Before we look into ways of increasing collagen and elastin levels we need to look into one more very important component of skin aging – Hyaluronic Acid!!!!
HA, also known as hyaluronan or hyaluronate, is a carbohydrate molecule which occurs naturally throughout the body, but more than 50% of it is found in the skin, where it is a major component of the extracellular matrix (ECM), the space surrounding the cells of the dermis, the thickest layer of the skin.
It is very efficient in attracting and binding water to itself, turning into a viscous “gel” and has various important functions throughout the body such as lubrication of the movable parts of the body (joints and muscles) to making up the fluid inside the eye, to name but a few. This ability has given HA the name of “nature’s moisturiser”. It also plays an important role in wound healing and inflammation, both of which can stimulate production of HA.
HA is produced within the ECM and it provides the framework through which cells can travel, and through which nutrients and waste are transported to and from the cells. The HA found within the ECM also provides the medium within which fibrous elements of collagen and elastin, and even small blood vessels can find a structural support.
A healthy and hydrated ECM is what gives skin its smoothness, pliability and resilience. Unfortunately, as we age, natural and environmental factors cause the skin cells to lose their ability to produce HA, collagen and elastin and as a result cells cannot hold enough water, collagen production and quality declines, and this leads to a thin, dehydrated, fragile, inelastic skin.