As we age skin gets loose and flaccid, and usually results in wrinkles and fine lines. However, when the skin feels papery thin — or like crepe — the reason may not be age. During these Covid-19 times when you’re probably spending more time outdoors — in your back yard, in the park, or in an isolated area in the sun — you may be setting yourself up for crepey skin. Crepey skin usually forms from sun exposure, where elastin fibers in the skin break down. Elastin is a protein that provides elasticity and strength to tissues and organs. These proteins can heal, but they will eventually lose their ability to repair completely after repeated exposure to damaging elements like the sun. Collagen is also a protein found in the skin; however, it provides rigidity, where elastin allows the skin to stretch. Elastin is about one thousand times more flexible than collagen.
Although crepey skin is similar to wrinkles in many ways, it affects large areas of skin and makes it noticeably thinner and more fragile. Genetics can play a role as well, and even though age is not a predominant reason, it can also be a factor. Fair-skinned people are also more susceptible to crepey skin than darker-skinned people. Other causes of crepey skin include rapid gaining and losing substantial amounts of weight, dehydration of the skin, smoking, sleep deprivation, pollution, and poor nutrition. Crepey skin usually begins to appear around 40 years of age, but it can show up as early as 20 years of age in some people.
There are ways of keeping the formation of crepey skin at bay. The most effective method is to protect your skin from sun exposure by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, or wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher. Make skin hydration a priority. Keep skin well hydrated by drinking enough water. Use a good moisturizer will help prevent injury that will create or worsen crepey skin.
Look for moisturizers that contain lubricating and plumping ingredients like alpha or beta hydroxy acids or that have a high concentration of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a clear and gooey substance produced naturally by your body. Your skin and connective tissues contain the most significant amounts of hyaluronic acid. The primary function is to retain water and keep your tissues well lubricated and moist, which improves the immediate appearance of crepey skin. Retinol topical creams can also help reduce the crepey look, and help restore the skin’s elasticity, and strengthens the collagen strands.
Your diet affects your skin, and to lessen the chances of developing crepey skin, it’s essential to make sure you have the following in your balanced diet:
Antioxidants: Pecans, dark chocolate, strawberries, raspberries, kale, blueberries, artichokes.
Vitamin A: Diary products, liver, fish, carrots, broccoli, cantaloupe, squash.
Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, peppers, strawberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, potatoes.
Vitamin D: Oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel. Red meat, liver, egg yolks.
Vitamin E: Wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, almonds, peanut butter, collard greens, spinach, bell pepper.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Seafood such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines. Flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts. Plant oils like flaxseed oil, soybean oil, canola oil.
During these Covid-19 times, you might be outdoors in the sun for longer than you may be aware. Just keep in mind the effect the UV rays can have on your skin. To avoid crepey skin from forming, keep to the shade as much as possible, wear a good sunscreen, and drink plenty of water. SilcSkin, the anti-wrinkle compamy dedicated to fighting wrinkles, has a product called Hand & Body treatment that can reduce the appearance of crepey skin. Squeeze a pearl size drop onto your skin and rub in circular motions until the cream is absorbed by the skin.