Knowing why your skin gets crepey and how to fix it is something everyone wants to know once they see it on their own skin. Is the skin on your face, arms, legs, hands, and chest looking crepey, dull and not what you want to show off or see on yourself? Crepe paper skin repair can be done with the right skin care routine and ingredients. You just need to know what works to fix it... and what doesn't
Dermatologist’s information on what causes your skin to look this way and how you can treat it at home.
Crepey skin happens as we age. It is worse for women than men, though both are affected. It is definitely worse after menopause and as a woman approaches menopause in the perimenopause years.
What is Crepey Skin?
The term, "Crepey Skin," refers to skin that looks like crepe paper – skin that looks and feels thin, has fine wrinkles and an undulating texture. Patients often compress their skin to highlight the fine wrinkling as they describe it to me in my dermatology practice. Skin on the side of your face and crow's feet, or the outer surface of your arm skin is a great place to see this type of skin texture.
This crepe paper skin texture has several causes. Skin thinning and increased overall skin flaccidity are responsible for increasing your risk of crepey skin. Skin hydration is also really important because dry skin will look crinkled, wrinkled and crepey.
What is the Best Treatment for Crepey Skin?
There is a fast fix and a longer more sustained fix. I recommend both – because no one likes their skin to be crepey.
- Use products that help to build and renew skin collagen production to improve skin thickness.
- Combine these with ingredients for skin hydration and stimulation of deeper skin hydration by inducing skin hyaluronic acid production to really plump up skin.
It’s actually easy. The best skin care products to reverse crepey skin on the face are different than those for the body because the skin thickness and responsiveness is so different. In this article, I'm going to discuss my approach to treating crepey skin on the face. Click here to learn how to fix your crepey skin on the arms, legs and hands fast with my 4-step process for those areas.
Four Steps to Crepey Skin Repair for the Face and Neck
I combine products that target the causes of crepey skin texture:
1. Build skin thickness and structural vitality in the two top living layers.
We use glycolic acid, retinoids (non-prescription retinol or prescription tretinoin), and/or vitamin C to stimulate dermal collagen renewal. Products must be formulated with high concentrations of stable ingredients to work. Both retinol and glycolic acid in professional products will stimulate cellular water-holding hyaluronic acid formation in the deeper layers of your skin. This is important for reversing crepey skin.
2. Brighten skin texture with physical and chemical exfoliation.
This creates a dewy luster and enhances ingredient penetration through the skin barrier. Physical scrubs combined with glycolic acid (an AHA), salicylic acid (BHA) and retinoids (such as retinol or prescription tretinoin) will exfoliate skin.
3. Stop the breakdown of skin collagen
This is essential for meaningful repair of crepey skin. UV rays are the main cause of collagen breakdown via the matrix metalloproteinase pathway (MMP). Retinoids are particularly helpful at stopping the breakdown process. Oxidative reactions from free radicals formed from pollution exposure and natural metabolic activity of the skin will also cause collagen breakdown. Wearing a high-quality sunscreen and using a powerful antioxidant product every day are important.
4. Deeply hydrate all 3 layers of the skin.
Hydrate dehydrated, crepey and limp skin to instantly plump it up to a youthful dewy luster. Hydration and plumping with advanced ingredients such as fractionated hyaluronic acid, sodium PCA (part of your skin’s natural moisturizing factor) and glycerin will instantly improve the appearance of crepey skin. Trap the water and bolster your skin's barrier against Transepidermal Water Loss by using a really good moisturizer with ingredients such as ceramides and squalane.
Dermatologist's Skin Care Routine to Fix Crepey Skin
You need all 4 steps in your Complete Skin Care Routine to work synergistically to fix crepey skin. I created my Ageless Rejuvenation Kit to take out the guesswork. Add a physical exfoliation scrub and an advanced hyaluronic acid serum and you are set. I'll explain each step so you can see if you already have some of the key products at home and just need to add a few.
First, remember that Complete Skin Care maximizes product effectiveness and involves:
Skin Care Routine to Fix Crepey Skin
CLEANSE skin using a pH balanced cleanser, such as my Extremely Gentle Foaming Cleanser in the Kit. This preps skin to maximally absorb the next active ingredients. You can brighten and exfoliate skin with Triple Action Exfoliation Scrub (using AHA, BHA and exfoliating beads) during the day and Extremely Gentle Cleanser at night.
CORRECT the causes of skin crepey texture with all of the best ingredients:
- Instantly Luminous Multi-Action Serum. I recommend applying this right after toweling skin dry.
- Load skin antioxidant reserve during the day to fight skin damage with Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy in the Kit. It provides the best antioxidants to fight skin damage that leads to crepey skin in my opinion.
- Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream (included in the Kit) instead of Green Tea Skin Therapy. It contains both the green tea antioxidants and professional high levels of retinol to both stimulate collagen renewal and stop collagen breakdown. Top with Glycolic Acid Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream (included in the Kit) when your skin can tolerate the acid pH of this professional product. These two powerhouse ingredients are compatible layered together to fight crepey skin while you sleep. They can both cause skin sensitivity and I give you instructions on how to work them into your routine on the Kit page.
HYDRATE skin to trap water and keep skin supple and plump. Daily Moisturizing Face Cream (included in the Kit) contains the ideal formulation of barrier supporting ingredients including squalane and ceramides. Always apply it on top of your correcting products and under sunscreen. When you use the Glycolic Acid Cream you don't need the Daily Face Cream since the Glycolic Cream is formulated in a hydrating base.
PROTECT your skin every day from UV rays that cause collagen loss, skin thinning and crepey skin. Use 100% mineral-based sunscreen with zinc oxide as the primary UV filter. My Sheer Strength Pure Physical Sunscreens provide ideal protection and you have your choice of products in the Kit.
Thousands of my patients have followed this advice over the years, and it works. I use it for my own 60+ year old skin, because, well, it will descend into the crepey abyss without these 4 simple steps.