As we age, we start to notice many changes and unfortunately our skin is one of the key places where we’ll begin to notice it first. Most people lament their wrinkles but crepey skin can be an even greater burden as it affects larger areas of the skin.
Crepey-looking skin texture is due to a combination of our skin becoming thinner and a drop in elastin and collagen production – the two proteins that give us supple, plump, youthful-looking skin. When this begins to happen our skin can appear more saggy or crinkly, like a piece of thin crepe paper or a crêpe.
Wrinkles, on the other hand, occur because of a repetitive motion over one area of skin, that once used to spring right back, but with age, no longer springs back as quickly. A groove begins to form ultimately becoming a wrinkle. Such repetitive motions often include frowning, smiling and squinting.
What Causes Crepey Skin?
As you enter your 30s, the protein production in your skin starts to drop. Much like with wrinkles, the once bouncy, supple skin slowly stops bouncing back as efficiently. The skin is also thinner due to the loss of fat that also comes with aging. Crepe skin may take years to appear for some people, but for many it starts to become more noticeable in their 40s, especially around the neck decolletage, face, and hands.
Without a doubt age is the biggest contributor to crepey skin. But there are other factors that can each play a part in how soon you start to see crepe skin. These include:
- UV exposure
- Dry skin
Before you start to panic, the good news is that most of these factors can be easily combated. Let’s take a look at the treatment for crepey skin.
How To Fix Crepe Skin
- Protect yourself from UV Light – Sun exposure is not only harmful to our skin cells (which can turn cancerous) but it’s also one of the biggest contributors to premature aging. Sun damage caused by UV rays alter the normal structures of the skin which is known as “photo-aging”. Photo-aging not only harms skin cells but it damages collagen and elastin, the two most important proteins for skin elasticity and youthful-looking skin. Fairer skin tones tend to experience crepey skin faster.
- Moisturize daily – Dry, dehydrated skin can trigger crepe skin and unfortunately, our skin gets much drier with age as less oil is being produced. You’re never too young to start a solid moisturizing routine (even if you’re a millennial!) and once you hit your 40s you should definitely ensure that you are moisturizing your face and body daily, if not twice a day. Look for skin care that contains hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, or glycolic acid which will deeply moisturize your skin as well as gently exfoliate.
- Ditch harsh cleansers – Even expensive cleansers and soaps can be harsh on your skin and strip it of the natural lipid and protein barrier. Try a skin cleanser with a high glycerin content and no sodium laurel sulfate foaming agents. Moisturizing salicylic acid cleansers are also a good choice.
- Clean up your diet – A diet that is high in sugar can cause glycation – whereby glucose attaches itself to proteins which can ultimately lead to the stiffening of collagen and elastin. Increase omega-3 fatty acids in your diet which can keep cells hydrated and ditch that sugar.
- Hormones – Hormones decrease with age, especially in females during menopause, and this can lead to much drier skin which in turn increases the likelihood of crepey skin. Though hormones are out of our control we do have control over our moisturizing routine as well as the option to pursue hormone replacement therapy.
We’ve spoken about the detrimental effects of UV rays but if you’d like to conduct an easy experiment yourself, take a look at the skin on your body in an area that never sees the light of day – perhaps your upper thighs. The skin here will undoubtedly be plumper, less freckled, and much younger-looking. Simply because the sun has never had a chance to damage it.
Crepey skin can be alarming when you first notice it. Until that point, we’re usually trying to live our lives in complete denial of the aging process. But crepey skin occurs slowly and we can definitely take measures to slow it down even more.
If you are deeply concerned about crepey-looking skin you may also wish to research some of the dermatological interventions that are available, such as a fraxel laser, ultrasound, and fillers. Though results can’t be guaranteed for everyone, some people do obtain some satisfying outcomes.