Everyone has crepey skin. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and take a good look at your elbow.
The crepey skin you just saw is sometimes referred to as “elephant skin” because of its crepe-like, crinkly texture. At first glance, this type of skin may seem a little scary, but it is both preventable and treatable.
What is Crepey Skin?
Crepey skin is the result of your body’s response to lowered levels of elastin and collagen—proteins that allow your skin to stretch and contract.
As you enter your 30s, protein production in your skin begins to drop resulting in thinner skin that will eventually start to thin and sag.
Crepey skin doesn’t come about suddenly like a pimple. Instead, crepey skin takes months, or even years to set in. Luckily, you can use this time to your advantage. Learning all of the causes and solutions for crepey skin will help you avoid this unsightly problem ensuring that your skin matches your youthful disposition.
Where Is Crepey Skin Most Common?
Crepey skin can occur anywhere.
The areas most susceptible to crepey skin include a woman’s décolleté (a woman’s neck and shoulders), and her décolletage (neck, shoulders, back and chest). Crepey skin also is commonplace on the face and hands.
How Is Crepey Skin Different Than Other Wrinkly Skin?
The difference between crepey skin and a wrinkle is that a wrinkle forms when there are repeat motions in one area, whereas crepey skin results from the thinning of layers of skin called the dermis (the second layer of skin) and epidermis (the top layer of skin).
What Causes Crepey Skin?
While aging plays a primary role in the cause of crepey skin, it is definitely not the sole culprit. In fact, there are quite a few factors that can attribute to crepey skin.
Drastic Weight Fluctuations
Sudden changes in weight increase the chances of developing crepey skin. When you’re young, your skin is stretchable and recoils easily because young skin naturally produces an abundance of collagen and elastin. Yet, with age, your skin’s elasticity may no longer be able to keep up with your diet and exercise habits. Unfortunately, since your skin can no longer bounce back like the rubber band it used to be, repeated stretching and constriction of your skin often results in thinning, loose skin formations.
Many people are aware of the damaging effects that come with exposure to the sun. However, fewer know that excessive exposure to UV (Ultraviolet) light causes a process called ‘cross-linking,’ which makes collagen molecules stiff and inflexible. In turn, youthful skin becomes more prone to turn into crepey skin.
Furthermore, the American Academy of Dermatology now attributes 90–95 percent of skin aging to sun exposure—specifically damage done by ultraviolet rays to the collagen fibers in the dermis.
Smoking is a catalyst to aging. The amount and duration that you smoke has a direct correlation with the likelihood of crepey and wrinkled skin.
Crepey skin is not only found on the mouths of smokers, but on all parts of their bodies, including the inner arms, chest, and above the knees.
There are over 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, many of which damage collagen and elastin, which are the origins of skin’s strength and elasticity. Therefore, it is easy to see how smoking can contribute to premature aging, and saggy, crepey skin.
Melissa Piliang, M.D., a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, states that “When you sleep on your side or stomach, your face is smushed down against the pillow, pushing the skin into creases.” She goes on to say that “If you lay like that for 6 to 8 hours, the wrinkles become etched into your face. Unfortunately, this applies to other areas of your skin as well beyond the face.
Gravity is not our friend as we age. What goes up must come down, and our skin is no exception to this rule. Sadly for us, crepey skin is in cahoots with gravity, and does not treat midlife skin as kindly as it does a twenty-year-old’s.
As we age, the body loses it’s ability to hold as much moisture as it did during its youth. When that happens, skin becomes dehydrated and dry, setting the stage for crepey skin and wrinkles to make their debut.
A Diet High In Sugar
When you have a diet high in sugar, a process called glycation occurs. Glycation is the bonding of a protein or lipid (fat) molecule with a sugar molecule. What are known as advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, of said process cause protein fibers to stiffen and form incorrectly.
The proteins in skin most affected by glycation are collagen and elastin. By now you are fully aware that these proteins are critical to maintaining a youthful appearance.
When collagen and elastin combine with renegade sugars, they become weak, discolored, and less pliable. As a result, wrinkles, sagginess, and of course crepey skin ensue.
How To Fix Crepey Skin
Crepey skin may be harmless, and a natural part of the aging process, but it can be quite lethal to one’s self-esteem. Fortunately for us, there are preventative measures we can take to upkeep skin’s elasticity, repair already affected areas and regain confidence.
Surgery or Injections
Some people try surgery on for size. That option may be effective and inspire some new selfies, but can be expensive, and comes with the risks of being under the knife. Surgeries can also leave scars, and induce painful recoveries.
Others opt for collagen injections to help smooth and plump skin, as well as alleviate crepe-ing. Since collagen is a natural substance, it is one of the safest ways to treat midlife skin. However, the injections are costly starting at hundreds of dollars per shot.
Unfortunately for those battling décolleté wrinkles, neither surgery nor injections are a consistent answer due to the unique biology of the décolletage region.
We all wish that magic could be sold in a bottle. If it were possible, we would all run out and purchase the fountain of youth if we could. Creams may not work wonders, but they do help keep skin moisturized, which is one great way of preventing crepe-ing assuming your start early on in life, and staying forever young.
If you are looking for a scientific solution to fixing crepey skin, you should give décolleté pads a try. The SiO SkinPad is a clinically-proven, pain free, recovery free method for removing and preventing cleavage wrinkles without the use of needles or knives.
Don't Let Crepey Skin Drag You Down
It’s impossible to avoid aging, but knowing the causes of crepey skin and working to avoid them early on in life can help us preserve our youthful complexions. With our new knowledge, we can make healthier decisions, and do our best to avoid drastic weight gain or loss, sun exposure, smoking, side-sleeping, high sugar intake and the like. We can also try new methods, like the SiO SkinPad to preserve and revive the beautiful skin that we’re already in.