin. If these two proteins are depleted or compromised, so is your skin’s health, which can result in a condition called elastosis (prevalent in the elderly).
Challenges to elasticity are very prevalent in your everyday life, although most of them are either preventable or can be minimized. Those challenges include:
- Dehydration — not caused solely by lack of water intake, but also from drinking too much alcohol or being in weather conditions that cause you to become dehydrated. It can lead to thinning skin and loss of elasticity
- Smoking and Other Pollutants — The toxins inherent in these two factors need to be avoided whenever possible if elasticity and good skin are your goals.
- Sun exposure — The effects of sun exposure can obviously be minimized by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more. Too much unprotected sun time can destroy that all-important collagen that your skin needs to maintain its strength and rejuvenating power.
- Diet — Eating foods high in antioxidants (such as vitamin C) help to boost the power of your skin’s collagen and elastin.
- Normal “Wear and Tear” — This one is hard to avoid, because all of us over the course of our day will smile, frown, and squint, which takes a toll on the skin’s elasticity after many years; it’s called “aging.”
If you make the effort to build a skincare regimen geared toward protecting the epidermis and the collagen/elastin team working in the dermis below it, the elasticity of your skin should diminish less quickly.