Your body has different protein-related needs. When it comes to your skin, elastin, collagen, and keratin come into play. Dr. Jeffrey Hsu, M.D., FAAD, founder of Oak Dermatology, explains to She Finds, “The two most important proteins are collagen and elastin. Collagen is the most abundant protein; it makes up more than 75 percent of our skin and provides structural integrity for the skin. Elastin gives the skin its elasticity, allowing the skin to stretch and bounce back after movement.” These proteins also keep your skin looking supple and hydrated.
When you don’t have enough protein, your skin can feel tight, itchy, and scaly. The Mayo Clinic states that you might also find it starting to peel and crack in places. This can be easily seen in children suffering from severe protein malnutrition known as kwashiorkor, which presents with dry, thin skin that cracks and peels, per StatPearls. The condition isn’t often seen in developed countries, but it can be devastating for those countries where poverty and malnutrition are prevalent.
Most cases of protein deficiency won’t get this bad in the U.S., but ensuring you and your children get the proper amount of protein is vital. You can also apply moisturizer, take short showers, and use gentle soaps to help rehydrate your protein-deficient skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association.