Wrinkles will happen. They’re as inevitable as death and taxes. As we get older, our skin gets thinner and less elastic, and our neck, shoulders, chest area (décolletage), face, knees, thighs and hands can all be affected. We may not be able to stop wrinkles and crepey skin from happening, but we can provide temporary relief. But what exactly is crepey skin, and how does it differ from wrinkles?
First of all, wrinkles are creases in your skin that, over time, can appear quite deep. Commonly occurring wrinkles, such as the ones on our face, are due to the skin’s inability to bounce back to it’s original form when we smile or use other expressions. Habitual and repeated muscle movement can cause the development of fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes, mouth, knees, elbows and hands — anywhere skin is continuously stretched and pulled. When the skin refuses to spring back, a groove begins to form that eventually becomes a wrinkle. There are types of wrinkles that may be more prone to be controlled than others. Those caused by ultra-violet sunlight or smoking can be alleviated by not exposing our skin to environmental factors such as pollution and the sun, and by cutting out smoking. The sun and smoking speeds up the aging process by breaking down the skin’s collagen and elastin fibers, as does the over consumption of alcohol. Limiting exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light through sunbathing, tanning beds and out door activities decreases the chance of developing wrinkles.
Crepey skin is thin and finely wrinkled and feels fragile, like crepe paper, and while it’s similar to wrinkled skin in many ways, the condition tends to affect larger areas. Damage from the sun, aging, lack of moisture and excessive weight loss are all contributers to crepey skin. Crepey skin is caused by a loss of fat from that particular area of the body and can take years to appear but it tends to start to show up in your 40’s. Genetics can also play a part in how crepey your skin can get.
When the production of elastin and collagen in the skin starts to slow down, the skin begins to wrinkle, droop and sag. Through aging or environmental factors, the thinning of the dermis and epidermis make the skin shrivel. With time, these creases become exaggerated. Causes of crepey skin are:
Gaining and losing substantial amounts of weight
A high sugar diet
Exposure to pollution
Though every skin type is susceptible to crepey skin, some skin tones fare better than others. Fair skin type are prone to damage faster than darker skin. Younger skin naturally develops less wrinkles than older skin.
Wrinkle and crepey skin prevention:
1. Protect your skin from sun damage by staying shaded as much as possible. Wear sun protective clothing and always wear sunscreen on exposed skin.
2. A good moisturizer or lotion can help improve the appearance of crepey and wrinkled skin. Use a moisturizer that contains glycerin or hyaluronic acid since these substances will pull in and hold moisture. Lotions containing coconut oil, olive oil and cocoa butter can also benefit your skin.
3. A well balanced diet will pay dividends for your skin’s health. Fresh fruit and vegetables and fish will support your skin’s health and also the rest of your body. Eat a diet rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, C, D and E.
4. Drink lots of fresh water. Your body’s made up of 60% water, and it’s important as it acts as a carrier in cell homeostasis. Hydration is a key to prevent your skin from drying out.
We can’t control aging and the onset of wrinkles and crepey skin, but being better educated on the causes and following through with preventative care will go a long way in maintaining that healthy, youthful glow.