Accredited in The Skin Type Solution by one of my idols, Dr. Leslie Baumann (director, Division of Cosmetic Dermatology and Assistant Professor of Clinical Dermatology at the University of Miami), Relastin Eye Silk is the first skin care product that clinically demonstrates the ability to increase elastin in the skin. According to Baumann’s Cosmetic Dermatology, elastin fibers are found at the periphery of collagen bundles in the dermis, and they provide the skin with the ability to “recoil”.
Defects of elastin are associated with wrinkled and sagging skin. In a 1989 study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, a child with “wrinkled skin syndrome” was found to have a deficiency of elastin fibers. [Full article here.]
Normal damage to elastin fibers is incurred whenever the skin is exposed to the sun; elastin subsequently degrades into an amorphous substance that may be witnessed with light microscopy (Baumann).
So how do you make more elastin? Revance Therapeutics has developed Relastin, a moisturizer (or eye cream) with a patent-pending Zinc-Firming Complex that actually causes elastin levels in the skin to increase. This is largely unprecedented, as other formulations, of which there are two main types, only attempt to preserve current elastin levels in the skin. The first of these formulations feature matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors (MMPis), which inhibit matrix metalloproteinase 2 (and the other nineteen matrix metalloproteinases). Matrix metalloproteinase 2 is significant because it degrades elastin (Baumann). The second type of formulation features plant-or-animal-derived elastin as an ingredient. Unfortunately, application of elastin topically has never been demonstrated to increase its production in the skin. In skincare formulations, elastin is only an effective water-binding agent.
While elastin is only one part of the anti-aging picture in the skin, it is believed to be a major contributor to wrinkling and sagging. I personally — enthusiastically — picked up my own Relastin Eye Silk tonight. I’m pretty pumped!