Guest Writer Karen Lombardo
Crepey skin is yet another joy of aging and that very dreaded menopause. We all know that feeling when you first notice that your skin looks a bit like crepe paper and is starting to have patterns of little triangular and hexagonal shapes AND then it sags … ughhh. As we age into and past our 40s, our skin no longer produces the oils and protective sun barrier needed to keep our skin hydrated and retain elasticity and tightness. All is not lost. Let’s talk about crepey skin, what it is, and how you can treat and help prevent crepey skin.
What is crepey skin?
Do you remember holding your grandmother’s hand and noticing how paper-thin and fragile her hand and skin appeared? Crepey skin is very delicate and appears finely wrinkled like crepe paper. Often, it looks loose, as if you can pinch and lift the skin from the hand itself. It is commonly found on the upper body (the chest and arms in particular) and sometimes even under the eyes. Dwindling levels of elastin and collagen contribute significantly to crepey skin and of course this is all brought on by a decline in hormones that starts in your 30s and escalates after you surpass menopause in your 50s (for most of us)
The Cleveland Clinic explains, As we grow older, our skin can gradually become more loose and flaccid. But when skin begins to feel thin as paper or like crepe, the most common cause isn’t age, says dermatologist Amy Kassouf, MD.
Unlike wrinkles around the eyes and mouth (that result from repeated muscle movements), crepey skin typically can be directly traced to sun damage. Over time, the more exposure to the sun you have had threatens a cycle of a break down of elastin the fibers in your skin that allow it to stretch and return to its normal position. In terms of elastin, Think of it as an elastic waistband that, with wear, becomes more lax.
These fibers can heal, but they eventually lose their ability to repair completely after repeated sun exposure over time.
This is why wearing an SPF every day while in the sun or even on a cloudy day is wonderful for helping with your wrinkle prevention routine.
Crepey skin usually begins to appear when you’re in your 40s. But it can show up as early as your 20s if you are a chronic tanning-bed user or have gained and lost substantial amounts of weight. Medications can also be another potential cause of crepey skin, such as long-term use of prednisone.
What causes crepey skin?
Like many of our body’s characteristics and health-related issues, crepey skin can be genetically related but often attributed to environmental factors. Crepey skin on legs, arms, and hands is suggested to be predominantly caused by the sun’s ultraviolet radiation; however other factors contribute to crepey skin as well:
How sun damage causes crepey skin?
According to Healthline.com, “Sun damage is the most common cause of crepey skin, but it certainly isn’t the only cause. Crepey skin can also result from aging, a lack of moisture, excessive weight loss, or any combination of these.
The ultraviolet light in the sun’s rays break down collagen and elastin in skin that help it stay tight and wrinkle-free. Once these fibers break down, the skin can loosen, thin, and wrinkle.
How aging causes crepey skin?
Age is also a factor. You produce less collagen and elastin, due to hormone decline, — the fibers that help your skin look supple and smooth — the older you get. Pollution, stress, and smoking cigarettes all take a toll on skin over your lifetime and can contribute to much more visible signs of aging such as crepey skin.
As you age, your skin produces less oil than it did when you were younger. These oils create an important lipid barrier that protects your skin and helps seal in moisture. Hormonal changes can also lead to drier skin and less natural oil production. Dryness for any reason can cause crepey skin. If you have crepey skin that comes and goes depending on the day or the season, a lack of moisture is most likely the cause.”
How to prevent crepey skin
It is not too late to make a change and improve your skin to reduce crepey skin appearance. Here are some tips from our in-house team on preventing crepey skin.
Wear SPF: A sunscreen with an SPF of a minimum of 30 that protects against UVA and UVB rays should be worn every day — even in the winter and on cloudy days. Don’t forget your ears, neck, and hands. Ideally, it should be reapplied every few hours. Consider mineral powders and sunscreens to satisfy this requirement if you wear makeup. Just look at sunscreen as a regular part of your skincare routine, and before you know it, you’ll slather it on without even thinking about it.
Wear Antioxidant Protection: Remember our little chat about the environment and oxidative stress? Here’s what you can do to combat the aging effects of both. Use a serum with antioxidant protection to help neutralize skin-damaging free radicals, correct the signs of age, brighten and tone, and help the skin repair itself. Look for ingredients like vitamin C, flavonoids, niacinamide, coenzyme Q10, resveratrol, and vitamin E. Retinoids are another top choice. What are retinoids? These topical vitamin-A-based doctor prescribed drugs reduce fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production. They also get bonus points for fading skin spots and improving skin texture.
Stop Smoking: Even if you’ve been a chain smoker for years, quitting will have noticeable improvements on your skin for the years to come. Don’t be embarrassed to reach out for help.
Eat a Healthy Diet: Research suggests a healthy diet can promote healthy skin — after all, beauty comes from within. Aim to eat plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats (avocado toast, anyone?), and again, drink in moderation. As mentioned, glycation can occur when ingesting too much sugar. This doesn’t have to just be candy or sugary drinks. Start paying better attention to nutrition labels, or better yet, stick to clean, whole foods. Motivate yourself by taking a cooking class or tuning into YouTube for inspiration.
Change the Way You Sleep: Make an effort to sleep on your back. If this is a challenge, invest in a back pillow or bolster under your knees to make the position more comfortable. Worst case scenario, there are special pillowcases that prevent wrinkle formation if you can’t get comfortable on your back.
Go Beyond a Basic Skincare Routine:You can do several things to soften existing wrinkles while slowing down the formation of new ones that don’t involve an injectable. For example, SiO Beauty’s silicone face patches have noticeable results after just one use, and when worn regularly, you can actually prevent future wrinkles from forming — even those stubborn ones that surface from sleeping on your stomach or side or from having an overly expressive face. You can also consider chemical peels, facial massage, retinoids, laser resurfacing, cryotherapy (aka “Frotox), acupuncture, and microneedling, but chat with a skin pro first.
Hydrate and Moisturize: Of course, one of the most basic things you can do is to hydrate and moisturize to prevent moisture loss and keep your skin’s lipid barrier intact. When you cover these two bases, fine lines and wrinkles are less prominent — and who couldn’t get on board with that?
How to get rid of crepey skin?
Reducing crepey skin is very difficult especially given that it very much comes from sun damage that is pretty much irreversible. However, creating and adhering to a good skincare regimen will work wonders for crepey skin. Effective treatments and therapies range from clean focused anti aging skincare products such as Caire Beauty’s skincare products that can be used on the face, around the eyes, neck and chest plus a touch along your arms along with anti aging moisturizers and hydrating creams that specifically target the skin barrier’s lipid replacement.
Over-the-counter products are available to treat crepey skin. Providence St. Joseph’s Health shares a brief list:
Coconut oil is a moisturizing oil that can mend the cracks and thinness associated with crepey skin. Coconut is full of powerful emollient oils and fats and is, therefore, one of the best moisturizing substances out there to help with crepey skin. (mednews.com)
Protein plays a vital role in collagen and elastin production. Fatty fish such as salmon are high in protein and omega-3s. Furthermore, research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids are linked to a strong skin barrier and may help decrease inflammation that damages the skin (National Library of Medicine and Healthline).
There are options for crepey skin.
We know aging is a part of life, and our 'mature' grown up skin tells a tale of our life. Wrinkles, crepey skin, and other joys of the peri- to post- menopausal stages (the mid 30s to 50s on up) do not have to define us…or our skin.
Try out the Caire age-defying anti aging skin care products for grown up women and join a community of women who are taking back their power and falling in love with their skin all over again! We promise you won’t be disappointed!
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