The TruSkin Guide To Understanding Crepey Skin
What on earth is crepey skin and can you prevent or treat it before it’s too late? Let’s see, shall we?
Aging skin is a fact of life and we like to think we’re very much ‘pro-aging,’ rather than anti-aging. After all, unless you’re some kind of Harry Potter-esque whiz kid, time simply cannot be stopped. It just can’t. This means that no matter what you do or how awesome your skincare routine is, the telltale signs of aging will always creep up on you. Whether it’s lines around your eyes, the odd dark spot on your temples or a penchant for early nights and hot milk over late nights bars and hard seltzers, aging is life. And life is a precious thing.
Of course, all this being said, you can’t just let nature take its course and hope for the best. Looking after yourself by eating well, exercising and employing a kickass skincare regimen is vital if you want to prolong your life and look amazing as part of the deal. And a kickass skincare regimen is definitely something we can help you with.
Take crepey skin, for example. It might not be a concern you read about all that often due to fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots taking center stage, but crepey skin can be just as frustrating. Plus, it's much more widespread, affecting many areas of your skin – not just your face.
So, what is this annoying little phenomenon and what can you do about it? Read on for all the answers...
First, What Is Crepey Skin?
Crepey skin is usually found on the back of your hands, top of the inner arms, under your eyes, on your neck and on your elbows and knees. It’s defined by very thin skin and, like its name suggests, looks like crepe paper. Unlike fine lines and wrinkles, which are usually more dispersed, crepey skin consists of many shallow, tiny lines that are concentrated in one area of your skin. This area will also look thin and is the kind of skin that, when gently pinched, doesn’t retract back to normal as quickly as you might hope.
What Causes Crepey Skin?
Similar to lines and wrinkles, crepey skin is that which has lost its natural elasticity due to the degradation of collagen and elastin. And this happens as part of getting older. In fact, after the age of 20, your skin produces one percent less collagen each year, making it progressively thinner, more delicate and susceptible to signs of aging. Your elastin fibers also diminish, as does the amount of oil your skin produces, which all adds up to dryness and the inevitable crinkling that comes with it.
But your age isn’t the only factor at play here. Unlike dynamic wrinkles which are mainly down to years of repetitive facial movements, the number one cause of crepey skin is sun damage, which is a devil for breaking down your levels of collagen and elastin. Pollution, stress, dry skin, hormonal fluctuations and smoking also have their own way of crinkling up your skin. And don’t forget excessive weight changes that can stretch your skin, making it thinner and more crepe-like.
5 Ways To Deal With Crepey Skin
1. Double Up On Sun Protection
Ask any skincare expert for their number one way to prevent crepey skin (and in fact, EVERY SINGLE visible sign of skin aging) and they will all agree sunscreen is it. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every day (winter, summer, spring and fall). And this doesn’t just mean your face, but all areas of exposed skin and especially those thin, fragile places that are prone to creping like the back of your hands, arms, neck and décolletage.
Another way to help shield your skin from the damaging effects of the sun is to apply a facial serum that contains topical antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and niacinamide. Antioxidants work to nix free radicals before they get a chance to do their worst on all the good stuff in your skin, including collagen, elastin and DNA. Try our bestselling Vitamin C Serum under your moisturizer for awesome environmental protection.
2. Don’t Smoke
Do we really need to tell you how bad smoking is for your skin? Okay then, here we go. Simply put, tobacco contains over 4,000 nasty chemicals that decrease blood flow to your skin, thus starving it of oxygen and all the nutrients it needs to heal and repair itself. These toxins also destroy collagen and elastin, which is bad news for the strength and suppleness of your skin.
Don’t fancy dealing with weak, thin, crepey skin that doesn’t snap back as well as it should? Then say a big fat 'no' to cigarettes.
3. Boost Collagen With Retinol
Retinol is one of those superpowered skincare ingredients that has the ability to ‘communicate’ with your skin at a cellular level, making it function better. This may sound like marketing nonsense, but decades of research don’t lie.
When absorbed by the skin, retinol triggers and activates certain genes to increase collagen production and stimulate the skin to turn over more efficiently. This not only helps soften, thicken and plump up the skin but offers no end of benefits for aging skin, making lines and crepiness look way less obvious.
Retinol is probably already in your facial skincare arsenal, but if you’re noticing a little crepiness creeping up elsewhere on your body, don’t be afraid to apply a retinol-based treatment on these areas. Just remember, retinol is potent so always patch test it first. It’s also deactivated by sunlight so apply it at night as part of your pre-bedtime routine. And Tip #1 is key here: always wear sunscreen whenever retinol's part of your routine.
Try Retinol Moisturizer on your face, neck, décolletage, hands, arms or anywhere else crepey skin is bothering you.
4. Maintain A Balanced, Healthy Weight
Major fluctuations in your weight will cause your skin to stretch, retract and, over time, lose elasticity. And as you know, skin that lacks a certain amount of bouncebackability is likely to crepe faster than you can say ‘pass the SPF.’
Of course, a low percentage of body fat means you’ll have less fat around your face and eyes to hold everything together and keep your skin looking plump and crinkle-free. So, be wary of trying to be super skinny just as much as becoming overweight. Maintaining a balanced weight that’s somewhere in the middle is ideal. Both for your skin and your health.
5. Make Moisturizer Your BFF
Dry, dehydrated skin will do nothing but exaggerate crepiness, so make sure you moisturize well and often. This is especially important as you get older when your skin starts to produce fewer natural oils to protect and nourish your barrier function.
Look for creams and lotions that not only help draw in moisture with ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, but also work hard to seal that moisture into your skin with emollients like shea butter and botanical oils. This will reduce dehydration as well as soften, plump and reduce the appearance of crepiness. Bonus: Try an all-encompassing moisturizer like our Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer, which is the ideal all-round product for the job.
PS: Vitamin C Deep Hydration Night Cream is also a total winner and works as a fabulous overnight hand treatment. Simply smooth any leftovers from your face and neck over the back of your hands, then pop on a pair of clean cotton gloves to allow all those skin-loving ingredients to work their magic as you catch some valuable zzz's.
About Georgia Gould
Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.