Collagen is one of the most important proteins in the body. It works by binding tissues and cells, resulting in more elasticity and vibrancy in the skin.
As we age, the natural collagen production in our bodies decreases, which leads to thinner and saggier skin, and some areas of the body can become crepey.
What Is Crepey Skin?
Crepey skin is skin that is relatively thin and fragile. It looks wrinkled and fine, resembling crêpe paper. It differs from regular wrinkles, as crepey skin usually covers larger areas of the body.
The most common areas where people have crepey skin are the area beneath the eyes and the upper inner arms.
What Causes Crepey Skin?
While crepey skin is a sign of aging, there are a few factors that can make it worse. Sun damage is one of the leading causes, as the ultraviolet light from the sun can diminish the collagen and elastin that make the skin wrinkle-free and taut.
Smoking is also a cause of crepey skin. Nicotine leads to the narrowing of blood vessels, which limits the oxygen and nutrients to skin cells – all of which are needed for healthy skin.
Another factor is stress. It can cause changes to the proteins in the skin, reducing the elasticity, which leads to wrinkles.
Is Protein Good For The Skin?
Protein is needed for healthy skin. When you consume protein, your body turns it into amino acids, and these are reused to make other proteins such as collagen (as mentioned earlier), and keratin that are needed to regenerate cells for healthy skin.
The proteins needed for healthy skin, and to help crepey skin are keratin, collagen, and elastin.
Keratins are proteins that form epithelial cells. These cells help to line surfaces inside and outside the body and make up the tissues in the skin, hair, and nails (see also ‘Getting Younger-Looking Nails – The Best Nail Oils On The Market‘). This is why you are likely to come across many hair and skin products that contain keratin.
Keratin helps make the cells in your hair, skin, and nails stronger. It also encourages cell regeneration, helps regulate the size of these cells, and helps to heal wounds.
In order for your body to produce the appropriate amount of keratin, it needs certain nutrients that will lead to keratin production. Some of these nutrients are biotin, zinc, and vitamins C and A.
Therefore, consuming foods with these nutrients will encourage keratin production in your body. Some of these foods include eggs, onions, salmon, and sweet potatoes.
Elastin is a protein that allows tissues and organs to stretch out and recoil. It is this protein that enables your skin to stretch and move.
It is also present in many organs in the body, such as the lungs, and is what promotes the lungs to expand and contract as your body breathes.
As with keratin, there are certain nutrients that can help build up elastin production. Some of these nutrients include vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids.
There are a variety of foods that are high in vitamin C, such as oranges, kiwis, strawberries, cauliflower, and broccoli.
Omega-3 fatty acids are normally found in fish such as salmon and sardines, as well as chia seeds and walnuts for those following a plant-based diet.
Carotenoid foods can also help build elastin fibers in the body. These are foods that contain phytonutrients, such as kale, spinach, carrots, and pumpkin.
Probably the most known protein for the skin is collagen. It is the protein that acts as one of the most important building blocks for the body’s skin, hair, muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
Although collagen is naturally present in the body, this decreases with age, so we must consume foods that are high in certain nutrients, that will lead to collagen production.
Foods that are rich in vitamin C can boost collagen production, such as Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and strawberries.
Collagen is also found in the connective tissues of animals, so chicken, fish, beef, and pork, are all great sources of collagen.
However, those who follow a vegetarian or plant-based diet can find the amino acids needed to boost collagen production in certain foods. Some of these include black beans, soybeans, legumes, pistachios, peanuts, and cashews.
An alternative to the above is taking supplements, such as collagen supplements. However, it is important to remember that collagen supplements are not actually collagen.
They are broken down components of collagen that contain amino acids, in order for your body to produce collagen.
Without the essential amino acids, your body will not produce more collagen, so making sure you are eating a healthy and balanced diet that provides you with a variety of amino acids will ensure that your boy has the building blocks to produce the protein it needs.
Other Ways To Protect Your Skin’s Health
A healthy, balanced diet is one of the ways in which you can protect your skin’s health, but there are other important steps you should take to protect your skin.
UV exposure will decrease the beneficial proteins in your skin and can lead to less elasticity and will increase wrinkles. These rays also increase your risk of developing skin cancer, so you should always use sunscreen when outdoors, even during the winter.
Your skin replenishes itself as you sleep, so making sure you are getting plenty of sleep at night can promote healthy skin and less stress.
If you’re a smoker, this can be very hard on your skin, as well as all other aspects of your life. As well as increasing your chances of getting cancer, smoking can have a very negative effect on your skin.
Get more guidance on treating crepey skin here.
In summary, the proteins that contribute to skin health are collagen, keratin, and elastin.
While these proteins may already be present in your body, ensuring you are taking in the right nutrients will promote their production, leading to healthier and vibrant skin.
The key to this is following a nutritious and balanced diet, so your body is receiving all the appropriate amino acids that help the production of these proteins.