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8 Ways to Get Rid of Dry, Crepey Skin, According to a Dermatologist

Photo by Lee O'Connor/Getty Images

The word “crepey” may remind you of those streamers that hung from the ceiling whenever you had a birthday party growing up, but as you get older, it’s unfortunately used to describe something else. Crepey skin is such a popular term to describe dry, saggy skin, but what does it mean and what are the causes of crepey skin? And better yet, can crepey skin ever be reversed or prevented

“Crepey skin refers to a condition where the skin becomes thin, fragile, and finely wrinkled, resembling the texture of crepe paper,” explains dermatologist Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FFAD. “While there is some overlap, crepey skin is generally considered different from wrinkles. Wrinkles are visible lines or folds in the skin that develop as a result of repetitive facial expressions, sun exposure, or the natural aging process. Crepey skin, on the other hand, is characterized by a thin, crinkled texture,” says Dr. Rokhsar.

While Dr. Rokhsar says it’s impossible to fully reverse aging and crepey skin once it’s there, you can improve the appearance of crepey skin with these tips. 

About the Expert:

Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD, is a double board-certified dermatologist in Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery.

How to Get Rid of Crepey Skin

1. Create a Consistent Skincare Routine

URBAN SKIN RX Retinol Rapid Repair Serum

Dr. Rokhsar says getting on a consistent skincare routine that’s also tailored to your skin’s needs is key. “This includes using moisturizers that contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid or ceramides to hydrate and plump the skin,” says Dr. Rokhsar. “Retinoids, such as retinol, may also be beneficial as they can stimulate collagen production and improve skin texture over time,” he adds. You can get a retinol prescription from your dermatologist, but over-the-counter skincare products have also come a long way and are much easier to get your hands on. We love the fast-acting and easy to blend URBAN SKIN RX Retinol Rapid Repair Serum.

2. Use Sunscreen Every Day

INNISFREE Daily UV Defense Sunscreen

Sunscreen isn’t just for anti-aging and blocking sun damage; it’s also for protecting our current skin. Dr. Rokhsar says applying sunscreen daily will help protect the skin from any further damage, making it stronger (look for an SPF of at least 30). We love the INNISFREE Daily UV Defense Sunscreen for an even, non-greasy feel that we don’t mind applying—and reapplying—every day.

3. Reach for Vitamin C

SONÄGE SKINCARE High Impact Vitamin C Serum

If you do want to improve the appearance of crepe-like skin (and fight against aging free radicals), Dr. Rokhsar says to reach for a stable vitamin C serum. A stable vitamin C serum is typically a non-water-based one. So look for an oil-based vitamin C serum. One of our favorite stable vitamin C serum is the SONÄGE SKINCARE High Impact Vitamin C Serum. It’s vegan, sustainable, and cruelty-free.

4. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

A photo of a mature woman laughing wearing red lipstick and sporting a red coat and conch earrings on a purple background
Photo by Lee O'Connor/Getty Images

Ever heard the phrase “you are what you eat?” Dr. Rokhsar confirms it’s true and that food can contribute to the way your skin looks on the outside. “This includes eating a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, as well as regular exercise. Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption is also beneficial, as they can accelerate skin aging and contribute to the development of crepey skin,” he adds. Not only will you feel better, but certain foods like fatty fish, nuts, and greens can even help replenish the elastin in your skin (one of the proteins that gives your skin its rubber band-like bounce and elasticity). 

5. Get Professional Help

A closeup photo of a mature woman laughing wearing a red lipstick and sporting a red coat and conch earrings on a purple background
Photo by Lee O'Connor/Getty Images

If your crepey skin is bothering you, Dr. Rokhsar says there are a number of in-office treatments that dermatologists can perform to help reduce the appearance of it. “Laser resurfacing is the gold standard in reversing crepey skin,” explains Dr. Rokhsar. “The CO2 laser and its more modern versions, fractional CO2 lasers, remain the gold standard for improving crepey skin in the upper and lower eyelids as well as the face. These lasers work by tricking the body to create new skin, which is thicker and tighter and less wrinkled, replacing the crepey skin,” he says.

6. Try Botox and Fillers 

A closeup photo of a mature woman wearing a red lipstick and sporting a red coat and conch earrings on a purple background
Photo by Lee O'Connor/Getty Images

Topical skincare products are amazing for getting rid of crepey skin, but sometimes you need to go a bit deeper. “Botox injections also serve as an adjunct to CO2 laser resurfacing by preventing repetitive motion in creases that contribute to development of crepey skin,” explains Dr. Rokhsar, adding that dermal fillers and biostimulators can also help.

7. Keep Skin Hydrated

111SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Booster

When skin is dry, fine lines appear deeper and sagging skin looks worse. Stay hydrated in crepey-skin areas to help skin look more youthful. Reach for a hyaluronic acid lotion that helps seal moisture into the skin’s surface or an HA-packed serum, like the 111SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Booster

8. Exfoliate (Gently!)

TULA SKINCARE So Smooth Resurfacing & Brightening Fruit Enzyme Mask

Exfoliating at home can also help to refresh the skin’s surface and let go of dead skin cells that are making you appear dull and lackluster. Try a gentle exfoliator that uses AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), like the TULA SKINCARE So Smooth Resurfacing & Brightening Fruit Enzyme Mask to keep your forehead lines, smile lines, and eye lines at bay. 

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About the author
Brittany Leitner
Brittany is an award winning beauty, health, and lifestyle writer and author of the poetry book "23 Emotions." She has eight years of experience writing for brands like Elite Daily, The. Dr. Oz Show, Shape, Stylecaster, Bustle, and more.
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Article Last Updated June 6, 2023 12:00 AM