Crepey Skin: Everything You Need To Know

Crepey skin is the fragile-looking thin skin with fine wrinkles that look like crepe paper.

While this type of skin looks similar to wrinkles, crepey skin affects a larger area and looks really thin.

In addition to the thin, wrinkly skin, crepey skin is often accompanied by sagging or loose skin.

This type of skin condition is more common with the elderly, but this is not always the case.

Crepey Skin

Common areas you can expect crepey skin are the upper arms, under the eyes, hands, legs, face, and neck.

In this article, I’ll be looking into the causes of crepey skin, along with the potential treatments and preventive measures.

These should help you maintain your smooth and healthy skin while delaying/combating crepey skin.

What Causes Crepey Skin?

Your skin type and genes play a role in your chances of ending up with crepey skin. That said, crepey skin is most common in people who are well into their 40s.

The most common causes of getting crepey skin are:

Aging (Getting Older):

Aging Causes Crepey Skin

Everybody ages and gets wrinkles along the way. There is no way to prevent this.

However, with the right skincare routines and anti-aging products, you can slow down skin aging to look younger.

The wrinkles and crepey skin are caused when collagen and elastin levels in the skin are reduced (1). Unfortunately, growing older ends up slowing down the production of these proteins (2).

Additionally, factors like smoking cigarettes, pollution, stress, and poor diet also impact collagen levels, accelerating skin aging (3).

Aging also slows the production of natural oils in the skin. These oils are very important to your skin’s hydration because they help seal in the moisture.

Growing older also causes some hormonal changes that can cause this decline in natural oil production. This can also cause the skin to become drier, resulting in crepey skin.

Sun Damage (Exposure To UV Radiation):

Sun Damage Causes Crepey Skin

The UV radiation from overexposure to the sun is known as the most preventable cause of skin damage (4).

Along with spending too much time in the sun without sunscreen, tanning beds are also a growing cause of sun damage.

In fact, even the FDA warns us about the increased risk of skin cancer from tanning (5).

The harsh UV radiation in the sun rays accelerates the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin. This results in the thinning of the skin and weaker skin structure, causing micro wrinkles and skin sagging.

Short-term UV radiation exposure can be countered, but long-term exposure can cause irreversible damage to the skin. This can potentially accelerate skin aging to make you look years and decades older (6).

Men and women with fair skin have a higher risk of sun damage and crepey skin because of the lower levels of melanin.

This can also increase the risk of skin cancer if the sun damage is severe enough.

The Best Way To Prevent Crepey Skin:

You can’t completely prevent crepey skin or skin aging as they are part of the natural aging process.

What you can do, however, is delay getting crepey skin as much as you can.

So, here are the best ways to prevent getting crepey skin:

Stay In The Shade:

Stay In The Shade

The simplest way to avoid getting exposed to UV radiation is to stay in the shade.

This has become easier and easier to do since we can get almost everything done from home, including work, shop, and study.

However, for the times you need to enter the real world and be under the sun, make sure you apply sunscreen.

This action that takes only a few seconds every time can help prevent accelerating your skin aging.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should be using an SPF30+ broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen (7).

For those who don’t like the sticky feeling of sunscreen (like me), consider sun-protective clothing at the very least.

Keep Your Skin Hydrated With A Quality Moisturizer:

Keep Your Skin Hydrated With A Quality Moisturizer

Dry skin is a major reason for crepey skin. So, all you have to do is keep your skin hydrated.

This means that you should regularly apply your favorite moisturizer/lotion/cream throughout the day. The right set of ingredients in these products can help seal in the skin moisture.

Some of the ingredients to look out for when buying the anti-wrinkle product include:
  • Glycerin
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Salicylic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Glycolic acid

Using the right anti-aging cream can also keep your skin hydrated while tightening the wrinkles for more youthful-looking skin.

There are also home remedies and OTC products like olive oil, cocoa butter, and coconut oil that also work to hydrate the skin.

Eat An Antioxidant-Rich Diet:

Eat An Antioxidant-Rich Diet

Staying in the shade and keeping your skin hydrated are direct ways to combat crepey skin.

However, a diet with antioxidants can be an indirect but effective way to slow skin aging.

Antioxidants can be found in many fruits and vegetables, which can protect the skin from sun damage and UV radiation. This won’t make you immune to the sun damage, but it can protect the skin from free radical damage (from UV rays).

Along with antioxidants, foods with Vitamins A, C, D, and E and Omega-3 fatty acids are also helpful at dealing with crepey skin.

Goods that help boost antioxidant levels and combat crepey skin include:

  • Blueberries
  • Dark green veggies
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Fish
  • Red cabbage
  • Green tea
  • Dark chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Sweet potatoes
One thing to note about these measures is that you would much rather prevent getting crepey skin than deal with reversing it.

So, even if you don’t yet have wrinkles, you should take charge of your skin health and use these tips to prevent crepey skin.

Dermatological Treatments To Combat Crepey Skin:

Prescription Medication:

Prescription Medication

Being prescribed creams with Retinoid for crepey skin is quite common.

These prescription-strength medications contain ingredients like Tretinoin, antioxidants, and AHAs, which boost skin exfoliation and skin cell turnover.

That said, they do dry out the skin quickly, requiring you use more moisturizer to prevent crepey skin from worsening.


Fillers To Combat Crepey Skin

Fillers are biostimulatory filling agents that are injected under the skin to eliminate wrinkles and make the skin look plump.

These can improve the look of crepey skin and is what many celebrities sue to look decades younger.

Fillers can be expensive, with an average cost of $1000 per syringe.


Cryolipolysis To Combat Crepey Skin

Cryolipolysis is an interesting way to eliminate subdermal fat using a noninvasive process.

It freezes the fat cells under the skin, causing them the slowly dissolve.

This treatment from CoolSculpting also helps tighten the skin and costs between $600 and $1200 per area.

Fraxel Laser Treatment:

Fraxel Laser Treatment To Combat Crepey Skin

Fraxel laser treatment promotes collagen production by using lasers to heat the area under your skin.

The boost in collagen can improve skin health and combat crepey skin from the inside out.

One of the most effective areas to use crepey skin is on the sensitive skin under the eyes.

However, it is expensive as a full-face laser resurfacing treatment costs between $900 and $1400.


Ultrasound Treatment To Combat Crepey Skin

Ultrasound facelift and tightening treatment works by heating the tissue underneath the skin to promote fat cell breakdown and collagen production.

This one is effective on the skin around the face and neck but not the arms because this can be uncomfortable for some.

The cost to get this therapy by Ulthera ranges from $2500 and $4000.

Skin Tightening Surgeries:

Skin Tightening Surgeries To Combat Crepey Skin

For people who have lost a lot of weight, crepey skin is a big problem that can often only be solved by surgically removing it.

Other surgical treatments include Blepharoplasty, facelift, and neck lifts that can tighten the skin for less visible wrinkles.

Blepharoplasty procedures are elective and costs between $2000 and $5000.

This means that your health insurance probably won’t cover the cost of this plastic surgery.

Home Remedies To Fix Crepey Skin:

  • Drink water: This will help you stay hydrated and replenish your skin moisture levels.
  • Use Vaseline: This can form a protective barrier around the skin to seal its moisture.
  • Do yoga: This can tighten up your skin and muscles, reducing wrinkle visibility.
  • Exfoliate the skin: This gets rid of dead skin cells while boosting collagen production.
  • Use home-made moisturizer: This can provide a natural way to keep your skin hydrated.
  • Massaging the skin: This can help improve blood flow to the skin and boost collagen production.
  • Eat gelatin: This contains amino acids that boost elastin levels.
  • Use coconut oil for crepey skin: This can soften and moisturize the skin.
  • Lower stress levels: This can help stabilize hormone levels and improve skin health.
  • Use essential oils: This can help reduce crepey skin and tighten the skin.

OTC Products To Combat Crepey Skin:

While prescription retinoids are more potent, the OTC variants combat crepey skin as well.

Along with this, other over-the-counter skin care products can boost collagen levels and improve skin tightness.

There are also specialized products for crepey skin that can be purchased in stores. However, the ingredients of these are mostly the same as those in best rated anti-aging products.

Use Top Anti-Aging Creams To Get Rid Of Cepey Skin

Final Word On Crepey Skin:

Crepey skin is a skin condition that no one really wants or looks forward to.

So, the best way is to find a way to prevent getting it for as long as possible. Additionally, using some of the mentioned methods of getting rid of crepey skin should also be useful.

That said, any of the suggestions in this article can help prevent and combat crepey skin.

As for my anti-crepey skincare routine, I exfoliate every two weeks and regularly moisturize my skin with XYZ Smart Collagen Cream.

I also eat a healthy and balanced diet while doing yoga every morning as well.

Jessica J
About Jessica J 135 Articles
Written & Reviewed by Jessica J, M. D. Dermatology.

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