Crepey skin: Its causes, and treatments that work
What is crepey skin, anyway? In a post about sun damaged décolletage, Vibrant Nation member Sharon Gnatt Epel wrote about her “cleavage crinkle” – recommending a product that she called a “godsend” because it tightened up the skin on her cleavage and smoothed out skin creases. According to WebMD, Sharon was right to attribute her cleavage crinkle to sun damage. Sun exposure causes loose, thin, crepey skin, which is then further exacerbated by loss of fat and collagen related to the natural aging process.
[caption id="attachment_332017" align="aligncenter" width="447"] Feeling crepey?[/caption]
If you’re noticing crepiness in your skin – around your neck, legs, hands, for example – you’re not alone. Many women develop crepey skin at midlife. This can happen whether or not you spent your youth sun worshipping. It isn’t related to general fitness level either – you can have strong, toned legs from regular exercise and still have crepey skin!
Is there anything we can do to treat the appearance of crepey skin? Sure!
- If you’re willing to explore and invest in professional solutions, talk to your doctor. A board-certified dermatologist may recommend a treatment like Thermage (which aims to strengthen collagen in your skin for a smoother look) or Venus Freeze, which focuses on tightening the skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Also, depending on where you’re noticing crepiness, a qualified plastic surgeon may recommend a “lift” to tighten loose skin by pulling it upward. However, not all of us are willing or able to consider professional solutions, so read on…
- Protect your skin from further sun damage - no excuses. The best offense is a good defense, so apply a sunscreen every day before you leave home, whether or not the sun is shining! Don’t tell yourself “the damage is done” – trust us, the last thing you want is more sun damage. Make applying sunscreen effortless by choosing skincare and makeup products that already contain sunscreen, and then layer them on. Are you a mineral makeup lover? Try Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Instant Mineral SPF 45, which comes in a super convenient tube with built-in brush applicator. Just toss it in your purse and go!
- Gently strip away older layers of skin using a mask or at-home peel. Fine lines will vanish along with the dead skin cells and the healthier new skin underneath will be tighter and smoother. One retexturizing product to try: Avon ANEW Advanced Retexturizing Peel. It contains glycolic acid to peel away dull, visibly sun-damaged skin so that fresh skin can surface. Use it on your entire face, neck, and chest.
- Build new collagen. Retinoid and retinol products exfoliate the skin, but they also penetrate deep to speed cellular turnover and stimulate new collagen production. This is essential if you want to fight the appearance of crepiness, because the more collagen you have to support and strengthen the skin, the smoother and plumper it appears. We love Philosophy Miracle Worker Retinoid Pads, which rejuvenate skin while being easy to use and non-irritating (unlike some retinol products). Another product to try: Renova, from Obaji. Like all Obaji products, Renova is can only be obtained from a physician or skincare professional, but it’s worth it: fans report seeing improvement in fine facial wrinkles and rough-feeling skin. Do not skip the sunscreen when you use peels or retinol products – both make you even more sensitive to sunlight.
- Retexturize your body. Crepe paper skin isn’t limited to your face, neck, and chest. If you’re seeing signs of crepiness elsewhere, Skinceuticals Body Retexturizing Treatment and Tightening Concentrate may help. These treatments are designed to smooth, tighten, firm, and lift loose sagging skin. Use them on your body wherever skin feels crepey: abdomen, buttocks, thighs, knees, or upper arms.
- Reverse moisture loss. Loss of moisture does you no favors if you’re worried about crepey skin! This should go without saying, but if you want smooth skin after age 45, it’s essential to keep your face and body well hydrated all year round. Remember to drink plenty of water daily and apply moisturizer and a good hand and body lotion both morning and night. Check the label for these must-have ingredients:
- glycerin, which grabs water from deeper tissues to soften the top layers
- petrolatum, which traps water so it doesn't escape
- dimethicone, which temporarily fills in cracks in the skin to leave a smooth, greaseless feel.
- Niacinamide,a form of vitamin B, which increases production of ceramide (a natural emollient), which helps strengthen skin's lipid barrier to keep water in
Curél Targeted Therapy Hand & Cuticle Cream contains the first three ingredients, while Olay Body Quench Therapy Hand Cream has all four. Both are available at most drugstores and cost under $10.
Finally, if you're interested in VN member Sharon Gnatt Epel's miracle solution to "cleavage crinkle," read her post here. Then don't forget to post your own solutions for crepey skin! We'd love to know what works for you.