How to Reduce the Appearance of Crepey Skin
You may notice your skin doesn’t look quite the same as it used to, but you can’t quite pinpoint the reason why. You appear older, but it isn’t wrinkles or fine lines that are to blame. Wrinkles may get all the attention when it comes to aging-related complexion concerns, but they aren’t the only imperfection you can experience. When you search for the right word to describe what’s different about your skin but nothing comes to mind, the term you may be looking for could be “crepey”. If you’re only now coming to the realization that you have crepey skin, don’t fret just yet, there are ways to help reduce the appearance of crepey skin. But first, let’s talk about what exactly crepey skin is.
What Is Crepey Skin?
Before you can start to consider how to prevent and reduce the appearance of crepey skin, you have to understand what exactly crepey skin is. You may not see crepey skin talked about as often as other skin issues, but it’s actually extremely common. According to the Cleveland Clinic, as you age, skin can gradually become more loose and flaccid. Over time, it begins to feel increasingly thin like paper—or crepe. If your skin doesn’t appear crepey, it doesn’t necessarily mean this is a concern you won’t ever have to think about. While crepiness can appear as early as your 20s, it typically begins in your 40s. It’s also important to note that aging isn’t the only thing that can cause crepey skin.
We spoke with board-certified plastic surgeon, SkinCeuticals expert, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Forrest S. Roth, who lists the most common sources of crepey skin as “aging, environmental pollutants, and not having a skin care regime.” According to the Cleveland Clinic, crepey skin can most often be traced to sun damage, as exposure to the sun over time can break down elastin, the fibers in your skin that allow it to stretch and still be able to return to its normal position.
How to Prevent Crepey Skin
While Dr. Roth and Cleveland Clinic confirm that there are a variety of ways to help prevent crepey skin, that doesn’t mean crepey skin can be completely avoided. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that as you age, skin naturally loses elasticity due to dehydration and other factors. Rather than attempting to prevent crepiness altogether—since it’s a natural part of getting older—you should make it your goal to delay this visible sign of aging.
1. Develop a plan. Dr. Roth offers a 3-step plan for preventing crepey skin. He says to start with a “retinol product, to keep the dermis thick.” Then, use the SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier to increase the skin’s ability to maintain moisture. (Note: According to Cleveland Clinic, keeping skin hydrated helps prevent injury that can create crepiness.) Lastly, use the SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 to replenish skin lipids and moisture.
Editor’s note: Retinol is powerful. If you haven’t built up a skin tolerance to it, be sure to incorporate the ingredient into your routine in small amounts and at a lower concentration. Also, as retinol can also cause skin sensitivity to sunlight, apply broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher during the daytime hours when using the ingredient.
2. Look for specific ingredients. When picking the right products for your prevention plan, Cleveland Clinic states you’ll want to pay attention to ingredients. Look for a moisturizer that contains alpha or beta hydroxy acids, such as salicylic acid, lactic acid or glycolic acid.
3. Limit sun exposure. Beyond your skin care routine, the Cleveland Clinic names the most critical thing you can do for your complexion is protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. When you can’t stick to the shade, it’s essential to apply broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher at least every two hours. Pair your sunscreen use with additional sun protection measures such as wearing protective clothing, like a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves.
How to Reduce the Appearance of Crepey Skin
At a certain point, you may have to admit to yourself that you have crepey skin. Despite your attempts to prevent and delay crepiness from occurring, it can happen anyway. When that’s the case, you’ll want to shift your focus to reducing its appearance. Thankfully, you won’t have to completely change your skin care regimen, as preventing and reducing crepiness require similar steps. Cleveland Clinic suggests using moisturizers and other facial creams to help reduce the appearance of mildly crepey skin, as well as topical retinol creams to help restore skin’s elasticity.