What is Crepey Skin? Causes and Treatments

It is common for skin to become loose and lax as we get older. Amy Kassouf, MD, a dermatologist in New York City, says that the most common cause of skin that feels like paper or crepe is not age.

Unlike the wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, crepey skin is typically caused by sun damage. The skin’s elastin fibers, which allow it to stretch and return to its normal position when exposed to the sun, break down.

Fibers damaged by repeated exposure gradually lose their ability to repair themselves over time. With wear, the elastic waistband becomes a little looser.

When you’re in your 40s, you’re more likely to notice the appearance of crepey skin. Those in their 20s who have a history of excessive tanning bed use or significant weight gain and loss may begin to notice it. Crepey skin may also be caused by medication, such as long-term prednisone use.

The good news is that Dr. Kassouf says there are ways to prevent and even correct crepey skin.

What is crepey skin?

Crepey skin has a delicate, wrinkly texture that resembles crepe paper, and it may also sag or seem flimsy to some. In many ways, crepey skin is similar to common wrinkles, but the condition tends to affect larger areas, and this skin feels noticeably thinner and more fragile than normal skin. It’s most common under the eyes and on the upper inner arms of the upper body.

Crepey Skin Versus Wrinkles

They are, indeed, distinct. When it comes to wrinkles, crepey skin is similar to them in many ways, but it’s a little different from your typical fine lines. Ahead of anything else: Unlike wrinkles, which can appear in specific crevices, crepey skin affects larger sun-exposed areas. Another thing that makes the creases and fine lines, wrinkles, and crepey skin look different is very fragile.

Even though wrinkles are an unavoidable byproduct of growing older, this is not the primary cause of sagging skin and fine lines. A board-certified dermatologist tells MBG that “crepey skin looks thin, saggy, and wrinkled, but it’s not necessarily linked to old age.” A lack of moisture and decreased cell turnover are blamed for the thin, crepey skin appearance caused by aging and environmental factors (sun exposure, smoking, and pollution).

Crepey Skin On Legs, Face, And Body

If you have crepey skin on any part of your body, there are several reasons why it’s more common in certain areas like the face.

Smoking, sun damage, and the structure of deep collagen fibers that keep the skin elastic on the face all play a role in forming wrinkles on the face.

You can also find crepey skin on the neck, décolletage, and the inside of the upper arm. It’s possible to have problems with your finger joints, knees, and the skin around your eyes.

When collagen and elastin, two proteins that give skin supple elasticity, break down, crepey skin often results. It’s a normal part of getting older, as the body’s ability to produce these proteins diminishes with time.

A variety of other factors can accelerate the degradation of collagen and elastin. Specifically, UV light from the sun has been shown to degrade these proteins. Photoaging, the result of this, results in wrinkled, sagging skin.

Smoking has also been shown to degrade collagen in the skin and slow its replenishment. The first signs of crepey skin can show up in someone’s 20s or 30s, even if they don’t smoke or are around people who smoke.

Another common cause of premature crepey skin is excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol makes vitamin A less available, making it hard to get enough collagen and elastin.

Crepey Skin Causes

Crepey skin can be caused by sun damage, but it’s not the only factor. Ageing, dehydration, and weight loss can all contribute to the appearance of crepey skin.

The skin’s collagen and elastin, which keep it firm and wrinkle-free, are destroyed by the ultraviolet light of the sun’s rays. As a result, skin becomes saggy, thin, and wrinkled.

Age also plays a role. Collagen and elastin, the skin-plumping fibers, decrease production as we age. Pollution, stress, and tobacco products can all harm the skin’s appearance and speed up the aging process.

As you get older, your skin stops secreting as much oil as possible. Your skin’s lipid barrier is strengthened by using these oils, which protect it and help it retain moisture. Hormonal changes can also cause drier skin and less natural oil production. For any reason, crepey skin can be caused by dryness. A lack of moisture is the most likely cause of crepey skin that fluctuates from day to day or season to season.

What to Do for Crepey Skin?

Remain in the shadows. Dr. Kassouf says that the most important thing is to avoid the sun as much as possible. When you’re out in the sun, don’t forget to protect your skin.

Make sure your skin is adequately hydrated. You can prevent creepiness by keeping your skin well-hydrated with a high-quality moisturizer.

Consider the ingredients carefully. Alpha or beta hydroxy acids (like salicylic, lactic, or glycolic acid) are the best ingredients for repairing dry, crepey skin, so look for moisturizing products containing high concentrations of this new and most effective ingredient.

Lasers are divided into smaller and smaller pieces. These lasers make small holes in the skin (think aerating the lawn). As the wounds heal and new skin grows on top, they contract. It helps to even out your skin’s tone and texture, whether on your face or in other places with thicker skin.

Crepey Skin Treatments

You can use multiple treatments to improve skin health and reduce crepey skin. When it comes to treating creping, it all depends on your skin type, cause, and location. The sooner you begin treating crepey skin, the more noticeable a change in its appearance, texture, thickness and support you will see. Your dermatologist can help you determine which treatments are best for your skin and make sure you are properly screened and diagnosed.

Dermatological treatments

Treatments for crepey skin in dermatology include:

Topical Retinoid

Retinoids promote exfoliation and increase cellular cell turnover, whether in a cream or a gel. When used without proper care and a hydrating moisturizer, these products can cause dryness and worsen crepey skin.

Fractional Laser Treatment (Fraxel)

Small areas of your skin are heated with lasers, resulting in new collagen production. It helps support your skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles from the inside out. When treating sagging skin around the eyes, Dr. Kassouf has found that the Fraxel dual laser is effective.

Ultrasound (Ulthera)

Ulthera is a skin-tightening procedure that uses ultrasound to heat the supporting tissues beneath your skin, similar to fractional laser treatment. To tighten your skin, a laser uses high heat to break down some of the cells and encourage new collagen growth. The upper arm is not a common location for this procedure; instead, it is reserved for the face and neck. It is the only option because topical anesthetics don’t work, and nerves in the upper inner arm can make the treatment uncomfortable.

Cryolipolysis (CoolSculpting)

Using cryolipolysis, a non-invasive procedure, you can target specific areas of fat and get rid of them. The lipids in fat cells are frozen, causing them to dissolve gradually. Cryolipolysis is used to tighten loose skin on top of fat deposits as it removes fat from the deeper layers of the skin.


Crepey skin can benefit from using a bio-stimulatory filler such as Radiesse or Sculptra. Collagen-stimulating agents are injected into the skin to promote the growth of the protein.

Another Excellent Crepey Skin Treatment

Products containing retinoids, alpha-hydroxy acids, or peptides can help those with sun-damaged or older skin. When used in skincare products, these ingredients can promote new cell growth and remove dead or damaged cells. Glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, and hyaluronic acid can also be used to help hydrate and improve the skin’s appearance, as well.

Try Lac-Hydrin or AmLactin, which contain ammonium lactate, as a body moisturizer for crepey skin on your arms or legs.

Natural Crepey Skin Remedies You Can Make At Home

Many natural treatments for crepey skin are substitutes for clinical procedures. In the early stages of these treatments, it’s hard to know how effective these treatments will be and how long they will last in the early stages of these treatments.


Cupping is widely promoted as a traditional remedy for many ailments, including crepey skin. It involves applying suction to the skin with specially designed cups.

Even though this procedure has a low risk of side effects, very little is known about how well it works to treat this specific condition.

Natural Oils

You can slow down crepey skin by using natural remedies such as coconut or castor oil on the skin. Besides not replenishing collagen and elastin, they haven’t been proven to fix or improve crepey skin.

How to Manage Visible Crepey Skin?

Now that you’ve learned all you can about crepey skin, it’s time to work. Below are four helpful hints for reducing the appearance of crepey skin.

Invest in a broad-spectrum sunscreen

We can’t stress this enough: wear sunscreen every time you go outside. You’ll want to keep a broad-spectrum sunscreen on hand because sun damage can lead to visible signs of aging. I love the Revitalift Triple Power Day Lotion SPF 30 from L’Oréal Paris, a moisturizer and sunscreen all in one product!

Do not rely solely on sunscreen to safeguard your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. As the sun’s peak hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., these times limit your time in the sun. Wear clothing that protects your exposed skin from the sun.

Use a Moisturizer regularly

The last thing you want is for your loose skin to worsen if you already have crepey skin. You’re lucky because a moisturizing skin cream can help you get your skin back to normal. Using a moisturizer can help keep your skin looking its best. Fragrance-Free moisturizer from L’Oréal Paris has vitamin C, Proretinol, and hyaluronic acid to make your skin look tighter and brighter in just a week.

If you’re not careful, the skin around your eyes will show signs of aging, such as wrinkles and creepiness, as you age. The L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Eye Renewal Eye Cream can help you improve your skincare routine. Eye creams containing powerful antioxidants can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging. As long as you use the product every day, your eyes will look new and refreshed.

Apply a Face Serum

You can achieve hydration for dry, crepey skin with a face serum and a facial moisturizer. The key to better-looking skin is finding a facial serum to replenish your skin’s moisture levels. Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5 percent Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum from L’Oréal Paris will help you get radiant, youthful skin by making it look fuller and keeping it moisturized for a long time.


Can poor sleep cause crepey skin?

Crepey skin isn’t directly linked to a lack of sleep, but poor sleep habits can affect health. According to a 2015 study, those who don’t get enough sleep regularly are less satisfied with their appearance and reduced skin barrier function. The skin barrier protects the body from dehydration and keeps bacteria out.

How Do We Get Crepey Skin?

The two main proteins in the skin’s dermis, collagen, and elastin, become depleted with age. To make things worse, things like smoking, sun exposure, and rapid weight gain or loss can make it even worse.

Can Creams And Serums Be Designed For Crepey Skin?

You can repair the skin’s damaged barrier, restore or maintain its hydration, and improve its microcirculation with creams and serums, reducing the crepey skin effect.

The Bottom Line

There are some similarities between crepey skin and wrinkles, but the difference lies in the skin’s texture, not wrinkles. Supporting your body’s collagen and hydration levels prevents thin, fragile skin. Consider crepey skin as having the appearance of being extremely thirsty: Your skin will eagerly absorb all the moisture if you use the right hydrating ingredients. Your skin will look different, but it won’t look exactly like it did in your prepubescent years.


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