If you have landed on this article, chances are you are 40+, like myself. This is when we begin to notice crepe skin and worry what can be done about it. As a sun worshipper in my youth, now in my late-forties, I am paying with dark spots and crepey skin.
What is Crepey Skin?Crepe skin is the thin, loose, wrinkled skin that we tend to find on our hands, arms, legs, face and neck as we age. Different from the deepset kind of wrinkles we find on our face, the wrinkles found in crepe skin tend to cover larger parts of our body and give the appearance of thin, fragile skin.
What Causes Crepey Skin?
Just as dark spots begin to emerge in our 40's due to sun damage, crepe skin is more prominent in our 40's and beyond due to sun damage as well. It's why you mainly see this skin thinning on the areas of our bodies that have had the most sun exposure. Skin that was unprotected from UVA rays - the "aging" part of sun exposure - will see more of a break down of collagen and elastin.
Collagen is what makes your skin look full and youthful, and elastin is what makes your skin look firm and lifted. Over time as you lose that collagen and the elastin breaks down, your skin begins to look sullen and sag. While sun damage is most often the cause, there are other reasons as well, such as rapid weight loss, long term use of tanning beds, and medications.
Can You Reverse Crepe Skin?
As with most issues with the skin, short of plastic surgery and in-office cosmetic treatments, there are temporary things we can do to reduce the appearance of crepe skin. We cannot permanently turn back time, although today is as good a day as any to make sure you are always protecting skin exposed to the sun with sunscreen to prevent other areas of your skin from becoming crepey.
Hydration plays a major role in re-plumping the wrinkles of crepe skin and it is one way to see an immediate difference in the appearance of your skin. This is a no-brainer when it comes to our face, but we often forget the rest of our body until we begin to itch, scratch and see flaky skin.
A good example of this was when my mom, who is in her 70's, was at my house one day and complaining about the look of her skin on her arms. Crepey skin covered the top part of her bicep and forearm. I handed her A Girl's Gotta Spa! Energizing Citrus Body Lotion, which is incredibly hydrating with whipped cocoa and shea butter, and olive oil. Her face immediately lit up as she applied it and it seemed to erase the look of her crepey skin. (We also have an unscented body lotion and lavender body lotion.)
It's not magic or a cure, but because our body lotion is deeply hydrating, it helped to plump her wrinkled skin, giving it a smoother look. Hydration will not reverse sagging skin, but it can help to make it look a bit more firm.
In the drier months, depending on where you live (desert year-round, living in the higher elevations, or fall/winter for other regions), you need to take extra care, as skin will be naturally more depleted of moisture than usual exascerbating the look of crepey skin.
Additionally, as we age and enter that "mature skin" category, our skin naturally loses oils due to hormones, leaving it drier than our youth. I highly recommend applying body lotion twice per day (during your morning and evening beauty routine to make it easier) for it to be most effective.
In summary, sunscreen and lotion are our biggest assets to treating crepe skin, as well as preventing it in the future.