Remember making flower bouquets out of crinkled up tissue paper in middle school? It's a useful image to apply when you think of crepey skin. Crepiness is what happens when your skin loses its collagen and elastin, causing it to really sag and appear crinkled. “It resembles the appearance of crepe paper,” says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. “This skin is often wrinkled and loose.”
But that doesn’t mean it is interchangeable with wrinkles. “Wrinkling is related to genetics, facial movement, and some sun damage,” says dermatologist Ranella Hirsch, MD. “Crepey skin is related only to sun damage; the sun is breaking down the elastin.”
Luckily, it's not something that we just have to learn to deal with; there are a number of things we can do and products to try to both prevent and help get rid of the appearance of crepey skin. We asked both Hirsch and Zeichner what they personally recommend. Here are their picks.
We preach it all the time: Always wear sunscreen. Zeichner suggests a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect against the sun’s harmful rays right from the start. Our pick is the Supergoop! Super Power Sunscreen Mousse Broad Spectrum SPF 50, which comes in a mousse (yes, a mousse) formula that is super lightweight and hydrating.
Hirsch recommends looking for products that seal in the natural moisture your body already produces; look for ingredients that will attract and add more moisture, like hyaluronic acid. The First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum will not only keep skin moisturized, but it also helps calm and soothe any other irritation.
According to Zeichner, retinol stimulates collagen and helps thicken the skin’s foundation. He recommends looking for products that contain retinol to combat crepe, like the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum. It not only helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, but it will also help brighten your complexion.
Zeichner says to look for ingredients like blackberry extract and dill; both have been shown to stimulate elastic fiber production. He likes the Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Restorative Night Cream. You’ll notice fine lines will start to disappear and your skin will look healthier overall.
Skin Barrier Repair
According to Zeichner, loss of hydration and the resulting inflammation that comes from it worsens crepey skin. He recommends looking for purified petrolatum in your moisturizer; products like the Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion have it. It protects the skin’s barrier, prevents water loss, hydrates, and plumps thin skin.
Hirsch likes to use the following analogy when explaining antioxidants and their benefits to patients: If you’re going away on vacation, the first thing you do is lock your front door. The second thing you’re going to do to protect your home from intrusion is turn on the burglar alarm. Antioxidants are that burglar alarm; the second level of protection underneath sunscreen that your skin needs to guard against aggressors, such as UV rays. She loves the SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Serum with vitamin C that helps neutralize free radicals from penetrating your skin’s natural protective barrier. The formula will also work to reduce the appearance of fine lines and other aging effects.
Next up: check out the best collagen-infused creams to keep your skin looking plump and youthful.