By Cynthia Bailey MD. This page was updated on Sun, Sep 15, 2019
The two main causes of crepey skin are,
- excessive skin dryness,
- thinning of the skin’s two living layers due to sun damage and age.
Crepey skin on the body and face need different treatment.
Facial Crepey Skin and how to get the best results for treating crepey facial skin by targeting skin dehydration and thinning.
Use products that target these problems.
- Build skin thickness and structural vitality in the living layers of your skin by using glycolic acid, retinoids (non-prescription retinol or prescription tretinoin), and/or vitamin C. You need high concentrations and stable formulations of these ingredients or they won't work.
- Brighten your skin texture with physical exfoliation by using scrubs. Combine this with chemical exfoliation that loosens connections between dead cells so that they slough off. The best chemical exfoliation ingredients are glycolic acid (an AHA), salicylic acid (BHA) and retinoids (such as retinol or prescription tretinoin). Exfoliation removes dead cells to brighten crepey skin to help skin look less crepey.
- Prevent additional skin thinning by wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen daily.
- Hydrate dehydrated, crepey and limp skin to instantly plump it up to a youthful dewy luster. Do this by applying a really good moisturizer matched to your skin type. Add additional hydration and plumping with advanced ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, sodium PCA (part of your skin’s natural moisturizing factor), glycerin, ceramides, squalane and more.
Find all the products used by dermatologists to treat crepey facial skin.
A Dr. Bailey Complete Skin Care Routine gets the best results and includes the 4 essential steps of:
Here is how to build a Dr. Bailey Complete Skin Care Routine to fight crepey facial skin.
- CLEANSE using only non-drying soaps and skin cleansers.
- CORRECT skin thinning, limpness and dry skin scale using glycolic acid, retinoids and/or vitamin C, and physical exfoliating scrubs. Know that exfoliating dead cells removes scale to improve crepey-ness but does not remove living cells. Correcting also means you need to stop the cascade of skin thinning that starts from sun exposure by using sunscreen. You also need products with antioxidants to help lessen the damage. Finally, you need to stop the breakdown of your skin's collagen by using a retinoid. Retinoids stop the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) enzyme cascade that is turned on inside your skin by UV sun exposure, and that leads to the breakdown of your skin collagen.
- HYDRATE with moisturizing creams and lotions matched to your skin type.
- PROTECT crepey skin from the sun to prevent further skin thinning so that your skin can begin to reverse the thinning that has already occurred. Don’t underestimate the importance of sun exposure as a cause of your skin creping; dermatologists know that most skin thinning happens due to sun damage, not the aging process.
The ideal product layering routine to reverse crepey facial skin.
Step 1: CLEANSE with one of my facial skin cleansers matched for your skin type. Your cleanser can also address skin problems like acne, seborrhea or rosacea. Consider using a Facial Exfoliating Sponge. Exfoliate with my Bamboo and Clay Thermal Exfoliating Scrub twice a week to really brighten your complexion. For additional skin cleansing use my Deeply Hydrating Rose Toner.
Step 2 and 3: The ideal CORRECT and HYDRATE steps can be combined to fight crepey skin when you apply my Instantly Luminous Serum right after washing. Let the serum dry a few seconds then layer other products such as Green Tea Antioxidant Cream, then Vitamin C Serum or Glycolic Acid Face Cream. If you need additional hydration, my Daily Face Creams (Daily Face Cream for Normal/Dry or Daily Face Cream for Oily/Normal skin) or Natural Lotion and Natural Body Butter will help to lock in moisture to help plump crepey skin.
At night, use Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream. You can layer this with the Glycolic Acid Face Cream, Daily Face Cream, or Natural Lotion and Natural Body Butter for additional hydration.
Know that professional glycolic acid, retinol and vitamin C products support collagen renewal to help reverse crepey skin texture.
Step 4: PROTECT skin from further collagen loss by using one of my mineral zinc oxide broad spectrum physical sunscreens. Wear a hat, seek the shade, and avoid directly exposing your facial skin to the sun because UV ray exposure starts the cascade of events that leads to severely crepey skin.
Find my products below to build your own Dr. Bailey Complete Skin Care Routiune to treat crepey skin on your face. If you wear makeup, remember that dusting mineral makeup on top of your sunscreen adds additional sun protection for your fragile skin to help prevent and reverse skin thinning. Click here to see my collection of pure and natural mineral makeup.
Dermatologist's tips for crepey skin on the arms, legs, hands and chest.
Why do you get crepey skin on the body?
Crepey skin happens due to skin thinning from sun damage and age for the same reasons that it happens on facial skin. Excessive skin dryness and scale will cause crepey skin too. You may see it show up first on your arms and chest. With age, all of your skin is at risk for thinning, dryness and crepey skin.
What does crepey skin mean?
Skin texture that is thin, wrinkled, crinkled, dull and even scaly is described as crepey.
What is the best treatment for crepey skin on the arms, hands, legs and chest?
In my dermatology practice, I recommend exfoliation and glycolic acid moisturizers. Glycolic acid helps to stimulate collagen renewal and also the production of hyaluronic acid within the deeper layers of your skin. This helps to plump crepey skin. Glycolic acid will also brighten, polish and hydrate your skin so that it is no longer dull and crinkled.
Moisturize your skin after every time you bathe to help lock in skin moisture to plump crepey skin.
Don't forget that you must use good sun protection for crepey skin since UV rays cause many of the conditions that lead to crepey skin such as skin thinning.
On your chest and hands, the skin is thin enough to absorb additional ingredients such as Retinol and Vitamin C, both of which help stimulate collagen renewal.
Remember, you always get the best results to treat crepey skin with Complete Skin Care. Dr. Bailey's Complete Skin Care includes the 4 essential skin care steps of,
Build your complete skin care routine to target creping anywhere on your arms, legs, hands, neck and trunk using this 4-step process.
Dermatologist's 4 Step Treatment for Crepey Skin
- CLEANSE using only non-drying soaps and skin cleansers. Exfoliate when you cleanse to begin the CORRECT step. Use an exfoliating shower cloth such as the Salux Cloth, or a shower mitt or sponge and an exfoliating cleanser such as my Triple Action Exfoliating Cleanser.
- CORRECT the appearance of crepey skin using glycolic acid, which will restructure the outer dead skin to give it more luster. Strong glycolic acid also will help to promote more natural skin production of hyaluronic acid in the dermis to plump crepey skin. Use my Glycolic Acid Body Lotion at least twice a week. Apply it within the magic 3 minutes after toweling skin dry following your bath or shower. Add physical exfoliation with the Salux Cloth to help remove dry scale that makes crepey skin look worse. Get my Triple Action Exfoliating Cleanser, a Salux Shower Cloth and my Glycolic Acid Body Lotion in my Ultra-Fast Body Smoothing Triple Action Kit. On delicate chest, neck and hand skin, you can also see results by adding a retinoid product like my Retinol Night Cream or my Vitamin C Serum. Use the Vitamin C during the day under your sunscreen or clothing. Use the Retinol at night. You can top it with my Glycolic Acid Lotion.
- HYDRATE with hypoallergenic moisturizing creams and lotions matched for your skin type and the body area you are treating. Excellent options include my hypoallergenic Natural Lotion and Natural Butter, both are made with organic botanical oils rich in vitamins, antioxidants and hydrating natural ingredients. Alternate these with the Glycolic Acid Body Lotion. The delicate skin on the neck and chest may even benefit from some of the deeply hydrating facial products including my Instantly Luminous Multi-Action Serum, Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy and Naturally Hydrating Pore-Minimizing Toner. These products contain glycerin, hyaluronic acid and some contain other ingredients such as sodium PCA to deeply hydrate and plump crepey skin. This provides you with additional CORRECT benefits to your HYDRATE step. I use these products on my own neck and chest.
- PROTECT creping skin from the sun to prevent further skin thinning, and to help your skin reverse what has occurred. Don’t underestimate the importance of sun protection as a cause of your skin creping, because we know that most skin thinning happens due to sun damage -- not the aging of your skin. Use UPF 50 clothing or one of my broad spectrum, hypoallergenic SPF 30+ zinc oxide sunscreens below every day on all exposed skin.
Find my products below to build your complete skin care routine to treat crepey skin anywhere on your body, whether your arms, chest and neck, the back of your hands, or your legs. These are patient-proven, dermatologist-approved products that work beautifully to fix crepey skin.