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Why A Lack Of Protein May Lead To Crepey Skin, From A Derm

Unrecognizable Woman In Her 50s Applying Moisturizer to Her Face
Image by Leandro Crespi / Stocksy
November 13, 2022
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Loose and sagging skin is a natural part of aging (which, as a gentle reminder, is a privilege in itself). However, the mechanism that leads to skin sagging can be directly influenced by the foods you consume and which ones you neglect.

Of course, consuming enough vitamin C and drinking loads of water is essential for bright and supple skin, but derms recommend prioritizing another food group as well if you want tighter, younger-looking skin.

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Why you should prioritize protein to ease crepey skin. 

The underrated skin-loving food group in question? Protein. "A sufficient amount of protein as part of a healthy diet is essential to support the body's ability to synthesize proteins of all types, including those in the skin," board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D., tells mbg.

There's a plethora of proteins in your skin, the most abundant of which is collagen. And if you don't consume enough protein in your diet, your collagen production will be affected.

However it can be difficult to know whether or not your protein intake is sufficient, so here are a few telltale signs you might be running low:

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Of course, the symptoms listed above can be signs of another deficiency in the body, but filling your protein gap is a safe (and relatively easy) place to start. Adding clean and rich sources of protein to your plate is a must—think animal sources like fish and lean meat, or plant-based protein from lentils, hemp seeds, nuts, oats, etc. 

And if you want to work on crepey skin from multiple angles, then you may consider adding a collagen supplement to your diet. Not only can collagen help folks meet their daily protein intake6, but hydrolyzed collagen has been shown to support skin elasticity, hydration levels, and promote youthful texture7.

Plus, collagen and elastin naturally decrease in the skin as we age, directly contributing to accelerated aging and sagging—so compensating for that loss is essential for healthy skin aging.

What's more, hydrolyzed collagen can even benefit your muscles, gut health, and joints—providing full-body support. If you want to learn more about the benefits of adding collagen to your daily routine, this story will answer all of your questions. Plus, we have a long list of expert-approved collagen supplements to choose from so you don't have to search high and low.

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The takeaway. 

If you want tighter skin, you have to prioritize protein intake. You can choose to consume protein through animal sources or plant-based protein. And if you want to be sure you're getting the most skin-loving source of protein and giving some extra TLC to your hair and nails, add a collagen supplement to your daily routine. If you're not sure whether protein powder or collagen is better for your lifestyle and goals—start here.

Hannah Frye
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.