When it comes to understanding why our skin ages, it’s important to first understand the structure of our skin. From the range of dermal layers to the types of proteins and collagens which reside there, keeping all of these elements healthy will result in a younger, more glowing appearance.
This week’s focus is on Fibrillin – a protein which helps our skin, lungs, blood vessels and other body parts to remain elastic and healthy, rather than rigid and weak as we age. (1) It's known in medical terms as a micro-fibrillar protein in connective tissues, with a wide distribution around the body. (2)
So, where does Fibrillin come into keeping our skin youthful, and how can we keep it working?
Where is Fibrillin found?
Fibrillin is found in the supporting fibers in our skin, and helps to keep our dermis tight and youthful-looking. Its structure is woven to hold neatly together, ensuring it's surrounding tissues are flexible yet sturdy. It cannot be replaced in our bodies, and our stores diminish gradually as we get older. This means taking care of our Fibrillin is vital for keeping a youthful appearance.
What does it do for our skin?
Similar to other collagens and proteins, Fibrillin is key to keeping skin smooth and supple as we age, and keeps skin elastic and able to spring back into place! As supporting fibers, they keep the outer layer of our skin (the epidermis) tightly secured to the underlying softer tissues. Think of them as our skin’s tent-pegs, keeping our skin taut and preventing the external layer from flapping about in the wind!
How can we maintain a good Fibrillin level?
There are a few reasons why our Fibrillin levels decrease, so, therefore, a number of ways we can prevent that from happening. Sun exposure is a key player in the damaging of our Fibrillin, so one measure to take would be to ensure adequate sun protection at all times. A high SPF and UVA protection, especially in warm climates, is the first step to younger-looking skin. It’s said that around 75% of all skin aging is due to sun damage!
Another way to keep your Fibrillin happy is to use topical skincare products which have been designed to support this particular protein. Ingredients like All-Trans-Retinoic-Acids (or ATRAs) are well-known for helping the skin to produce more Fibrillin-1, as well as Vitamin A and antioxidants which form a protective barrier over the skin’s external dermis.