What Does Hyperelastic Skin Mean? Causes & Treatment Options

Hyperelastic skin as the name suggests is a type of skin that can be stretched more than its normal limit. When your skin is well hydrated and healthy, you can stretch it to some extent. Your skin returns to its normal when you release it. This all occurs due to presence of collagen and elastin. They are two types of protein present abundantly in skin, muscles and bones. Collagen is involved in structural part of skin while elastin helps the skin to stretch.

Your skin becomes hyperelastic due to excess production of collagen and low elastin content.

The mismatch of these two proteins can cause your skin to stretch beyond its normal extent. This phenomenon occurs is many diseases, but prominently in a disease called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Hyperelastic skin cannot be treated, but the damage caused to the skin can be minimized by using sunscreen, avoiding, wearing protective gears while performing strenuous physical activities.

What Are The Causes Of Hyperelastic Skin?

Hyperelastic skin is also called as ‘India rubber skin’ since it stretches as rubber. This skin condition develops due to excess production of collagen. Collagen is a type of protein present in many tissues of the body such as the skin, bones, muscles etc.

It is the main structural protein of connective tissue in human body. Hyperelasticity of skin occurs when there is over production of collagen in the body.

This skin condition is prominent feature of a disease called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. In this disease, along with skin the joints are also hyper stretchable. For this reason person suffering from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is also referred as rubber man or rubber woman. E-D syndrome is a genetic disease caused due to defect in certain genes. There are few other medical conditions in which you may find hyper stretched skin. They are:

  • Marfan syndrome
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta
  • Changes of skin associated due to sun damage.
  • Subcutaneous T cell lymphoma.

Other reasons that may cause hyperelastic skin are:

There is a major connection of skin health and age. As a person grows older, his skin becomes lose. This is because there is less production of elastin with growing age. The skin hence loses its elasticity and hangs. Hperelasticity of skin can also develop due to premature aging of a person. Factors that increase risk of premature aging are:

  • Too much frequent exposure to sun.
  • Loss of subcutaneous fat.
  • Smoking
  • Dehydration

Treatment Options For Hyperelastic Skin

Hyperelastic skin is untreatable condition. However, the underlying condition that may be responsible for causing abnormal stretching of skin can be addressed. For example Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic condition of connective tissue can be treated effectively with combined therapy of medication and physical therapy.

Sometimes patient suffering from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome may need surgery especially of joints if they are extensively stretched. If a person is suffering from subcutaneous T cell lymphoma, use of topical steroid, chemotherapy and radiation will be useful treatment.

Because there is extensive skin stretching, it becomes more thin and delicate. Hence certain measures must be taken to prevent further damage to the skin. For example person going out in sun must apply sunscreen over the exposed area of the body to prevent sunburn.

Person must take extra precaution to avoid cuts and scrapes that occur easily. These injuries take more time to heal since the skin is thin. Wearing protective gears, such as gloves while gardening or knee guard while playing, will be beneficial in reducing the risk of skin damage.