Crepey Skin: Causes And How To Prevent It

Written by Ramona Sinha

“Aging is a fact of life, looking your age is not.”

You cannot turn back the clock on aging skin. However, you can make it tick slowly and prevent crepey skin – a noticeable and common skin concern that comes with aging. When the skin loses collagen and elastin, it appears wrinkly, saggy, and loose and develops a tissue paper-like texture.

While crepey skin is associated with aging, other lifestyle factors can significantly influence your skin texture and thickness and speed up the aging process. Luckily, you can avoid it. This article explores the causes behind crepey skin, treatment options, and what else you can do to prevent it. Scroll down!

What Causes Crepey Skin?

Multiple lifestyle and environmental factors can affect your body’s collagen and elastin levels, contributing to crepey skin. They include:

1. UV Damage

UV exposure is responsible for 80% of visible aging signs, including wrinkles, dryness, and freckles. It degrades the collagen and elastin in your skin, making it saggy, loose, and crepey (1). It speeds up the skin’s aging process as the damage becomes visible over the years. You may notice crepey skin on your neck, hands, arms, and face as these body parts are mostly exposed to sun rays. Tanning under UV beds may also have similar effects.

2. Age

Skin aging is a complex process influenced by internal (genetics, hormone levels, metabolic processes) and extrinsic (light exposure, pollution) factors. As you age, the epidermal cell turnover rate slows down, lengthening the cell cycle and slowing down the wound healing process. Moreover, the collagen type VII content also reduces, weakening the bond between dermis and epidermis, causing wrinkles (2).

3. Smoking

Tobacco is toxic for your body and the skin cells. Smoking affects the skin’s biophysical properties like hydration levels, pH levels, and elasticity and deepens the nasolabial folds (deep wrinkles from the bottom of the nose to the corners of the mouth). It also degrades the collagen and elastin fibers in the dermis (3). As a result, your skin loses its tightness and turns crepey and thin.

4. Dietary Habits

Nutritional imbalance and poor eating habits contribute to skin aging. Nutrition and water intake help maintain tissue function in the body. Lack of both causes tissue dehydration (causing skin dryness) and functional disorders like aging and inflammation. Improper nutrition affects the dermal fibroblasts and collagen fibers, leading to skin thinning. It also declines cell renewal and repairability of the skin (4). All of these may contribute to early signs of aging and crepey skin.

5. Medication

Apart from environmental factors, certain medications and medical conditions may trigger dermatoporosis, a condition that causes skin fragility. The risk factors include (5):

  • Topical and systemic corticosteroid use
  • Chronic renal failure
  • Using anticoagulants and blood thinners
  • Using EGFR (epidermal growth factor) inhibitors
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

6. Sleep Deprivation

Your sleep cycle can affect your skin characteristics. Sleep deprivation deteriorates skin elasticity, increases wrinkles, and reduces skin hydration levels (6). While losing your sleep for a day or two may not affect your skin, chronic insomnia can definitely lead to premature aging and crepey skin.

While you cannot do much about aging, controlling and managing the lifestyle factors can help prevent crepey skin. If you are under medication, consult a dermatologist to prevent premature aging and crepey skin and follow these tips to prevent further skin deterioration.

How To Prevent Crepey Skin

1. Wear Sunscreen

This is non-negotiable. Sunscreen is the only way to prevent photodamage while you are out, enjoying a beautiful sunny day. Use a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and PA ++ ratings to prevent UVA and UVB damage.

Apply it liberally to all exposed body parts and reapply every 40-80 minutes (check the label to determine the time gap). Use a water-resistant sunscreen, and if you have sensitive skin, choose a physical sunblock.

You can also use umbrellas, wide-brimmed hats, and protective clothing to minimize sun exposure.

2. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is crucial to prevent tissue dryness and crepey skin. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Also, keep your skin hydrated by using moisturizers.

Use products that contain plant oils, glycerin, ceramides, peptides, and hyaluronic acid to help keep your skin plump and improve its elasticity. Apart from your face, focus on areas like your neck, hands, and arms. Always apply moisturizer to damp skin as that helps in better absorption.

3. Consume Well Balanced Food

A healthy outside starts from the inside.” So, stick to a balanced diet that includes plenty of vegetables and fruits. They are loaded with antioxidants (flavonoids and carotenoids) and vitamins to nourish your skin and fight free radicals to prevent skin aging.

Consume fish and seafood for their high omega-3 fatty acid content and include whole grains, dairy, and poultry in your diet. It is better to avoid (or limit your intake of) high-carb foods like baked goodies, sugary beverages, and junk food.

4. Exfoliate Regularly

Exfoliation can go a long way in preventing crepey skinIt removes the dead and dry skin cells from your body and promotes skin cell turnover rate, which declines with age.

For the best outcome, exfoliate your skin once a week as over-exfoliation may irritate the skin. You may go for chemical peeling or try at-home peels. However, consult a skin care expert or dermatologist before using chemical peels.

5. Use The Correct Skin Care Products

The skin care products that you used during your teens may not work on mature skin. Switch to an anti-aging skin care routine. Incorporate ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, ceramides, peptides, vitamin C, alpha arbutin, coenzyme Q10, hydroxy acids, and retinoids in your skin care regimen.

All these ingredients can stimulate cell growth, minimize sun damage, improve skin texture, and prevent wrinkles. Your skin starts aging at the age of 25. Using anti-aging ingredients from your mid-20s can help keep your skin taut.

6. Exercise Regularly

While exercise is not directly linked to your skin health, studies found that it might influence some aspects of skin aging. Regular exercise improves the tissue mitochondria (cell organelles that generate energy to maintain the cell’s biochemical reactions)(7). Moreover, exercise also helps maintain your overall health.

7. Practise Self Care

It is because your skin has stress perceivers and can be the target of stress responses. Your body releases hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol during a stress response, which causes DNA damage and promotes free radical production, causing skin damage and signs of aging. Stress also aggravates existing inflammatory skin conditions like atopic and contact dermatitis, pruritis, psoriasis, and acne (8).

Try to minimize stress. You may meditate, do activities that keep you happy, and help you relax. You can talk to a therapist for better stress management.

Home remedies are one of the best ways to pamper your skin without spending a ton. While these do not promise to give overnight results, these simple ingredients can work as a quick pick-me-up for your tired skin and maintain its overall health.

How To Improve Crepey Skin Naturally

1. Flaxseed And Yogurt Scrub

Flaxseed has a coarse texture that can help exfoliate the skin. Also, like any dairy product, yogurt contains lactic acid that exfoliates the skin (9). It also keeps the skin soft and plump.

You Will Need 

  • ¼ cup of flaxseed (grounded)
  • ¼ cup of yogurt
  • 2 drops of tea tree oil (optional)

Method

  • Mix the ingredients to form a paste.
  • Apply it to your skin and massage for 5 minutes.
  • Leave it on for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Wash off with lukewarm water.
  • Repeat once a week.

2. Lemon, Oatmeal, And Honey Scrub

Lemon extract is widely used in skin care products as it promotes collagen levels. The vitamin C in it can reduce shallow wrinkles and has anti-aging effects. Colloidal oatmeal reduces skin dryness, roughness, and scaliness. Honey is an emollient that soothes and conditions the skin (10), (11), (12).

You Will Need: 

  • ¼ cup of uncooked oats
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of honey

Method 

  1. Grind the oats and mix with lemon and honey to form a paste.
  2. Wash your face and apply it to damp skin.
  3. Massage for 2-5 minutes.
  4. Leave it on for another 10-15 minutes.
  5. Wash off with lukewarm water.
  6. Use it twice a week.

You can also opt for OTC and in-office treatments to improve the appearance of crepey skin. Read on to find out more.

Treatments To Improve Crepey Skin

1. Topical Products

Retinoids are widely used for improving the signs of photoaging and UV damage. However, they are quite strong and available only on prescription. You may try retinol, another less irritating OTC vitamin A derivative, to tighten the skin and improve its elasticity (13).

Besides this, these products may also include several alpha-hydroxy acids, such as malic acid, tartaric acid, citric acid, lactic acid, and glycolic acid. These ingredients exfoliate the skin, improve hydration, and minimize wrinkles (14).

However, retinoids and AHAs are quite strong and may irritate the skin and cause dryness and scaling initially. Consult a dermatologist before using them.

2. Microneedling

This is an in-office treatment performed by dermatologists and trained aestheticians. Microneedling is performed with a dermaroller (a device with fine needles) to puncture the skin, triggering collagen and elastin production. This procedure helps smoothen wrinkles and fine lines and improves the skin texture for a tight and youthful appearance.

3. Ultrasound And Laser Treatment

In certain cases, the dermatologist may suggest an ultrasound and laser treatment to improve crepey skin.

Ultrasound tightening devices used on different focal depths can tighten the facial skin (15). Laser skin resurfacing is also a common approach in skin rejuvenation and tightening. The doctor uses lasers at different frequencies to promote collagen development and tighten the skin (16).

4. Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers (like Radiesse) are considered extremely effective in reversing the symptoms of crepey skin (17). These fillers are injected beneath the skin surface to restore the volume and make it appear plump, tight, and youthful.

The fillers are usually made of hyaluronic acid, and they dissolve after a certain time. Hence, you may need regular sessions to maintain the skin appearance.  Here, the filler is injected into the skin to add volume to it. This results in a fresh, full appearance that lasts for a relatively long time.

5. Surgery

You can also undergo cosmetic surgery if you have crepey skin on your arms and other body parts. While this is not recommended, you can consider it as a last resort. However, consult a dermatologist to understand the risks involved and other options that you may have.

Final Thoughts

Crepey skin is a common skin concern that happens with age and improper skin care. While there is no way you can reverse the signs of aging, you can definitely keep your skin healthy and youthful by providing it with much-deserved love and care.

We have entered a new era of skin care that focuses more on keeping the skin radiant, irrespective of age. Follow a healthy lifestyle, eat well, and take care of your skin to age gracefully.

Frequently Asked Questions

What vitamins are good for crepey skin?

Use vitamins A, C, and E to keep the skin healthy and avoid wrinkles and crepey skin.

Does drinking water help crepey skin?

Yes. Drinking water is crucial to keep the skin tissues hydrated and avoid dryness and crepey skin.

Can Vaseline help crepey skin?

No. Vaseline does not moisturize the skin or penetrate it. However, you can use it as a film over your hydrating skin care products to trap moisture.

Is Gold Bond good for crepey skin?

Yes. Gold Bond Skin Therapy Lotion contains proteins and lipids that keep the skin hydrated and make it visibly firm.

Will coconut oil help crepey skin?

Yes. Coconut oil contains several fatty acids that moisturize the skin and may reduce dryness and the appearance of crepey skin.

Sources

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Ramona is a journalist-turned-content writer. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and has been writing for the digital world for over five years. She specializes in writing for Skin Care. She has done a certificate course titled ‘Dermatology: Trip To The Skin’, offered by Novosibirsk State University. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps and guides readers in selecting products and ingredients specific to their skin type/issue. When Ramona is not working, her books and passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.