One of the most common signs of aging is thin papery skin. The skin somewhat looks like a crepe. Hence the term crepey skin. How to get rid of crepey skin? Read on to learn more.
Surprisingly, age is not the primary cause of crepey skin. It does make it easier for it to develop but it doesn’t take all the blame. The sun is the main culprit.
The Sun produces ultraviolet rays alongside heat and light. In limited amounts, certain UV rays, UVB rays to be specific, are beneficial (they help in Vitamin D synthesis). But in excess, ultraviolet rays can be very damaging to the point of causing skin cancer. Here’s a quick video explainer on what happens when UV rays hit your skin.
One effect of the sun on your skin is the deterioration of elastin, the fibres that keep your skin taut and wrinkle-free.
With less elastin, your skin becomes wrinkly, loose and thin. In other words, it gets crepey.
Other causes of crepey skin
While the sun is usually to blame, there are other causes of crepey skin.
One of them is reduced hydration. As your skin gets older, it produces fewer natural oils that keep skin smooth and act as a barrier against UV rays. This can accelerate the thinning process and can cause your skin to appear crackly.
Pollution, illness, stress, certain medication and a poor diet can all contribute to crepey skin or at least make it worse.
Losing a lot of weight is also a common cause of crepey skin. The loose skin is vulnerable to drying out and wrinkling especially with UV exposure.
How to get rid of crepey skin
In many cases you can reverse some or most of the visible effects of crepey skin. But it’s often impossible to make your elastin fibres work as well as they did before especially if the sun damage is severe.
If the sun damage is not that severe and your skin is generally healthy, you can probably eliminate most signs of crepey skin. Otherwise, you can only reverse or hide the damage to a degree.
If you have crepey skin, here’s what to do.
1. Protect your skin from the sun
The most important thing you can do is avoid further harmful sun exposure. Avoid going into the sun when it is strongest (between 10am and 2pm). If you do, apply good quality sunscreen and wear protective clothes.
Tanning beds are of course out of question as they can worsen the damage to your already vulnerable skin.
2. Hydrate aggressively
Moisturising your skin will not only help smoothen it, it also provides some protection from UV rays. Considering that your skin is already struggling to produce enough natural oils, you need to be aggressive with your hydration.
First use hydroxy acid cleansers to exfoliate your skin. They improve skin rejuvenation, making your skin look brighter and more vibrant.
Then use a good skin lotion or moisturizer. Look for moisturizers containing ingredients like natural oils, glycerine and Shea butter. They not only add moisture to your skin, they also trap it there.
Then turn to your diet. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits and drink water often. All these hydrate your skin from the inside.
3. Use over the counter medication and creams
Visit your local chemist or beauty store and ask for a good retinol topical cream. Retinol or vitamin A is good for restoring skin’s elasticity and boosting collagen production. It will reduce the crepey appearance on your skin.
You can also talk to your dermatologist for advice on what other topical treatments you can use. They may recommend a peptide cream or an alpha hydroxy treatment.
4. Seek medical treatment
If over the counter solutions are not working, ask your dermatologist what medical options are available.
Procedures like Thermage, Fractional laser treatment, Ultrasound and CoolSculpting (for overweight persons) can help get rid of crepey skin.
For severe crepey skin caused by lose skin resulting from weight loss, you may require surgery to get rid of the excess skin.
5. Try Shiatsu massage
Massage your skin – use a shiatsu massage chair – on your face, neck, or arms, and thus build up the underlying muscle. It may help reducing that thin, crepey, paper look.
The sooner you start protecting your skin the more effectively you’ll be able to deal with crepey skin. Start using sunscreen and if possible, avoid the sun at its hottest. Don’t forget to moisturise often, drink lots of water and eat healthy.