Crepey Skin: Causes, Treatments and Dermatological Advice

crepey skin causes and treatments
how to treat crepey skin

Let’s face it, aging is a natural part of life. It’s inevitable, everyone must go through it. Although we always encourage our readers to cherish their skin and be comfortable with it under any circumstance, we understand that having youthful, smooth skin is a universal desire. Thus, one of the most skin concerns is crepey skin – the wrinkly, paper-like skin that we often see at our grandparents.

How can we treat crepey skin? Can crepey skin be prevented? In this article, we’ll have the answers for you.

What is crepey skin?

The term “crepey” comes from the words “crepe” or “crêpe,” which means “many layers.” Because of the free radicals in our bodies, our skin loses elasticity and collagen as we age. This causes wrinkles and sagging skin tissues.

While crepey skin is similar to common wrinkles in many ways, it affects larger areas and feels noticeably more fragile and thin. Crepey skin is thin and wrinkled, similar to crepe paper. It may sag or feel loose as well. Crepey skin is most prevalent around the eyes and on the upper inner arms.

Causes of crepey skin

causes of crepey skin

Unlike wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, which are caused by repeated muscle movements, crepey skin is usually caused by photodamage.

Sun exposure degrades elastin, the fibers in your skin that allow it to stretch and return to its normal position. Those fibers can heal, but after repeated exposure over time, they lose their ability to repair completely. Consider it like an elastic waistband that gets softer with wear.

Crepey skin usually appears around the age of 40. However, if you are a frequent tanning bed user or have gained and lost a significant amount of weight, it can appear as early as your twenties. Medications, such as long-term prednisone, are another possible cause of crepey skin.

How to get rid of crepey skin?

At home remedies for crepey skin


exfoliate your body to prevent crepey skin

When the skin is damaged by external factors, dead skin cells tend to accumulate on the surface, preventing the renewal of new cells and resulting in dry, aged, and brittle skin.

Exfoliation on a regular basis improves blood circulation, improves nutrient delivery into cells, and removes dead skin cells.

All over your body, apply a gentle scrub made of brown sugar, lemon, and honey. Massage thoroughly, paying special attention to areas that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as your hands, knees, and arms. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Rep 1-2 times per week.

Protect your skin barrier with Petrolatum

One of the main causes of crepey skin is a lack of moisture. This is caused by a breakdown of the skin barrier as we age.

Protecting the skin barrier with products containing barrier-sealing components is a good way to reverse (or prevent) crepey skin.

Even today, the benefits of Petrolatum are debatable. Some say it’s bad and clogs pores, while others use it…well, pretty much everywhere on their bodies.

Nobody can deny that petroleum is excellent at sealing the skin barrier and preventing moisture from being sucked out into the air.

The key is to use purified petroleum, which is more skin-healing and less irritating.

Include antioxidants into your regime

When we are exposed to sunlight, free radicals are activated, resulting in the destruction of collagen tissues. Antioxidants fight free radicals by neutralizing them, which helps to slow down the aging process of the skin.

Products containing retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, or peptides can benefit skin that has been severely sun damaged or aged.

These ingredients, when used in skin care products, can help stimulate new cell growth and remove dead or damaged cells. Lactic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and hyaluronic acid can also help to moisturize and improve the appearance of the skin.

Look for a body moisturizer containing ammonium lactate, such as Lac-Hydrin or AmLactin, if you have crepey skin on your arms or legs.

Vitamin C and vitamin A are two other antioxidants to consider (so called Retinol). These anti-aging properties aid in the production of collagen.

While vitamin C works best during the day (topped with sunscreen), retinol is best applied at night because it is deactivated by sunlight.

Dermatological treatments

Dermatological treatments that can treat crepey skin include:

Topical retinoid

Retinoids, whether in cream or gel form, promote exfoliation and cell turnover. However, if not combined with proper precautions and a hydrating moisturizer, these products can be drying and aggravate crepey skin.

Fractional laser treatment (Fraxel)

This treatment employs lasers to heat up small areas beneath your skin, stimulating the growth of new collagen. This supports your skin and reduces wrinkling from the inside out. According to Dr. Kassouf, crepey skin around the eyes responds well to treatment with the Fraxel dual laser.

Ultrasound (Ulthera)

Ulthera is a skin-tightening procedure that uses targeted ultrasound to heat the supporting tissues beneath your skin, similar to a fractional laser treatment. This intense heat breaks down some of the cells and stimulates collagen growth, tightening your skin.

This treatment is usually applied to the face and neck, rather than the upper arm. This is because topical anesthetics are ineffective, and nerves in the upper inner arm can make the treatment painful.

Cryolipolysis (CoolSculpting)

Cryolipolysis is a noninvasive procedure that aids in the removal of localized fat deposits. The treatment freezes the lipids in fat cells, causing them to dissolve slowly. Cryolipolysis is used when there is loose skin over excess fat because it tightens the skin by removing the fat beneath the surface.


Radiesse or Sculptra, which are biostimulatory filling agents, can improve the appearance, texture, and thickness of crepey skin. These agents are injected into your skin to stimulate collagen growth.

How to prevent crepey skin

using sunscreen to prevent crepey skin

Stay in the shade. According to Dr. Kassouf, the most important thing to do is to stay out of the sun as much as possible. Protect your skin from the sun as well.

Prioritize skin hydration. Using a good moisturizer to keep skin hydrated helps prevent injury that causes or worsens crepiness.

Take note of the ingredients. Look for moisturizers that contain lubricating and plumping ingredients such as alpha or beta hydroxy acids (such as salicylic acid, lactic acid, or glycolic acid) or a high concentration of hyaluronic acid, the newest and best ingredient for building up dry, crepey skin.

Lasers with fractionated wavelengths. These lasers burn tiny holes in the skin (think aerating the lawn). These holes close as they heal and new skin grows on the surface. This evens out the tone and texture of your skin on your face, as well as thicker skin areas elsewhere.

Bottom lines

There are a host of options available — from lotions to surgery — that can help reduce crepey skin as you age. Some products are available over the counter and some need a prescription.

Work with your doctor or dermatologist to decide what the best options are for your lifestyle and skin care needs.

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