Crepey Skin: Causes and Effective Natural Treatments

Crepey Skin: Causes and Effective Natural Treatments

Crepey skin is a common visible sign of aging. As we age, our skin loses some of its elasticity and this causes it to have a crinkly texture. Sometimes crepey skin is called elephant skin or paper skin, just like crepe paper. Because there is a loss of collagen and elastin from skin as it ages, this can cause skin to sag and lose its plump appearance resulting in crepey skin.

You may be surprised to learn that most of us have crepey skin before we reach old age. For example, if you look at your elbows, you will see that the skin there has a crinkly texture like thin tissue paper. However, as we age crepey skin can start to appear on your neck, arms, hands, legs and face.

Although crepey skin is a common sign of aging, there are many ways to improve the appearance of your skin naturally. For example, home remedies that include ingredients like vitamin E or C, aloe vera, or avocado oil help to boost collagen and elastin in your skin, giving it a healthier, firmer look.

In this article, you will find out how to prevent your skin from thinning and becoming like crepe paper as you age. You will also learn what to do to improve the appearance of crepey-looking skin naturally.

What is Crepey Skin?

Healthy-looking skin is supported by fibers in the skin like collagen and elastin that are produced by fibroblast cells. These fibers give the skin its firmness, tightness, and elasticity. During the aging process, the body slows down its production of collagen and elastin, making the skin thinner and have a crinkly appearance.

The Cleveland Clinic reports that after our 40s skin becomes looser and starts to sag. However, aging isn’t the only reason for crepey skin. Factors like sun exposure, losing a lot of weight, and certain medications can also contribute to having paper-like skin.1

Crepey skin vs. wrinkled skin

Crepey skin isn’t the same as having wrinkly skin. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that wrinkles form from repeated facial expressions. For example, a groove forms beneath the skin’s surface when we smile or frown. When we are young, our skin springs back, but with age, the skin doesn’t spring back as quickly, and as the fibroblast cells die off, the skin loses its flexibility and in time wrinkles appear.

However, the exposure to the sun’s rays, smoking, and age all combine to produce both crepey skin and wrinkles.

What Causes Crepey Skin?

The main reason for developing crepey skin is decreased collagen production and a lack of elasticity. The American Journal of Pathology reports that fibroblast aging results in lower collagen synthesis in the skin. This causes the typical signs of aging like thin, paper-like skin, wrinkles, and skin that sags.2

Also, Dr. Susan Evans on WebMD says that a contributing factor to having crepey skin is long-term sun exposure and dehydration. Also, smokers are more at risk of developing crepe-like skin earlier in life.3

Therefore, knowing what causes skin to turn crepey and crinkly is the best way to know how to prevent the visible signs of premature aging.

How to Prevent Crepey Skin

Let’s look briefly at some of the best ways to prevent skin on your hands, arms, legs, face, neck, or anywhere else in your body thinning and becoming like crepe paper.

Keep hydrated

To help boost the elasticity of your skin and delay the onset of crepey skin, it’s important to keep yourself well hydrated. Dehydration has many negative side effects in your body, and crinkly skin with wrinkles is just one of them.

For example, the Journal of Dermatology reports that general “wear and tear” damages proteins in the skin. This results in shallow skin and fine lines. To help prevent this happening, the skin needs to be well moisturized and hydrated.4

Avoid too much sun exposure

Although some sun exposure is essential to prevent the effects of a vitamin D deficiency, too much sun has a negative impact on your skin.

Researchers from the University of Maryland say that exposure to the harmful sun’s rays is one of the most common causes of premature aging skin. Therefore, the best way to prevent the formation of crepey skin and wrinkles is to stay out of the sun as much as possible.5

Enjoy a healthy diet

There is a strong link between enjoying a healthy diet and having youthful, healthy skin. Foods that contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals help to nourish your skin and kill off free radicals that can ultimately damage your skin.

The journal Dermato Endocrinology says that the best way to prevent skin aging is to keep a healthy weight, eat a well-balanced diet, and eat antioxidative-rich food. This includes getting plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, as well as, proteins and probiotics in your diet.6

Natural Treatments for Crepey Skin

Let’s look at what you can do to help reduce the appearance of crepey skin and fine lines. Many of these home remedies for beautiful skin help to increase collagen synthesis and elastin in your skin to give it a firmer, smoother appearance.

Drink plenty of water

One of the best ways to boost your skin’s elasticity and help get rid of crepey skin on your hands, legs and face is to drink plenty of water.

The journal Skin Research and Technology published a study on the link between the body’s hydration levels and skin elasticity. They found that drier skin tends to have more wrinkles and deeper furrows. With improved hydration, the skin became more elastic and less “crinkly”.7

Increasing your daily fluid intake can also help prevent dry skin around your eyes and helps to give your skin a firmer look.


Consuming omega-3 rich foods or taking omega-3 supplements is a great way to make your skin more elastic and prevent your skin from thinning. Omega-3 essential fatty acids also help to reduce skin inflammation and can prevent redness associated with eczema or rosacea.

Studies into the effect of omega-3 supplements found that they can prevent sun damage in the skin that can cause premature aging. For example, the Oregon State University reported that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help to minimize collagen damage and increase skin elasticity.8 This can help to repair damage to the skin that has caused it to become thin and paper-like.

For more information on the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids on your health, please read my article on the amazing health benefits of fish oil.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E can help get rid of crepey skin on your arms, hands, legs, neck as well as from other areas of your body. Vitamin E is also great to use to tighten your skin if it has become crepey after rapid weight loss.

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can help to prevent premature skin aging. For example, the journal Advances in Dermatology and Allergology reported that vitamin E destroys free radicals from the skin and prevents skin cell damage. It was also found that a deficiency in vitamin E causes visible signs of aging like wrinkles, crinkly skin, and fine lines.9

Research has shown that taking vitamin E orally has a beneficial effect on the skin. This can help to improve the appearance of skin on your body. Vitamin E also improves circulation and helps the blood to replenish the skin and keep it healthy.10 This can also boost collagen production and reduce the look of crinkly skin on your face and neck.11

Please read my article on how vitamin E benefits your skin and hair for more information on how to use it to benefit your overall health.

You can also use other natural oils that are rich in vitamin E to nourish your skin, such as sweet almond oil, which is a common base oil for skin care and is also good for repairing damaged skin. Also Jojoba oil contains vitamin E and B, as well as minerals to protect your skin from the effects of aging and the environment. The fact that it closely resembles sebum, which is the oily substance which our skin produces to keep the skin moist, means that it works perfectly on crepey skin.

Vitamin C

Use vitamin C on your hands, face, and neck if you want to help get rid of crepey skin and firm your skin to prevent it sagging so much. Making sure that you have plenty of vitamin C in your diet or supplementing your diet with vitamin C can also help to give your skin a smoother look.

One study published in the journal BMC Dermatology showed that vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen in the skin. For example, vitamin C in the skin decreases with age. However, applying lotions for crepey skin that contain vitamin C helps to get better-looking skin with fewer wrinkles.12

Other studies have shown that taking vitamin C helps to prevent a breakdown of collagen in the skin and increase levels of elastin. Also, taking vitamin C orally or applying it topically helps to rid the skin of free radicals and helps to prevent the onset of premature skin aging.13

In fact, vitamin C is one of the best anti-aging treatments that you can apply to your hands, neck, face and any other area on your body where you have crepey skin.

Rosehip oil

One way to get the skin benefits of vitamin C to your skin is to use rosehip oil as a lotion for crinkly skin. Rosehip oil is a natural anti-aging ingredient that you can apply topically to any area of the body where you have crepey skin.

A study published in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging found that oil from rosehip seeds helps to nourish the outer layer of the skin and provide a protective barrier against oxidative damage. Rosehip oil also supports collagen formation in the skin and the study also found that it improves facial elasticity.14

To find out how to use rosehip oil to get rid of crepey skin, please read my article on the benefits of rosehip oil for your skin and hair.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B is an essential vitamin if you want to improve the visible signs of aging and reduce crepey skin on your arms, face, and neck.

Research published in the journal Dermatologic Surgery found that vitamin B3 helps to reduce pigmentation and improve overall skin appearance. It was found that skin elasticity was greatly improved and there were fewer signs of aging on the skin.15

Foods rich in vitamin b3 (niacin) are fish, mushrooms, peas, sunflower seeds, meat, and avocado. You should also make sure that you avoid a vitamin B12 deficiency as this can cause various health problems. Also make sure to consume enough foods that fight wrinkles.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera has many uses for getting healthy skin and repairing skin damage. You can also use the beneficial properties of aloe vera to boost collagen and improve your skin’s elasticity. This can help to prevent skin thinning and lessen the look of crinkly, old skin on your legs, neck, hands, and face.

The benefits of aloe vera in helping to reverse the effects of skin aging were published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology. Scientists found that aloe vera stimulates fibroblast cells to increase collagen levels in the skin. Aloe vera also protects the skin from sun damage and its antioxidant properties help to rid the skin of free radicals.16

It was also found that aloe vera has anti-aging effects on the skin and helps to keep skin well hydrated. This can help to prevent dry skin and gives skin a less crinkly appearance.

The best way to use aloe vera to get rid of crepey skin and prevent loss of elasticity in your skin is to regularly apply pure aloe vera gel to your hands, face, neck, and arms. You can also mix aloe vera with coconut oil to help boost the moisturizing effect of aloe vera and get smoother looking skin.

Avocado oil

Avocado oil is another natural oil you can use to boost collagen in your skin and help get rid of crepey skin. Avocado oil is rich in vitamins and fatty acids that help to hydrate your skin and nourish it to keep it healthy.

The journal Connective Tissue Research reported that avocado oil significantly increases collagen synthesis. This can help to improve the look of your skin if you are affected by paper-like thin skin.17

All you should do to smooth crinkly skin is to gently massage avocado oil into the affected area. In time, you should notice that your skin is smoother and its elasticity is improved.

Shea butter

Shea butter is a rich emollient for crepey skin on your face, arms, legs and neck. In fact, you can apply Shea butter anywhere on your body where you have crinkly skin and wrinkles.

Many scientific studies have shown that Shea butter helps to boost collagen production in the skin and improves elasticity. For example, the American Journal of Life Sciences found that Shea butter increases skin elasticity and helps to remove signs of aging. The researchers found that Shea butter has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties when applied to the skin.18

Cocoa Butter

Another excellent skin moisturizer that is good for treating crepey skin is cocoa butter. Cocoa butter contains a high antioxidant level that protects skin from damage and reduces inflammation.  A 2008 study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science showed that cocoa butter contains natural compounds (polyphenols) that can increases skin thickness as well as collagen density and can also improve skin elasticity.22

To use cocoa butter on your skin to treat or prevent crepey skin, try mixing it with other beneficial products like essential oils, vitamin E oil, sweet almond oil or jojoba oil.

Essential oils to combat crepey skin

There are also many essential oils that have skin rejuvenating properties and can help reverse the signs of aging, and I’ve mentioned them in my article on the essential oils for combating aging skin.

These essential oils are used together with aloe vera, avocado oil, rosehip oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil and vitamin E oil. Just a few drops in a tablespoon of a carrier oil can do wonders for your skin and help to remove the “crepe paper” look of aging skin.

Lemon oil contains vitamin C and can help to nourish and replenish your skin and boost collagen. A study into the therapeutic effects of lemon oil on your skin found that its antioxidant properties help to reduce visible signs of aging.19

Frankincense essential oil can also be used in your battle to combat crepey skin. The reason why frankincense oil helps prevent signs of aging on your facial skin and the back of your hands is that it improves skin elasticity.20

Lavender oil is a soothing essential oil that also has skin rejuvenating properties. Studies into lavender oil have shown that it helps to prevent oxidative stress on the skin which in turn prevents wrinkles and fine lines forming.21

Other essential oils that are great for making your skin look younger and healthier are sandalwood oil, carrot seed oil, patchouli oil, and rose oil. You can also find out how to make a fantastic natural anti-wrinkle cream to help remove the appearance of crinkly skin and fine lines.

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Article Sources

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  2. Am J Pathol. 2006 Jun;168(6):1861-8.
  3. WebMD. Crepey skin.
  4. J Dermatol. 2004 Aug;31(8):603-9.
  5. UMM. Skin wrinkles and blemishes.
  6. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 Jul 1; 4(3): 298–307.
  7. Skin Res Technol. 2013 Feb;19(1):e349-55.
  8. OregonState. Essential fatty acids and skin health.
  9. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2014 Jun; 31(3): 174–181.
  10. Br J Nutr. 2006 Aug;96(2):227-38.
  11. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2016 Jul-Aug; 7(4): 311–315.
  12. BMC Dermatology. 2004 4:13
  13. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2013 Apr-Jun; 4(2): 143–146.
  14. Clin Interv Aging. 2015; 10: 1849–1856.
  15. Dermatol Surg. 2005 Jul;31(7 Pt 2):860-5; discussion 865.
  16. Indian J Dermatol. 2008; 53(4): 163–166.
  17. Connect Tissue Res. 1991;26(1-2):1-10.
  18. Am J Life Sci. 2014 October 2(5): 303-307.
  19. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 1999;25(6):281-7.
  20. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2009; 9: 27.
  21. Psychiatry Res. 2007 Feb 28;150(1):89-96.
  22. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2008 Oct;30(5):339-45

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