What is Collagen & Elastin and What are the Differences?


We often obsess over our skin’s appearance - looking closely in the mirror and analyzing every enlarged pore, etched line, and pigmented spot. But have you ever stopped to consider what’s going on underneath the skin’s surface causing it to look the way it does? 

The skin is a complex organ comprised of three distinct layers made of various lipids (fats) and essential proteins. These essential proteins - collagen and elastin - give our skin it’s strength and structure. 

What are Collagen and Elastin?

Collagen and elastin are often dubbed “the building blocks of skin.” These naturally occurring proteins are responsible for our skin’s bouncy, elastic form. They provide strength, shape, flexibility and resilience. 

Collagen is a fiber-like protein that creates a mesh, providing our skin with its thickness and robustness. Elastin is also a protein, however it acts more like a spring or a coil, giving the skin its bounce, stretch and elasticity. 

What happens to Collagen and Elastin as we age?

As we age, our skin loses its bouncy suppleness, all thanks to the unfortunate decline of collagen and elastin. Lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, enlarged pores - these skin concerns are all a result of degrading collagen and elastin beneath our skin’s surface. 

Collagen and elastin decline happens naturally as we age. We’re born as babies with bouncy, squishy skin thanks to an abundance of these essential skin building blocks. Once we reach our mid-twenties, our body starts to produce less and less of these skin-supporting proteins. Environmental factors such as free radicals and sun exposure all play a huge role in the demise of our skin’s natural collagen and elastin mesh-like structure.

Signs of collagen and elastin degradation can include lines and wrinkles that stay after you make an expression, loose skin, enlarged pores and slow-to-heal skin after breakouts. 

Prevention & Correction

Luckily, today’s skincare technology can not only help slow down the natural decline of our own collagen and elastin, but it can also help rebuild and re-stimulate collagen and elastin production in the skin. 

With thoughtfully prescribed products and treatments, diligence and commitment, we can preserve our youthful appearance for healthy and strong skin for years to come.

Slow Collagen and Elastin Decline with Antioxidants & SPF

Antioxidants and sunscreen are the two main components when it comes to preventing collagen and elastin breakdown. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and specialized botanical ingredients help shield our skin from environmental pollution that can damage our skin deep beneath the surface.  

For a potent antioxidant serum, choose IS Clinical’s Super Serum Advance+. Super Serum Advance+ combines a 15% concentration of a next generation stable L-ascorbic acid with a bioidentical Copper Tripeptide growth factor for added anti-aging benefits. Super Serum Advance+ also contains powerful botanical antioxidants and safe skin brighteners such as arbutin and mushroom extract, making this an excellent choice for those with hyperpigmentation.

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Shop Flawless Antioxidant Favorites

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For SPF protection, our must-have is Alastin’s HydraTint Mineral Sunscreen with SPF 36. This sheer tinted formula glides on like a dream and offers superb physical defense against collagen and elastin degrading UV rays. 

PRO TIP: Tinted sunscreens offer added protection vs. non-tinted sunscreens. Iron oxide pigments help to shield visible light for more complete protection. 

Stimulate New Collagen and Elastin Production with Peptides

Signs of collagen and elastin degradation can be addressed through topical products, supplementation and in-spa treatments.

First, topical products. Look for serums and creams with ingredients that will stimulate your skin to produce more of its own natural collagen and elastin. The key ingredient to look for are peptides. Peptides are amino acids, or the building blocks of collagen protein. These broken up pieces of protein can actually penetrate the skin and encourage new collagen production. Studies have shown that peptides work as messengers within the skin, signaling a chain of reactions that stimulate cells to produce new essential proteins.

Our favorite peptide serums are Vivant’s RejuvRX for acne prone skin, and MBR’s Crosslift Serum Ultrapeptide for normal to mature skin.

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Dietary Supplementation

We all know by now that beauty comes from within. The same goes for our body’s ability to product collagen and elastin. Dietary collagen supplements contain proteins and collagen fragments that can stimulate our body to create more of its own collagen, an essential protein found in the skin, hair and nails. 

We’re obsessed with Agent Nateur holi(mane) hair, skin + nail supplement. Formulated with bioavailable amino acids (the building blocks of collagen,) this flavorless powder supplement activates hair, skin and nail cells to produce collagen, promote cellular repair and hydration. Add it to your morning coffee for an undetectable anti-aging boost!

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In-Spa Treatments

Stimulating collagen production with facial treatments such as Microneedling can have a dramatic and immediate effect on the strength and appearance of our skin. At Flawless by Melissa Fox, our microneedling protocol uses a unique stamping device that stimulates the skin to renew itself and push new collagen and elastin rich skin to the surface, reveal a more smooth, retextured skin from the inside out. Combined with epidermal growth factors that encourage further regeneration, this treatment is a game-changer when it comes to wrinkles, enlarged pores, and loose or thinning skin.