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Crepey Skin

Written by: Becki Murray

Updated by: Alice Hart-Davis

Last Updated: 10 January 2024

Crepe paper might traditionally make you think of birthdays and presents, but when the material’s crinkled texture also reminds you of the appearance of your skin, it’s certainly less likely to be cause for celebration. Annoyingly, it’s also a condition that can affect your skin from head-to-toe, although it does tend to be most noticeable on your hands, neck, and chest. You may also notice that it gets worse as you age, or if you’ve been a bit of a sun worshipper in your time. So, if you do want to try to ‘turn back the clock’ to recapture smoother, softer skin that makes you feel more confident, read on to discover the best ways to get rid of crepey skin, including skincare, lifestyle changes, and our favourite tweakments.

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Crepey Skin on hands

What is crepey skin?

When we talk about crepey skin what we are really talking about is skin that appears thin and crinkled in texture. It tends to reference the more general look and feel of the skin, rather than directly referring to deep-set wrinkles or individual fine lines, although it can be a condition that occurs alongside them. In particular, the skin tends to take on a delicate, paper-like texture, with lines becoming more pronounced when the skin is stretched or moved. This crepiness may also be accompanied by some sagging (although significant laxity should be treated as a separate concern).

Where on the body can crepey skin occur?

Crepey skin often occurs in areas where your skin is naturally thinner, which is why you may notice it mostly on your neck, chest, underarms, and on your hands. That said, it can occur on any part of your body.

What causes crepey skin?

Ageing – as with many appearance-based conditions – is going to rear its head again here as a cause of crepey skin. As we age, our skin’s rate of collagen and elastin production slows, and the reduced presence of these key structural proteins leads to your skin becoming less firm and plump, as well as more lined. Prolonged sun exposure can also contribute to skin crepiness due to UV’s damaging ability to break down collagen and elastin fibres.

If your parents or grandparents have crepey skin, it’s more likely you will develop it too, due to genetic influence, although parts of your lifestyle could be worsening it. Dehydration, for example, reduces your skin’s elasticity, while smoking impacts your overall skin health with visible consequences.

Are there skincare options that can improve crepey skin?

The number one skincare product for your crepey skin-tackling toolkit is sun protection. UV radiation from the sun is a major contributor to premature ageing and the development of crepey skin, so wear a broad-spectrum SPF, especially on crepiness-prone areas such as your neck and hands. Moisturising your skin and looking to conventional age-proofing skincare ingredients, such as retinoids and peptides, can also improve skin appearance. Bumpiness or uneven texture may also accompany crepiness and make it appear worse. If so, try using exfoliating products, including chemical AHAs to buff away dead skin cells and stimulate cell turnover.

How to get rid of crepey skin?

  1. Laser therapy: Able to be tailored to treat crepey skin on your face, neck and hands, lasers utilise specific wavelengths of light to create controlled heating of the target area. This stimulates collagen production and promotes skin tightening, with fractional non-ablative options, such as Secret Duo by Cutera and Moxi, available to help limit downtime in sensitive areas.  
  1. Ultherapy: If your skin crepiness is associated with sagging or laxity – especially on your neck and face – Ultherapy can be particularly helpful. It uses focussed ultrasound energy, to heat the deep layers of the skin, promoting a noticeable lifting and tightening effect by stimulating collagen and elastin. Top of Form
  1. Radiofrequency: RF devices generate high-frequency electrical currents that reach and heat the deeper layers of the skin, including the dermis. Here they work to promote collagen and elastin production, and the tightening, firming effect especially helps with crepey skin.
  1. Chemical peels: Peels use chemical solutions to exfoliate the skin, stimulate collagen production, and improve overall skin texture. This can help reduce the appearance of crepiness and fine lines, especially if there is exacerbated by rough texture.    Top of Form
  1. Injectable moisturisers: By giving your skin a smoothing, hydrated glow, injectable moisturisers can reduce the appearance of crepiness and fine line. Currently they are mainly being used for the face, although they could help with crepiness of the hands too.
  1. Dermal fillers: In the hands of an experienced and trusted practitioner, dermal fillers could help smooth crepey skin, especially in areas like the hands.   

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What lifestyle changes could make a difference?

Healthy lifestyle changes can definitely go some way to improving the texture of your skin, although its unlikely to eradicate the issue completely if the crepiness is severe or as you get older. That said, you’ve now got even more reason to stay hydrated, get regular exercise, and eat a nutrient-rich, balanced diet, as all can improve your skin, while quitting smoking will protect your skin’s elasticity and stop you accelerating the ageing process (alongside a host of other skin and wellbeing benefits).

Can at-home devices help with crepey skin?

Microcurrent devices may provide a little improvement to crepey skin by. The same is true of LED masks due to their stimulation of collagen production. However, you’re likely to have to wait a long time to see results as they aren’t nearly as powerful as the technologies practitioners have in clinic, so you might be better off, if you have the budget, treating yourself to a professional treatment.

How much, on average, would treating the concern cost?

As with most concerns, the cost of treating crepey skin depends on your treatment of choice and the number of sessions you decide to have. Skincare for example can be very affordable, with creams for around £10 (although they do also run into the hundreds), while laser therapies tend to start from around £500 per treatment, and radiofrequency from £350.

Are there diseases that cause crepey skin?

Most of the time, crepey skin isn’t a sign of anything particularly ‘wrong’, but there are certain medical conditions that do list crepey skin as a symptom. One example is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a group of connective tissue disorders that can affect the skin’s elasticity. Another is dermatomyositis – an inflammatory disease that leads to skin changes including thinning. This means individuals with these conditions may find that their skin has a crinkled, crepey appearance. If you have any concerns, please see your doctor.

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