Not all wrinkles are created equal. Some are subtle. Some are smile lines that might actually serve as a reflection of happy memories. But some are…doozies. You might not realize it, but those highly prominent wrinkles could fall into a category all their own: crepey skin.
What Is Crepey Skin?
The term “crepey skin,” pronounced like “craypee,” is a reference to crepe paper because that’s what it looks like. Crepey skin looks very thin and finely wrinkled, much like crepe paper. It often also sags and feels loose, as if it can be pushed around easily. Don’t worry; crepey skin isn’t a sign of poor skin health or a medical condition. It’s just a particular type of wrinkling that can happen with age.
Where Does Crepey Skin Occur?
There are a few areas of the body that are more prone to crepey skin – most notably, the inner part of your upper arms and the area under your eyes. Truth be told, though, skin in any area can develop a crepey look as aging takes more of a toll, especially throughout the neck and decolletage.
What Causes Crepey Skin?
Crepey skin happens when your skin loses the collagen and elastin that make it smooth, thick, and youthful. This is a natural process that happens as you get older, but there are several factors that can speed this up and open the door for crepey skin at earlier ages.
The most common culprit is sun exposure, which has a knack for breaking down collagen like it’s nobody’s business. Pollution and smoking or other forms of nicotine also speed up collagen depletion, and when your skin gets dry, it makes crepey skin look more severe too.
Tips for Preventing or Minimizing Crepey Skin
Whether you’re trying to stop crepey skin before it starts or whether you’ve already noticed a mild or severe amount of crepiness in your skin, you’ll generally take the same steps to rejuvenate your skin and minimize future crepiness.
Keep That Hydration Level Up
Remember that note about crepey skin getting worse when your skin is dry? That’s actually true for all wrinkles too – they’re more pronounced if your skin is dry. To keep your skin looking less crepey and more youthful in general, you need to hydrate. Drink plenty of water every day and use a skin moisturizer at least once per day. It’s a good idea to moisturize your face as well as your body, but you especially want to moisturize any areas where you already have crepey skin.
Practice Safe Sunlight
I know, I know, when it’s beautiful outside, we all want nothing more than to twirl in a field of daisies like a cartoon princess or lounge on a deck sipping some lemonade. But if you want to look great while doing all that, you need to keep your skin safe in the process.
Wear sunscreen daily as part of your normal morning skincare routine. Make sure you use a more robust water-resistant sunscreen when you’ll be spending time outside and reapply it every two hours. Speaking of sunscreen, your product of choice should be a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. When you can, it’s also a good idea to wear sun-protective garments like clothing with a tight weave and UV-blocking sunglasses.
Eat a Skin-Friendly Diet
Your body actually has the capabilities to keep crepey skin at bay: it can produce more collagen to keep your skin firmer and more youthful, and it can fight off much of the collagen-busting damage from the sun and other factors. You need to help it by giving it the right tools, though, and that comes from your food.
For skin health, you want to eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods because these help your body repair the damage that sun exposure causes. To support collagen production, it’s important to take in plenty of vitamin C. Adequate protein is important for collagen too, because your body breaks it down into amino acids which it uses to create collagen.
Start Using a Retinol Product
Retinol is the gold standard when it comes to fighting aging by stimulating collagen production and promoting cell turnover (i.e., replacing damaged skin cells with bright new ones). So try incorporating a retinol product into your skin care routine.
You need to use some caution, though, because with retinol, more is not better. Using it too much can dry out your skin and make crepey skin look worse. Start slowly by using it once or twice per week. Work your way up to using it as often as the bottle instructs. Don’t use it more often than those instructions indicate, though.
Kicking Crepey Skin to the Curb
Crepey skin is an incredibly common frustration, so if you’re getting fed up with it, you’re not alone. But the simple tips above can help you keep it to a minimum, repair some of the aging that has taken place, and get on track for a smoother, more youthful look. Give them a try and enjoy brighter, rejuvenated skin this spring.