If areas of your skin are becoming thin, wrinkled, and taking on a texture that looks like the crepe paper you use when doing arts and crafts, you’re likely trying to figure out the reason behind this phenomenon. What causes crepey skin? Is there anything that you can do to bring your complexion back to optimal health?

While wrinkles may be a part of crepey skin, it’s not only associated with aging and could theoretically occur at any time, depending on your lifestyle habits and genetics. In this article, we’ll explore a number of reasons your skin may develop a crepey texture, and give you some effective tips for how to treat the problem.

What is Crepey Skin?

Crepey skin is fragile, wispy, and loose, and has the appearance of crepe paper. You can get crepey skin on your face, it can also occur on your arms, legs, hands, upper chest, or other parts of the body. It tends to appear most frequently in large regions which have the most exposure to the sun, although it also impacts the vulnerable area around the eyes. 

Why Do You Have Crepey Skin?

What causes crepey skin? While it’s most likely to appear around your 40s, it’s not only linked to aging as we’ve said. In addition to age-related factors, there are also a host of lifestyle and environmental issues that can impact your skin texture. In this section, we’ll explore some of the biggest causes of crepey skin.

Cause #1 - UV Damage

If you’ve had significant exposure to harmful UV rays without sunscreen, you risk developing crepey skin over time. The sun’s rays break down the collagen and elastin in your skin, so it loses its firmness and elasticity. This may lead to loose, thinner skin, as well as wrinkles and fine lines.

Sun damage also disrupts the functioning of the cells, making it harder for the skin to retain moisture. It becomes difficult for the skin to stay hydrated, and this can lead to a dry, flaky, crepey surface. One of the best ways to prevent crepey skin is to defend and protect it from the sun’s harmful rays.

Cause #2 - Lack of Collagen and Elastin

Collagen and elastin are proteins that exist naturally in the skin, and they help it to stay firm, elastic, healthy, glowing, and free of lines and wrinkles. Levels do decline naturally with age, and they can also deplete due to environmental factors like pollution, sun exposure, high sugar intake, and others. Elastin in particular is difficult to replace, which impacts skin elasticity and could cause loose, crepey skin.

Cause #3 - Weight Loss / Gain

Losing a significant amount of weight often leads to improvements in your health on many levels, and in many ways, it’s a positive change. However, if you lose weight too quickly, it could contribute to the development of loose, sagging, crepey skin. 

This occurs because the extra weight causes the skin to stretch, losing its elasticity. The additional pounds may even cause an increase in the volume of the skin as additional cells develop to accommodate the fat cells under the surface. These can be difficult to get rid of even when you slim down.

Cause #4 - Pollution

Pollution includes outside toxins in the air such as dust, heavy metal particles, pollen, cigarette smoke, car exhaust, ozone, and other toxins. These substances deplete key antioxidants, which can lead to the development of free radicals. The result may be higher levels of oxidative stress, causing damage to the skin barrier. 

This can lead to signs of age like wrinkles and fine lines, and it can impact the skin’s ability to retain moisture. If you don’t protect yourself from the impact of pollution, these factors can create dry, crepey skin as well as other skin issues like acne breakouts, inflammation, and hyperpigmentation.

Cause #5 - Stress

If you experience high levels of stress in your life, it increases levels of the hormone cortisol which in turn depletes some of the collagen and elastin in your skin. This leads to a loss of tightness and elasticity, which can cause premature wrinkles, fine lines, and loose, sagging, crepey skin.

Cause #6 - Aging Problems

The complexion undergoes a number of changes as we age that can contribute to the development of crepey skin. It has difficulty retaining moisture so it may become dry, and the skin also loses fat so it becomes thinner and more vulnerable. 

As we’ve said, the decline in collagen and elastin over time also makes the complexion looser and may cause lines and wrinkles to develop. Unless you implement a powerful anti-aging skincare routine, these factors could make you more vulnerable to developing crepey skin.

Cause #7 - Smoking and Alcohol

According to the research, both smoking and excess alcohol consumption could lead to premature aging like wrinkles and fine lines, and could significantly increase the risk of developing crepey skin. 

Smoking depletes the oxygen and nutrients from your epidermis, which can lead to a drab, unhealthy-looking complexion and a crepey texture. Drinking too much alcohol can dry out the skin and decrease its elasticity.

How to Treat Crepey Skin 

If you’re experiencing crepey skin or are worried that it may develop, you should know that there are a number of methods you can employ to keep it at bay. Try some of these lifestyle tips, and have a look through the Solvaderm collection to refine your skincare routine.

Step #1 - Drink a Lot of Water

Keeping your skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water each day can do a lot to improve the appearance of crepey skin. The hydration prevents dryness, and it plumps the skin to smooth wrinkles and fine lines. Aim for about 8 full glasses daily for optimal benefits. 

Step #2 - Stay Away From the Sun

The UV rays from the sun can do tremendous damage to the complexion, leading to premature aging and drying out the skin. If you want to slow the development of crepey skin or prevent further harm, stay out of the sun during peak hours in midday. In addition, make sure you use powerful sunscreen every time you go outside to protect yourself from UV rays.

Step #3 - Plan a Healthy Diet

If you're trying to reduce or prevent crepey skin, make sure your diet includes plenty of nutrient-rich foods high in protein to support a strong structure, like salmon, soy, bone broth, and almonds. These help boost collagen production for a tighter, smoother complexion.

You should also consume foods high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents like berries and pomegranate to reduce and repair damage to the skin barrier and decrease redness and swelling.

Step #4 - Seek Expert Help

If you have crepey skin, you don’t have to find the solution to improving the health of your complexion alone. Make an appointment with a dermatologist to seek out their expertise. The physician may prescribe medication such as topical retinoids to exfoliate the skin and promote faster cell turnover, and they could also suggest effective clinical treatments.

Step #5 - Follow a Skincare Routine

One of the best ways to keep crepey skin at bay or decrease its impact is to ensure that you build a regular skincare routine and carry it out every morning and evening. Begin by cleansing and toning to remove excess dirt and oils from the skin’s surface, and follow up with products like the Advanced Exfoliating System to unclog the pores of dead skin cells and other impurities. 

Include a deeply hydrating moisturizer like Infusoderm to keep your skin plump, smooth wrinkles and lines, and eliminate dryness. This formula also nourishes the skin, rejuvenates, and provides antioxidant protection against damaging free radicals.

Step #6 - Try Clinical Treatments

There are several clinical procedures that your dermatologist may suggest to reduce the impact of crepey skin and restore your complexion to optimal health. Some of these include:

Fractional Laser Treatment: The clinician uses a laser to heat up the skin to promote the release of collagen, which tightens and smooths wrinkles and lines.

Ultrasound: An ultrasound device also heats up the skin to boost collagen production, eliminate signs of age, give the skin more volume, and improve texture.

Fillers: In this procedure, the clinician injects a filler agent into the skin to promote collagen production, helping to smooth signs of age and thicken the complexion.


Question #1 - What does crepey skin indicate?

Crepey skin is a sign that your collagen and elastin levels have declined, either due to age, exposure to UV rays and pollution, poor skincare, lack of hydration, or a diet that is not rich enough in protein and nutrients.

Question #2 - Why is my skin suddenly crepey?

If your skin is normally healthy and has suddenly become crepey, it could indicate that you’ve been spending too much time in the sun without proper protection. UV rays break down collagen and elastin, leading to a thinner, more vulnerable complexion which could develop wrinkles, lines, and a crepey texture.

Question #3 - What causes crepey skin in old age?

As you get older the skin loses collagen and elastin, which causes it to become looser, thinner, and more prone to developing wrinkles and fine lines. In addition, the cumulative effect of UV rays over time can damage the skin and cause dehydration, and with age, the skin has difficulty retaining moisture. All of these factors can contribute to the development of crepey skin in old age.

Bottom Line

Signs of crepey skin include fine lines and wrinkles, a thin complexion, and a texture that looks like crepe paper. In this article, we have looked at the possible causes of this issue and explored some lifestyle, skincare, and clinical methods for preventing and decreasing the appearance of crepey skin.

Explore the Solvaderm collection to build the optimal skincare routine for boosting collagen and elastin levels, promoting skin hydration and plumpness, evening out skin tone, and getting rid of crepey skin for good.

Melissa Feldman

Melissa Feldman

Melissa Feldman lives in Toronto, Canada and works as an independent research writer. She has undergraduate degrees in both Teaching and Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Immigration. Melissa is skilled at writing compelling articles and producing academic, marketing, and creative content. She writes about a range of lifestyle topics, including health, fitness, beauty and nutrition. She has more than two decades of experience reviewing and editing publications intended for both public and professional audiences.

Written by Melissa Feldman

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