Can Crepey Skin Be Reversed?

Can Crepey Skin Be Reversed?

Crepey skin — true to its name — resembles thin and wrinkly crepe paper. So, it’s not surprising that many people search for ways to reverse it. But is this possible? And if so, how?

To answer these questions, this guide from Nourishing Biologicals explains what exactly crepey skin is, what causes it, and how it can be fixed. Read on for evidence-backed ways to get youthful skin again. 

What Is Crepey Skin?

Crepey skin refers to thin, wrinkly, and dry skin. It primarily results from loss of firmness, which happens when collagen and elastin in the skin begin to degrade.

Collagen and elastin are proteins that keep the skin bouncy, resilient, and supple. However, due to multiple factors, it’s possible for them to either get damaged or get produced by the body in lower amounts. Crepey skin is just one of the issues associated with the loss of these proteins. 

Crepey skin can occur anywhere on the body. However, collagen and elastin primarily degrade due to sun exposure, meaning sun-exposed areas — like the arms, chest, upper arms, and neck — are more likely to experience thinning and wrinkling. 

While crepey skin is more common in old age, it can affect anyone with significant skin damage, poor skin health, or certain skin conditions, including those in their 20s. 

What Are the Causes of Crepey Skin?

Crepey skin happens when the body’s collagen and elastin get damaged or if their production by the body gets hundred. This can happen due to many reasons. Here are five of the most common ones: 

1. Genetics

Those with lighter skin tones have less melanin, which is a molecule that offers natural sun protection. When exposed to the same amount of sunlight, those with lighter skin tones are more likely to develop crepey skin. 

Those with darker skin tones also tend to have thicker skin. This means they’re less susceptible to collagen and elastin loss, making them less likely to develop thinning and wrinkling. 

Of course, just because someone has lighter skin doesn’t mean they’re doomed to develop crepey skin. Lifestyle factors play a much bigger role in how our skin looks. So, taking care of our skin (and overall health) can help to prevent crepiness for any skin tone. 

2. Sun Damage 

Read any anti-aging advice, and you’re sure to see avoiding sun exposure and tanning beds at the top of the list. 

The sun can be seriously damaging to the skin. Up to 80% of skin aging is due to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet radiation, which especially affects those with lighter skin tones. 

We know that a little bit of sun exposure is good. When we completely avoid the sun, we risk developing serious health problems. But this doesn’t mean that we should bake under the sunlight to get vitamin D. For some people, just 10 minutes a day is more than enough. 

When someone gets excessive UV ray exposure, they can damage the molecules that produce collagen and elastin, making them less able to work as they should. The sun can also directly degrade collagen and elastin, which can ruin the skin’s texture and require repair. 

So, all in all, the advice to stay out of the sun — and to wear plenty of broad-spectrum sunscreen — is not in vain. Instead, it may be one of the most important things someone does to prevent crepey skin. You can also add another layer of protection by applying topical antioxidants like vitamin C every morning.

3. Unhealthy Lifestyle Factors

One of the worst things someone can do for their skin is to eat a diet high in sugar. Sugar can spike blood glucose levels, which is linked to increased collagen and elastin degradation. On the other hand, cutting out sugar — and carbs in general — is linked to a more youthful skin appearance. 

Some other unhealthy lifestyle factors include smoking (we all know this one), excessive alcohol consumption, sleep deprivation, lack of movement, and high emotional stress. Essentially, if you don’t take care of your general health, it can show up on your skin. 

4. Environmental Toxins

The skin is full of pores, which allows it to easily absorb the things we put on it. But this also means that the skin absorbs other things we come in contact with, such as environmental toxins. 

There are many sources of environmental toxins, but air pollution is perhaps the most prevalent. Anyone who lives near a city is exposed to air pollution, which is linked to increased skin inflammation — a potential cause of collagen and elastin loss. 

 Sensitive skin may also be less able to protect and repair itself. So, when irritated skin gets dry and wrinkly, it may be less likely to heal properly. 

5. Hormonal Changes

Estrogen plays an important role in the skin’s youthful appearance. Greater amounts of estrogen are linked to increased skin elasticity, thickness, and hydration. 

However, as women undergo menopause, their estrogen supplies tend to decrease. This can lead to thin, dry, and wrinkled skin, which is characteristic of crepey skin. 

Can You Reverse Crepey Skin?

Crepey skin stems, in large part, from sun damage. Some dermatologists don’t think that reversing sun damage is possible — since it happens on the DNA level. However, others think that certain procedures can structurally change the skin, significantly improving the appearance of crepiness. 

This comes to show the impotence of prevention. It’s possible to prevent crepey skin by leading a healthy lifestyle, staying out of the sun, and avoiding exposure to toxins. Some other prevention strategies include moisturizing daily with a hydrating lotion, using collagen-stimulating creams, and wearing SPF as often as possible. 

Unfortunately, there aren’t many home remedies to improve crepey skin. Once the damage is done, it’s pretty much there. The good news is that there are many professional solutions for reversing the appearance of crepey skin. Read on to discover what they are. 

How Can You Improve Crepey Skin? 

If you go to a dermatologist due to your concerns about crepey skin, they may recommend different ways to boost your collagen production. 

Here are some of the options you may consider: 

1. Retinol 

Retinol is considered the “gold standard” for brightening skin. A vitamin A derivative and over-the-counter retinoid, retinol can penetrate deep into the skin to help reduce the appearance of fine lines.

Retinol can also support proper skin cell turnover, which can reveal fresher skin underneath. 

Those who use retinol can experience initial dryness, flaking, and irritation, no matter their skin type. You can start with a low-strength retinol cream or gel and build up a tolerance from there. In general, the face tends to be the most sensitive, while thicker areas like the arms can handle a higher concentration. 

If you plan to use retinol, keep in mind that it can make your skin sensitive to the sun. To avoid causing even more sun damage, wash it off before going outdoors and wear SPF if getting any sun exposure.

Other skincare options are exfoliating hydroxy acids like glycolic acid and lactic acid. You can also find over-the-counter products that deliver skin-firming peptides into your skin.

2. Microneedling

Microneedling is a classic treatment for boosting collagen production and smoothing out the skin. It uses microscopic needles to make punctures in the skin, which stimulates the skin’s natural repair process — A.K.A. collagen production. 

Immediately after the microneedling, the skin becomes incredibly absorbent. For this reason, microneedling is often combined with active ingredients to improve results, such as hyaluronic acid

3. Radiofrequency

Radiofrequency sends radio waves to the top skin layers, heating and tightening them. This is a non-invasive procedure, which means that surgery isn’t involved. However, the results can be seriously impressive and visible after only one treatment. 

4. Fillers

Injectable fillers are a popular option for smoothing out wrinkles. In addition, fillers can boost collagen production, improving results over time. Fillers aren’t a permanent solution and have to be repeated often. However, the results of some fillers can last as many as two years. 

5. Cryolipolysis

Cryolipolysis is definitely not marketed as a skin-tightening procedure. Instead, it’s done for non-surgical weight loss. However, some researchers noted that patients who got cryolipolysis experienced a significant tightening in the skin in the treated area. What’s more, just one session produced noticeable results. 

Of course, cryolipolysis is not only a skin-tightening procedure as it can induce fat loss. But it’s definitely something to consider as a non-traditional treatment for crepey skin. 

Getting Youthful Skin With Nourishing Biologicals 

Evidence-based treatments such as retinol, micro-needling, and cryolipolysis are effective ways to reverse the appearance of crepey skin. However, they are much more effective when combined with the right skincare routine. 

Nourishing Biologicals is proud to offer award-winning skincare products that are shown to nourish the skin — leading to a healthy and youthful appearance. 



Effect of the sun on visible clinical signs of aging in Caucasian skin | PMC

The risks and benefits of sun exposure 2016 | PMC

Ketones, the ketogenic diet, and the skin: a review of where we are and where we should go | PULSUS

Does Cryolipolysis Lead to Skin Tightening? A First Report of Cryodermadstringo | Aesthetic Surgery Journal | Oxford Academic

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