What is Crepey Skin?
Crepey skin is distinguishable by its thin, papery texture, which is usually accompanied by wrinkles. Its resemblance to crepey paper is what gives it its name, and it is usually caused by drastically lowered levels of proteins such as collagen and elastin in the body. Crepey skin is often characterized by the thinning of both the epidermis (the skin’s top-most layer) and the dermis (the underlying layer of skin).
Unlike wrinkled skin, which only bears singular marks on one area of the skin, crepey skin doesn’t come about as a result of motion. It causes the skin to become crinkly, saggy, and papery, making marks like wrinkles more prominent and permanent-looking.
Crepey skin is often prominent in areas with naturally thin skin such as the neck, face, hands, and décolletage.
What Causes Crepey Skin?
Crepey skin gradually comes about as you age. Once you hit 30, the production of proteins in your skin begins to slow down. As a result of the lower levels of collagen and elastin, your skin begins to lose its elasticity, thickness, and suppleness. This deterioration is not unlike how rubber bands gradually lose their stretch and elasticity.
Even though protein production in your skin drops when you hit your 30s, crepey skin often becomes visible once you reach your 40s. However, your genetic makeup plays a significant role in its appearance. While some people start noticing the onset of crepey skin while still in their late 30s, others may not see it until their early 50s.
The onset of crepey skin can also be slowed down or spurred on by your lifestyle. There are factors other than genetics and age that can affect the collagen and elastin levels in your skin. These factors include:
- Sun exposure – It is common knowledge that fairer skin tones tend to becomecrepey-looking faster than darker skin tones. This is because the melanin in dark skin provides ample protection from UV light’s photo-aging effect.
- Dryness of the skin – If your skin tends to get dry quickly, it is more likely to becomecrepeyas you age. The skin starts to produce less oil as you age so keeping your skin constantly hydrated can help delay the onset of crepey skin.
- Cigarette smoking – Cigarette smoke oxidizes the skin and introduces toxins which deprive it of its elasticity.
- Drastic loss of weight – The loss of fat gradually occurs as we age which is why at some point, developingcrepeyskin becomes inevitable. Losing a significant amount of weight means that your skin also loses its fat. This causes the formation of crepey skin.
- Sugar – Diets that contain a lot of processed sugars trigger a process called glycation. Glycation affects the suppleness and elasticity of skin because it stiffens elastin and collagen proteins.
- Adrop inhormones – Women are more susceptible to crepey skin once their hormone levels start to drop. A decrease in hormones is inevitable, but it can be controlled.
How to Prevent Crepey Skin
The onset of crepey skin can be delayed significantly by doing the following things:
- Using sunscreen
In addition to being a prime instigator of crepey skin, UV light is harmful to your skin in many ways. Always put on sunscreen and wear protective clothing when using tanning beds or visiting the beach.
Dry skin is a lot more susceptible to collagen deficiency. Always keep your skin thoroughly moisturized to keep it supple and youthful. Moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid, glycerin, salicylic acid, or lactic acid often have the best hydrating properties and usually help the skin to exfoliate.
- Watching what you eat
We are what we eat, after all, so your diet plays a huge part in the preservation of youthful skin. Stay away from high-sugar diets and eat more foods with omega-3 fats to keep your skin cells healthy and hydrated.
- Using gentle cleansers
Harsh cleansers and scrubs can strip the skin of its protein and lipid layer, leaving it prone to the elements. Use only mild face and body cleansers to ensure that your skin retains its proteins and fats.
How to Fix Crepey Skin
If you’re already noticing areas of crepey skin on your body, there are some specialist options you can consider if you want to get rid of it. Keep in mind that not everyone benefits from these procedures, and they can be quite expensive.
- Using Skin Fillers
Skin fillers are injected into the topmost layers of the skin to promote the production of collagen. Popular fillers such as Sculptra and Radiesse can give crepey skin its former thickness and elasticity with time.
- Laser Treatment
Fractional laser treatment, or Fraxel, is the process by which small layers of skin are heated in order to trigger the growth of collagen.
- UltheraUltrasound Treatment
This is similar to the Fraxel procedure. Instead of lasers, however, ultrasounds is used to stimulate the production of collagen in the skin.
Although we have no control over how fast we age or our genetics, crepey skin can still be managed by taking control over the physical and lifestyle factors that cause it. Keeping your skin looking youthful is a full-time job, and knowing how to do so is solving half of the problem.