Gravity can wear your spirits down as you encounter the depressing sight of sagging skin and drooping jowls. I believe that the source of a lot of disappointment with skin creams is due to the fact that although, these days, many of them do iron out fine lines they don't necessarily restore elasticity.

If your budget will stretch to it (pun intended), stump up for a Baby Quasar ($399 in the store) or some form of LED (light emitting diode) device. In October 2008, German researchersidentified how the visible light works — by changing the molecular structure of a glue-like layer of water on elastin, the protein that provides elasticity in skin, blood vessels, heart and other body structures. The light strips away those water molecules that are involved in the immobilization of elastin, gradually restoring its elastic function and thus reducing facial wrinkles.

It works even better over a serum (it helps the ingredients penetrate) and should you want to choose ingredients that focus on elastin, here are few ideas. Most of them are only just starting to appear in skincare products.

Phytessence wakame

Wakame has all sorts of things going for it, but since we are focusing on elasticity, we are most interested in the fact that it has demonstrated dose-dependent inhibition of the activity of hyaluronidase in vitro. Hyaluronidase is an enzyme that attacks the skin’s supply of hyaluroic acid, which improves elasticity and smoothness. By binding collagen and elastin fibers together, hyaluronic acid makes skin smooth, firm, and flexible. Without hyaluronic acid, elastin and collagen fibers lose their “glue,” leading to a loss of youthful appearance. In inhibiting hyaluronidase, wakame prevents the deterioration of the extracellular matrix, which is a dominant means of defense against visible aging and the weakening of dermal thickness.

It is relatively new (it is one of our ingredients to look out for in 2010) and sometimes appears under the name of undaria pinnatifida.

Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs)

The primary role is to maintain and support collagen, elastin and turgidity (bounce) in the cellular spaces and keep protein fibers in balance and proportion. It also promotes the ability of the collagen and elastin fibers to retain moisture, therefore remaining soluble (Source). In skin care products, they are essential to the epidermal & dermal cells metabolism and keeping the collagen and elastin of the skin in good condition. GAGs are important in the reaction of copper peptides to help repair wrinkles and scarring. Known as the water reserve of the viable epidermis and dermis, these carbohydrates are dependent on fluid intake. Glycosaminoglycans are also linked to the lymphatic system. It is in Smooth N Silky.

Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract

This is a strain of bacteria isolated from mud found on King George Island in Antarctica. It is a peptide that is classified as a protein derivative, and contains the following three amino acid residues: glycine, histidine and lysine. Amino acids are important for elastin and PFE is helpful in moisture retention. Studies (unfortunately not independent of in vitro samples showed a 128% increase in collagen I production over 15 days; 81% in collagen IV; and 31% in elastin. It is in Dermaxime's eye cream and April Rain Night Rainew.

Hibiscus

A kind of okra, they are said to inhibit the degradation of elastin. What is for sure, is that they are high in unsaturated fats, such as oleic acid and linoleic acid, and rich in AHAs and amino acids and polysaccharides made up of, amongst other things, galacturonic acid (a big deal in the composition of cell walls). There are also plenty of proteins, making okra seeds comparable in this regard to soy.

Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate

A derivative of a natural mucopolysaccharide, or a component “found in connective tissue, skin, bone and cartilage together with proteins from the intercellular cells where collagen and elastin are embedded”. derived from mucopolysaccharide, which is responsible for cell transportation in connection tissue. Mucopolysaccharides are also thought to be responsible for the elasticity, resilience and the strength of the skin. It is in GloTherapeutics GloSuper.