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Crepey skin isn’t pretty to look at, and it tends to worsen over time. What is crepey skin? It’s an age-related problem where the skin becomes thinner, wrinkled, and more fragile.
It earns its name because the appearance and texture resemble that of crepe paper. Wrinkles are most likely to show up on your face and neck, but crepiness can affect the skin on any part of your body, including the face, hands, arms, and neck.
To tackle the problem of crepey skin, you first have to know what causes it.
The Origins of Crepey Skin
Aging is the most significant risk factor for crepey skin, but you’ll develop it at an earlier age if you spend lots of time in the sun.
Crepey skin comes from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
The first is the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which gives skin its firmness and resistance to sagging and wrinkles.
Sun exposure plays a crucial role in collagen and elastin breakdown since UV rays from the sun damage these proteins. Exposure to the sun is a leading cause of skin wrinkles, laxity, and age spots too.
The second factor that contributes to crepey skin is fat loss.
With age, people lose subcutaneous fat, the layer of fat that lies directly underneath the skin. The loss of fat thins down the skin and makes it look less youthful.
Look closely at photos of yourself 20 years ago. You probably had fuller cheeks than you do now. Over the years, you lost subcutaneous fat due to aging.
Plus, if you went on a diet and lost weight, the rapid loss of weight may have damaged the elastin that keeps your skin resilient and caused your skin to look crepey.
The most common area for crepey skin to show up is around the eyes since the skin is thinnest. The same can happen to other areas of your body, not just your face.
It’s also common to have crepiness involving the neck, hands, and arms. Finally, the lack of moisture contributes to crepey skin. If you look at crepey skin, it seems dehydrated and moisture-deprived.
Certain risk factors increase the risk of developing crepey skin or cause it to show up earlier in life.
Some of these factors include:
• Being over the age of 40
• Having genetically light-colored skin with little melanin
• Not wearing sunscreen for sun protection
• Having specific health problems, like an underactive thyroid or diabetes
• Being female
• Rapid or extreme weight loss or repeated weight gain and weight loss
• Being malnourished or eating a nutritionally inadequate diet
• Smoking or using excessive alcohol
Home Treatments for Crepey Skin
Using an intense moisturizer consistently can modestly improve crepey skin’s appearance by plumping it up, but it won’t address the underlying issue of collagen and elastin damage.
Using a moisturizer that contains retinol, like this one, can help your skin produce new collagen and elastin, but it can take up to six months for these products to make significant improvements to skin texture.
Even more powerful are prescription-strength retinoids used to treat acne and aging skin. The downside of prescription retinoids is they often cause redness and peeling when you first start using them. Retinol creams and lotions are less likely to cause severe skin irritation.
Skin creams and moisturizers that contain vitamin C, an antioxidant, are also beneficial, although vitamin C is very unstable.
Unless it comes in a dark bottle and is stored in a dark place, it will quickly lose its potency.
More Advanced Treatments
If you use retinoids or retinol-based treatments and moisturizer for at least six months and don’t get significant improvement, you have other options.
Let’s look at some treatments that are backed by science. If you decide to get these treatments, talk to a board-certified dermatologist. They are up on the latest treatments for aging skin.
Chemical peels can also improve the appearance of crepey skin. A dermatologist applies a thin layer of a chemical, such as trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or glycolic acid, to your skin.
These peels’ mild acidity causes the top layer of skin to peel during the days after the procedure to reveal the healthier skin underneath.
Chemical peels are also effective for lightening skin discolorations, improving scars’ appearance, and softening fine lines.
Most of the peels a dermatologist does are superficial peels that only remove the surface layer of skin. These peels won’t improve deeper wrinkles or skin laxity.
Dermatologists and plastic surgeons also offer deeper peels that address these issues, but the risks are more significant, and the recovery time longer.
Fractional laser treatments use light energy to stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis and can be quite useful. The downside is the downtime, where your skin is red and peeling, and you may feel like hiding the lasered areas until they heal.
Different types of laser treatments are available for treating various skin conditions, so talk to a dermatologist about your best option.
Best Body Lotion for Aging Crepey Skin
Crepe-less Crepey Skin Firming Cream
A quick search on Amazon by top reviews revealed Crepe-less Crepey Skin Firming Cream.
TreeActiv Crepey Skin Repair Treatment
TreeAtiv offers a crepey skin treatment in the form of a nourishing moisturizer that claims to improve skin elasticity, diminish wrinkles, and boost collagen production. It can be used on the face, neck, chest, legs, and arms.
It’s Coconut Oil based and on Amazon has a lot of positive 4 out of 5 Reviews.
Eye Cream for Crepey Skin
Crepe Erase has a full line of products designed to improve crepey skin on the arms, legs, neck, eyes, face, and body.
Preventing Crepey Skin
The best way to protect against crepiness and to slow skin aging is to wear sunscreen every time you go out, whether it’s sunny or cloudy. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that filters out UVA and UVB rays.
I never leave the house without my SPF 30 Olay Moisturizer.
Wearing sunscreen regularly is the smartest thing you can do to prevent premature aging. Kick bad habits, like smoking and excessive alcohol that can age your skin.
Applying sunscreen and avoiding habits that damage and age your skin will go far toward keeping your skin youthful.
The Bottom Line
Crepey skin is a frustrating problem, but one that has solutions. Start with the most straightforward approach, like using a retinoid or retinol-based cream or lotion and regular moisturizer and sunscreen.
If that doesn’t help, talk to a board-certified dermatologist about chemical peels or laser therapy.
Laser Ther. 2014 Mar 27; 23(1): 49-60. doi: 10.5978/islsm.14-RE-01.
J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 Jul; 3(7): 32-43.